Sunday, 16 November 2014

16th November 2014 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

Weather Report
Rainfall over the last two weeks was 3mm over four days, still very dry and the grass has turned brown. Humidity dropped down to 46% with lots of sunshine and temperatures reaching 31.6ºc which it has been doing for the last five weeks.

Last Two Weeks Bird Sightings:-
These can be found on the Eremaea eBird site. 2nd– 8th November and 9th- 15th November The first week had 105 species recorded and the second week 111.

Birding Highlights:-
Magpie Goose have again been heard flying over at night and seen along McDougall Road in one of the lagoons, which has also had Wandering Whistling-Duck, Pacific Black Duck, Grey Teal, Australasian Darter, two Australian Pelican, Great, Intermediate and Cattle Egret, White-faced Heron and six Royal Spoonbill. The Cattle Egret are now acquiring their breeding plumage with their head, neck and backs turning orange-brown.


Cattle Egret - breeding condition

 

A Black Bittern appeared at the Crake Pool on the evening of the 6th November as guests were awaiting the Red-necked Crake (which did not show that evening). We get a few sightings of Black Bittern each year, but they are few and far between. A few raptors have been around with one sighting of Black-shouldered Kite and a pair of Pacific Baza. Other raptors around have been Grey and Brown Goshawk, Black and Whistling Kite plus White-bellied Sea-Eagle. 

 

Red-necked Crake was seen on several occasions at the Crake Pool and once at Bushy Creek across from the Platypus viewing area. It generally came at dusk, around 6.15pm but was seen once at 4.15pm. Both Buff-banded Rail and a White-browed Crake, which is a rarity around here, were seen along Bushy Creek.


Superb Fruit-Dove continue to call and feed around the Lodge and have been seen with much patience, they are difficult to get onto as they hide high in the rainforest canopy. Wompoo Fruit-Dove have been easier to see as have Pied Imperial-Pigeon and Topknot Pigeon. Cuckoo have been making their presence felt with Brush Cuckoo, Little (Gould's) Bronze-Cuckoo, Australian Koel, Channel-billed Cuckoo and Pheasant Coucal all being seen and heard. At least six male Little (Gould's) Bronze-Cuckoo were around the Lodge entrance for three days, chasing and foraging. Lesser Sooty Owl has been calling most nights, but nobody bothered to get up at 4.00am to go and find them! However, one called early in the evening on the15th and was seen high in a tree before flying over. Barn Owl and Barking Owl have also been around, this Barn Owl was just getting up and deciding whether it was worth leaving the daytime roost.


Barn Owl



Australian Owlet-nightjar was only heard. Azure Kingfisher have been up and down Bushy Creek perching for good views. Blue-winged Kookaburra have been quiet for the last week and not seen. The Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher which arrived on the 30th October was seen high in the rainforest canopy on the 4th November, but not heard or seen since. There have been reports of single birds in the district, but not of any significant numbers, so hopefully the main migratory population is not far away. A pair of Dollarbird have been around Geraghty Park checking out nesting sites and calling, but have not been seen attending any suitable tree hollows. Double-eyed Fig-Parrot are now feeding at least one nestling which will hopefully fledge successfully, both male and female are busy feeding their offspring.


 
Double-eyed Fig-Parrot - female at nest


Double-eyed Fig-Parrot - male at nest


Two juvenile Australian King-Parrot were feeding in the Lodge grounds one morning before flying off and not returning. At least one pair of Noisy Pitta returned overnight on the 4th November when the male was seen perched 5m up in a tree calling with another pitta answering. Hopefully they will breed here again this year. 13 species of honeyeater were recorded around the Lodge including an occasional visitor, Eastern Spinebill. Quite a number of Lewin's Honeyeater are still around the grounds, numbers did drop, but seem to have increased in the last few weeks which is very unusual. It is possible that the prolonged dry spell we are having has forced them back down from the mountains, such as Mt. Lewis, to seek out some food. Male Yellow-breasted Boatbill have been calling a lot, mainly in the morning. Barred Cuckoo-shrike have been around calling and feeding on fruiting fig tees along with White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike, Varied Triller and Common Cicadabird. Black-faced Monarch have been calling, but no sign of nest building yet. They are probably waiting for a good downpour of rain to get going. Pied Monarch are also calling and being seen regularly as have Leaden Flycatcher whose numbers have increased in the last few weeks. 


