Pokemon Go meets the Rarest Birds in Australia

Posted on 1st September 2016

A new era of reality gaming has left millions of people intrigued and addicted. Like it or hate it, Pokémon Go has drawn in millions of players scrambling across the world to be the best.

TYTO Wetlands - The Training Grounds

With all the hype of Pokémon Go, I decided to download it and see what the fuss was about. I invited a friend to do the same and give it a go with me; we decided to test out the game at the TYTO Wetlands in Ingham north of Townsville. 

The TYTO Wetlands has been mapped as one of the locations where you can go for Pokémon Go training, making it a great place for parents to take their kids.  It's a stunning location for an easy nature walk; the centre of town with café’s and Italian style delicatessens is within walking distance.

Where is Pikachu?

We followed the track of TYTO and continued in hot pursuit for rare Pokémon, and to our surprise we were actually having fun.  

Off in the distance the sun was setting over the mountain peaks, the light was breaking through the clouds and spreading nice, soft light over the landscape of the Hinchinbrook Region. 

What's That?

As I lowered my phone, I started to take more notice of my surroundings and saw that the TYTO Wetlands was very active. It was full of birds making a lot of noise, and some of the birds I’d never seen before.

“What the hell is that?”  My friend pointed to a nearby tree branch where a small, blue and white bird with a spear like beak sat peering into the water. Our phones were in our hands, so we went to the TYTO website for information and we found the name of the bird, the Forest Kingfisher.

What else can we find?

We flicked through the website to discover that over 240 species of birds live in the TYTO Wetlands. We spotted some of the more common birds like the Green Pygmy Goose and the Wandering Whistling Duck, and then we become more interested in the rare and often endangered birds.

The funny thing was, we found ourselves playing a new game with the birds at TYTO instead of strange creatures in Pokémon Go.

We went searching for the Red Backed Fairy; it’s a bird that is often hard to spot due to its tiny size.

We really wanted to see the TYTO Eastern Grass Owl that the Wetlands is named after, but because it’s a creature of the night and hides in long grass during the day, spotting one is a rare event.  

Those who capture a photo of the owl often boast about it in online bird watching forums.

We managed to spot a Whistling Kite, which is an awesome bird of prey hunting for rodents and frogs at dusk. And we loved watching the White Browed Crake that has the special ability to walk on water, believe it or not.

We spent more time pursuing birds then we expected, but we felt great about it. It was dark before we knew it and we had to call it a day. We didn’t get to see all the birds we wanted and now it’s one of my goals to go back there to see the Tawny Frogmouth and the Grey Shrike-Thrush. These are only two of the many more rare species that call the Wetlands home.

I didn’t expect to have such an interesting nature experience by playing Pokémon Go, but I’m glad I did. The TYTO Wetlands is such a beautiful place and the more I read about it, the more impressive it is.

Next time you’re travelling through the gorgeous scenery of the Hinchinbrook region, I challenge you to put some of your Pokémon Go skills to the ultimate test: If you really are the best then perhaps you will gaze upon the often endangered and very rare birds living at the TYTO Wetlands.

Pokemon Go Vs Reality...

Keep in mind wild Cassowaries live in the Hinchinbrook Region… So if you see one, please don’t try to catch a Cassowary Pokemon with your phone, they really don’t appreciate that kind of non-sense and will aggressively respond with Kung-Fu!


73/75 Mcilwraith St
Ingham QLD 4850


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