Pied Monarch - male

 
A female plumaged Victoria's Riflebird was seen down by the Crake Pool after one was heard the day before and again seen with an immature male bathing in front of the self-contained units, this is very late in the season to have two around the Lodge. The Lemon-bellied Flycatcher reported on a nest last blog was seen feeding one nestling, but the outcome of the nest is unknown as the parents have not been seen at the nest for at least five days, hopefully the youngster fledged. Pale-yellow Robin have fledged young, this one was awaiting the parents to return with some food.



Pale-yellow Robin - juvenile


Grey-headed Robin are still with us which again is a late stayer which normally goes back into the mountains at this time of year. Yet another bird which is normally up in the mountains is the Bassian Thrush, one was seen along Bushy Creek on the 9th November. Mistletoebird are still very active with some males and females chasing each, but other pairs are busy breeding or have fledged young.


Mistletoebird - male


Further Afield:-
Banded Honeyeater continue to be in the Maryfarms area between Mt. Carbine and Mount Molloy. Also in this area are displaying male Australian Bustard.

 
Australian Bustard - displaying male

 

Latham's Snipe were seen twice in Julatten over the last week and four Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo flew over Mt. Molloy. (thanks to Carol Iles for these sighting). Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo were again seen at the Mowbray National Park in Julatten along with Lovely Fairy-wren. A Ruff was reported on the Cairns Esplanade and a Barn Swallow at Yorkey's Knob both these reports were from Dominic Funnell who operates Cairns Bird Tours and can organise half, full or multiple day tours. Blue-faced Parrot-Finch are starting to appear on Mt. Lewis with four seen one morning.



Blue-faced Parrot-finch


Reptiles and Mammals:-
Highlight over the two weeks was a first sighting of an Australian Wood Frog Hylarana daemeli in the Lodge grounds. This frog occurs on the Cape York Peninsular and down the east coast to about Townsville. Surprising we have not recorded it before as it is reasonably common in our area and is a large frog (90mm). The promise of rain bought out a few frogs:- Jungguy Frog, White-lipped Tree Frog, Northern Dwarf Tree Frog, Roth's (Laughing)Tree Frog, Desert (Red) Tree Frog and a few Cane toad. Yellow-footed Antechinus have been very active with several seen during the day, this one was in the rainforest foraging before it ran to shelter in a log.


Yellow-footed Antechinus


Agile Wallaby have been coming into the orchard in the hope of finding some green grass.


Agile Wallaby


A Green Ringtail Possum was seen on a night walk, a first for about a month and a Striped Possum was seen behind the accommodation units one evening. The pair of Platypus in Bushy Creek have been performing most evenings and early morning along with several Eastern Water Dragon. Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko are still being found, but have become more difficult with many staying up high on trees. Boyd's Forest Dragon have also been around with at least one male coloured up in his greenish breeding condition. An interesting snake was seen on the path to the orchard, it was about a metre long and a uniform mustard yellow colour. Not quite the same colour as a Green Tree Snake which is a brighter yellow with a black belly, but it could have been one to our untrained eye.

Insects:-
The prolonged dry spell we are experiencing has slowed down the insects, but a few dragonfly have started to appear such as this Painted Grasshawk.


Painted Grasshawk - male
 
Bird ID:-

This wader has been a bit of a challenge so we a throwing it open to anyone who has an opinion as to which species it might be.

 

Unknown Wader

 

Thanks to Carol and Andrew Iles our roving bird guides for helping with the bird lists and area sightings. If you need any guiding in our local area contact us and we can put you in touch with them, contact through our secure bookings and enquiries web page. 

 

Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge Business and Property For Sale
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Sunday, 2 November 2014

2nd November 2014 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

Weather Report
Rainfall over the last two weeks was 2mm one day and the next day 1mm, hardly touched the ground! Humidity dropped down to 44% with lots of sunshine and temperatures reaching 32ºc which it has been doing for the last three weeks.

Last Two Weeks Bird Sightings:-
These can be found on the Eremaea eBird site. 19th – 25th October and 26thOctober - 1st November The first week had 116 species recorded, which was the most for a very long time and the second week 104.

Birding Highlights:-
The much anticipated return of the Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher from Papua New Guinea happened on the 31st October when one bird was heard and briefly seen high in the rainforest canopy flying away. One was also heard calling on the following day. Hopefully the main party of birds will be joining this one very soon.

Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher

The pair of Lesser Sooty Owl reported last blog were around for about 10 days but have gone quiet over the last week. Whilst they were calling and flying around they were perching low down for their picture to be taken and were not in the least bothered by us. The were preening and calling to each other before they took off to chase each other.

Lesser Sooty Owl

Apart from these great sightings there were a few waterbirds in the nearby wetlands including six Wandering Whistling-Duck, Australian Wood Duck, one Hardhead, a female Black-necked Stork, one Australian Pelican, one White-necked Heron, both Australian White and Straw-necked Ibis plus three Royal Spoonbill. A flock of Magpie Goose flew over the Lodge one night honking as they went. A lone Comb-crested Jacana was on the lilies in one of the lagoons along McDougall Road. A few raptors were around, mainly Black Kite with a few Whistling Kite but also seen were a pair of Black-shouldered Kite and Pacific Baza, Brown and Grey Goshawk plus White-bellied Sea-Eagle. Red-necked Crake was heard and seen several times at the Crake Pool, and along Bushy Creek. Carol Iles our neighboring bird guide had a Red-backed Button-quail in one of the adjacent cane paddocks, not often seen. Fruiting Blue Quandong trees have been attracting many fruit pigeons, Wompoo Fruit-Dove, Superb Fruit-Dove, Torresian Imperial-Pigeon and flocks of Topknot Pigeon, including this one which had a very enlarged crop, looks more like a displaying Australian Bustard! (excuse the poor cropped image but it was high in the canopy).

 
Topknot Pigeon

Also around were Brown Cuckoo-Dove and the regular Emerald, Peaceful and Bar-shouldered Dove. This Brown Cuckoo-Dove was on the ground with a full crop.


Brown Cuckoo-Dove

Brush Cuckoo have returned and are calling along with Little Bronze-Cuckoo, Australian Koel and Channel-billed Cuckoo. Barn and Barking Owl are also around as are Australian Owlet-nightjar but these have only been heard. Papuan Frogmouth are sitting on nests at the moment and not easy to find. This one was sitting on a nest in the full sun which is what they do in our area, they incubate for upt o 40 days which is a very long period to be in the sun. 

Papuan Frogmouth - male on nest
 
Six Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo flew over the Lodge grounds one morning calling, this is only the second time they have been seen in October for at least nine years. Double-eyed Fig-Parrot continue to feed in a fruiting Cluster Fig and are attending a nearby nest.


Double-eyed Fig-Parrot - male

This male Double-eyed Fig-Parrot flew into a car and was rescued, we kept it in a box for a few hours before it had enough strength to climb onto a branch in the shade for a while. It sat for nearly an hour before it gave a few chirps to say thank you and flew off to hopefully survive.

Double-eyed Fig-Parrot - male

Our single Noisy Pitta continues to show well in and around the orchard area, early morning and late afternoon. It has been calling occasionally but has not been joined by any others yet.


Noisy Pitta

14 species of honeyeater have been seen plus one heard. Bridled and Lewin's are still in the area when normally at this time of year they have gone back up into the mountains. The Eastern Whipbird which arrived a month ago is still going around in circles calling for a mate. It was seen in the rainforest near the Crake Pool about 5m up a tree. Barred Cuckoo-shrike and at leas three male Common Cicadabird have been feeding on fruiting figs. A pair of Leaden Flycatcher were seen at the entrance to the Lodge whilst on a morning walk, they have been very scarce this year. The Lemon-bellied Flycatcher shown on its tiny nest last blog is still on it, not sure if it has a nestling yet. Pale-yellow Robin seem to have finished nesting duties for the time being and are being cute posing on branches in the orchard.


Pale-yellow Robin

Metallic Starling are still busy building nests and have been joined by a few immature birds, whilst the reported Mistletoebird at its nest appears to have fledged one young.

Further Afield:-
Oriental Plover, Australian Pratincole and Banded Honeyeater have been seen in the Maryfarms area, (between Mt. Molloy and Mt. Carbine on the Mulligan Highway/ Peninsular Road). Lovely Fairy-wren were found in Julatten at Mowbray National Park and along Euluma Creek Road. Large-tailed Nightjar were also heard along Euluma Creek Road and Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo plus Oriental Cuckoo were seen at the Mowbray National Park. Freckled Duck have become a fixture at Hasties Swamp near Atherton over the past two years with numbers fluctuating, up to 30 birds present this week. Mt. Lewis has been good as usual with all the 13 “Wet Tropic” endemics seen there over the past two weeks, no sign of Blue-faced Parrot-Finch yet.

Reptiles and Mammals:-
Fawn-footed Melomys have been active around the Lodge, they have been seen at the reception area feeder eating seed and banana, in the compost bin, eating an orange and a Sugar Apple in the orchard. Yellow-footed Antechinus have been chased out of the kitchen and feeding on banana at the feeder. 


Yellow-footed Antechinus
 
At least four Red-legged Pademelon have been in the rainforest and browsing in the orchard at night along with one Agile Wallaby, lean pickings on the browning grass. The pair of Platypus in Bushy Creek have again been performing at the viewing area on most evenings and early mornings. A few species of frog have started calling at the end of the second week and must think that some rain is coming, hope they are right! Those calling were White-lipped Green Tree Frog and Dainty Green Tree Frog along with Cane Toad. A few Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko have been seen as have Boyd's Forest Dragon and Eastern Water Dragon. Major Skink have been active with at least six different ones spotted around the Lodge grounds. 

Visitors:-
A couple of well known visitors called by during the week, Sean Dooley and Stephen Moss.
Sean is well known for his adventures trying to see as many Australian birds in a year as possible. The year of birding is documented in his book "The Big Twitch". Sean is now the editor of the Birdlife Australia magazine and in the past has been a comedy writer for several TV shows. Stephen Moss, who lives in the UK, is well known as an award winning TV producer of Natural History series, an author of many books and birder

Sean (L) and Stephen (R)

Sean and Stephen were up in Far North Queensland as guest speakers at the presentation of the John Hobbs Medal to Far North Queensland local Lloyd Nielsen for a life time of outstanding studies by an amateur ornithologist. Congratulations to Lloyd on a much deserved award, it could not have gone to a more dedicated and great bloke. We are lucky having such great talents in our area.


 

Thanks to Carol and Andrew Iles our roving bird guides for helping with the bird lists and area sightings. If you need any guiding in our local area contact us and we can put you in touch with them, contact through our secure bookings and enquiries web page. 

 

Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge Business and Property For Sale
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Sunday, 19 October 2014

19th October 2014 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

Weather Report
One day we had 6.5mm in a short shower, this was the total rain fall for the last two weeks. With the humidity dipping down to 34% and lots of sunshine and temperatures reaching 32ºc which is unheard of for this time of year, the rain did little to settle the dust.

Last Two Weeks Bird Sightings:-
These can be found on the Eremaea eBird site. 5th- 11th October and 12th- 18th October The first week had 104 species recorded and the second week 110.

Morning and Evening Guided Walks:-
Morning bird walks produced between 54 and 66 species which was very good for 2½hrs. Highlights were two male Superb Fruit-Dove in a tree beside Bushy Creek, male Common Koel, male and female Double-eyed Fig-Parrot feeding in Cluster Fig and nesting nearby.


Double-eyed Fig-Parrot - female at nest


A Noisy Pitta was seen most mornings and two Great Bowerbird were attending a very well constructed bower. 
 

Great Bowerbird Bower

White-throated Honeyeater were building a nest and mating plus a Lemon-bellied Flycatcher was sitting on its tiny nest, the smallest of any bird in Australia. This one is about 10m off the ground.


Lemon-bellied Flycatcher - on nest

(The full morning walk species lists can be found on the Eremaea eBird site. Click on Explore Data then Hotspots and type in Kingfisher Park – you will then see the Lodge in the drop down menu. Click this on and a map will appear with two markers, click these and you can have access to all our records. It sounds long winded, but it is really easy. Alternatively you can click this link which will take you directly to Hotspots http://ebird.org/ebird/hotspots).

One highlight on a night walk was the eclipse of the moon, we watched it as we went spotlighting and ended up in Geraghty Park to have great views of the event as we listened to two Australian Owlet-nightjar calling to each other. 

Eclipse Of The Moon


Other good sightings were a very brief glimpse of a Lesser Sooty Owl as it flew over and away from us, Giant White Tree Rat, Green Ringtail Possum, Water Rat and three Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko on one night.

Other Birding Highlights:-
One Female Black-necked Stork in a lagoon behind Geraghty Park as well as two Latham's Snipe along the edge, both species not seen for many months. One Australian Pelican flew over the Lodge on the 17th October, probably heading for one of the lagoons along McDougall Road. A Grey Goshawk was seen to fly into a tree, adjacent to the Lodge orchard, carrying an Eastern Water Dragon and luckily the camera was at hand to whiz off a couple of shots before it moved off clutching its meal.


Grey Goshawk with Eastern Water Dragon


Pacific Baza have been around but not regularly and a pair of Brown Goshawk were circling over the Lodge one morning. Red-necked Crake was seen briefly late one afternoon as it was getting dark at the Crake Pool, it was also heard on several occasions. Pigeons and doves have been around to take advantage of fruiting trees and vines; those seen were Brown Cuckoo-Dove, Wompoo Fruit-Dove, Superb Fruit-Dove, Torresian Imperial Pigeon and Topknot Pigeon plus the regular Emerald Dove, Bar-shouldered Dove and Peaceful Dove. Lesser Sooty Owl was seen about 4.00am perched in a tree near our bunkhouse and heard on numerous other occasions. Barking Owl have been vocal with one roosting high up in a eucalypt tree near the bunkhouse one afternoon. A pair of Papuan Frogmouth have made a nest in a fern on a tree branch at a nearby private property, they laid on the 10th October and usually take about 40 days to incubate.


Papuan Frogmouth - female on nest


Dollarbird returned on 16th October along with Brush Cuckoo. Also on this day the Cicadabird started calling. Lovely Fairy-Wren were seen by our neighbours Carol and Andrew Iles (our local bird guides) in their garden, they also saw a Red-necked Crake run under their veranda. Spotted Catbird have been coming to the feeder to gather fruit and head off with it so they maybe feeding young. 13 species of honeyeater were seen and Black-chinned heard. The Eastern Whipbird mentioned in the last blog is still hanging around the area calling whilst it visits all the adjoining rainforest habitats as well as the Lodge grounds. Barred Cuckoo-shrike have been visiting the fruiting trees in and around the Lodge, mainly Blue Quandong. Groups of Spangled Drongo have been passing through the area on their southern migration with up to 50+ seen at a time. Black-faced Monarch are around in increasing numbers and calling and a single female Leaden Flycatcher was heard and seen, the first for seven weeks. A few Pale-Yellow Robin have been seen feeding fledged young whilst others are still sitting on nests. A Bassian Thrush was still around the grounds in the first week but was not sighted in the second.

Further Afield:-
Mt. Lewis is still producing all the 12 “Wet Tropic” endemics but not all at once! One Blue-faced Parrot-Finch was seen near Abattoir Swamp but no reports of them up on Mt. Lewis yet. Maryfarms between Mt. Molloy and Mt. Carbine has displaying Australian Bustard, still at least eight Australian Pratincole and Carol Iles saw an injured Oriental Plover with the pratincole. Photo courtesy of Carol Iles.


Oriental Plover- broken wing

Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo were seen around the Mowbray National Park in Julatten on several occasions. Abattoir Swamp has been good for honeyeaters and White-browed Crake. Up to 12 Spotted Whistling-Duck have been reported at Keatings Lagoon near Cooktown, 2 hours north from the Lodge.

Reptiles and Mammals:-
The Water Rat seen in Bushy Creek whilst on a night walk was the most exciting mammal over the two weeks followed by the elusive Green Ringtail Possum seen once. Three Giant White-tail Rat were seen one night; they have not been seen much lately so must have woken up. Platypus have been very cooperative appearing in the morning and late afternoon with up to two. Boyd's Forest Dragon and Major Skink have also been appearing with the warmer weather. Several snakes have also woken up with sightings of Australian Scrub Python, Slaty Grey and Green Tree Snake – one in our downstairs toilet was a surprise. Just having a look around in the first photo before it retreated back inside. It eventually left by the window with a bit of encouragement and headed for the rainforest.


Green Tree Snake

Green Tree Snake
 

Thanks to Carol and Andrew Iles our roving bird guides for helping with the bird lists and area sightings. If you need any guiding in our local area contact us and we can put you in touch with them, contact through our secure bookings and enquiries web page. 

 

Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge Business and Property For Sale
Click here for more sale details

 

Saturday, 4 October 2014

5th October 2014 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

This weeks blog features some of the other wildlife we have in the Lodge grounds in addition to the birds. It highlights the amazing diversity to be found in even a small area such as our 5ha's if you are prepared to look closer.

Weather Report
After almost having a dry month a few showers arrived on the 29th giving us 9 mm of rain . Before this event we had more sun, temperatures slightly warmer than previous weeks, down to 15.5ºC and up to 28.0ºC, excellent birding weather. Humidity was 70%+.

Last Two Weeks Bird Sightings:-
These can be found on the Eremaea eBird site. 21st - 27th September and 28thSeptember - 4th October The first week had 108 species recorded and the second week 101.

Morning and Evening Guided Walks:-

Morning walks produced between 46 (photography morning) and 63 species, some of the highlights were:- Nankeen Night-Heron was seen foraging along Bushy Creek carrying a prey item. Grey Goshawk soaring above, Azure Kingfisher perched, Great Bowerbird at his bower, 

 


Great Bowerbird - at his bower

 

also Barred Cuckoo-shrike feasting on small figs, Bassian Thrush (uncommon) along Bushy Creek and a Platypus performing in Bushy Creek for great views on several occasions.

 

(The full morning walk species lists can be found on the Eremaea eBird site. Click on Explore Data then Hotspots and type in Kingfisher Park – you will then see the Lodge in the drop down menu. Click this on and a map will appear with two markers, click these and you can have access to all our records. It sounds long winded, but it is really easy. Alternatively you can click this link which will take you directly to Hotspots http://ebird.org/ebird/hotspots).

Evening walk highlights were Barn Owl, Fawn-footed Melomys eating banana from a bunch growing near the units, Red-legged Pademelon, Giant White-tailed Tree Rat, Striped Possum, Platypus, five different frog species, Northern Leaf-tail Gecko – one on the ground and another on the side of a tree and Boyd's Forest Dragon. Also this interesting Centipede which is 150mm (6”) long was seen on the edge of the rainforest. Centipedes are mainly nocturnal and are predatory feeding on a range of prey items such as worms, reptiles, amphibians, small mammals, bats and birds. 
 
Centipede sp.

 

Other Birding Highlights:
Two Cotton Pygmy-goose have been intermittently showing along McDougall Road in one of the lagoons (within our 1.5km reporting area). An Osprey was a surprise flying over Mt. Kooyong Road one afternoon - not many records from adjacent to the Lodge. Pacific Baza have been around infrequently and were seen displaying over the Lodge one day when they locked feet and spiraled down to tree top level before breaking off. A Wedge-tailed Eagle was seen over the Lodge on at least two occasions, also around have been both Grey and Brown Goshawk, often pursued by Blue-faced Honeyeater. Red-necked Crake have been making more appearances at the Crake Pool with one or two birds arriving just before it gets dark around 6.15pm but not every night. This juvenile Emerald Dove has been coming to the reception area feeder for at least the last two months and has been chasing away the adult doves.


Emerald Dove - juvenile

Wompoo Fruit-dove are starting to come into fruiting Blue Quandong trees which are just getting ripe, up to three have been seen so far. Superb Fruit-dove was heard calling on the 29th September in the Lodge grounds but not seen, first one heard for 4-5 months. At least one male and one female Australian Koel have been around the Lodge and our neighbours garden. Lesser Sooty Owl was around for a few nights, first heard calling on 25th September, but not seen. A large Peregrine Falcon (as opposed to the smaller superficially similar looking Australian Hobby, which is fairly regular in our area) was seen twice when it flew over our neighbours garden early one morning before being seen over the Lodge grounds later the same morning. Not many records of Peregrine Falcon in our area. Our single Noisy Pitta is still around on it's own with no sign of our usual two adult pairs which normally return in September - November to breed. Plenty of honeyeaters around 12 seen and one heard. 

This shot is of a Graceful Honeyeater showing an unusually curved bill (they are normally slightly down-curved), slight diffuse yellow stripe on the belly and the blue/grey eye, some of the features to help separate it from Yellow-spotted Honeyeater which has straighter lower mandible and a brown eye. Very distinctive calls between graceful and yellow-spotted honeyeaters which visitors would be well advised to learn before they visit.

 
Graceful Honeyeater
An Eastern Whipbird was heard calling on the 26th September from a patch of rainforest between the Lodge and the Rex Highway. This species rarely comes into our immediate area and in nine years we have only had one or two birds in the Lodge grounds. Black-faced Monarch were heard calling for the first time this season on the 29th September.

Further Afield:-
A Spotless Crake was seen at Abattoir Swamp by Doug Herrington from Birdwatching Tropical Tours. Up to seven Australian Pratincole have been reported along West Maryfarm Road north of Mt. Molloy along with displaying Australian Bustard. Birds found nesting in and around Julatten include Graceful Honeyeater, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Fairy Gerygone, Pale-Yellow Robin, Metallic Starling and Mistletoebird. 

 
Graceful Honeyeater Nest


Mistletoebird Nest - female still building


Up to three Blue-faced Parrot-Finch have been found near Abattoir Swamp but they should start moving off and up into the mountains very soon. Mt. Lewis continues to show most of the 12 "Wet Tropic" endemics including Golden Bowerbird, but roadworks and some rain has made the road only suitable for four wheel drive vehicles at the moment. As this is being written (4th Oct.) there is still a grader working on the road with a water truck. Rufous Owl is still being reported from Cairns Esplanade.

Reptiles and Mammals:-
Yellow-footed Antichinus have been seen in various parts of the Lodge grounds during the day darting around on the ground. Agile Wallaby have joined the Red-legged Pademelon at night to browse in the orchard with at least three seen. Striped Possum is not visiting our South American Sapote tree any more as the flowers have nearly finished, but one was seen in a nearby tree which has just started to blossom, another was seen in a tree above the campground cookshed. The Platypus have been showing well both in the evening and early morning with up to two swimming up and down Bushy Creek at the viewing area. Up to six Northern Brown Bandicoot have been visiting the reception area feeder, good to see increased numbers over the last few weeks. Frogs got excited when we had a few millimeters of rain with up to six species seen – Jungguy Frog, White-lipped Green Tree Frog, Roth's (Laughing) Frog, Desert (Red) Tree Frog, Dainty Green Tree Frog and a large Cane Toad. Northern Leaf-tail Gecko have re-appeared as mention in the night walk report as have Major Skink who have been anticipating warmer weather. The Australian Scrub Python mentioned last blog left it's tree trunk home at the end of the second week and has not been relocated.

Thanks to Carol and Andrew Iles our roving bird guides for helping with the bird lists and area sightings. If you need any guiding in our local area contact us and we can put you in touch with them, contact through our secure bookings and enquiries web page.


Insects:-
A clicking sound was heard in the office one morning which was traced to a Click Beetle. It was relocated outside and continued clicking as it bounced into the air. This clicking and bouncing into the air is mainly used to avoid predation, but as this one was doing trying to right itself after in fell onto its back. The violent "click" that bounced the beetle into the air is caused by a spine which is snapped into a corresponding notch on the beetle. A further more explicit explanation of how this works can be found on the Wikipedia site
 
Click Beetle sp. - on its back

Click Beetle sp. - right side up


A Mango tree which is covered in flowers at the moment is attracting hoards of bees to the pollen. Not sure of the species of bee but have been told previously that we have Italian Honey Bees here. This species of bee was introduced into Brisbane in 1880.


Bee sp. (?)

Butterflies are not easy to photograph as they fold their wings when landing unlike moths which generally hold them open. We have a good variety of butterfly and moth in the Lodge grounds but many of them are confined to the canopy of the rainforest which also makes it difficult to photograph them let alone see them. However this Common Aeroplane (White-banded Plane) Phaedyma shepherdi was very co-operative. A full list of species recorded at the Lodge can be found on our website.



Common Aeroplane (White-banded Plane)

Arachnid:-
The Giant Silverback spider or Brush-footed trapdoor spider(Genus Idiommata, family Barychelidae) has featured in the blog before, at the beginning of 2014. It is only the second one we have found here, this one was smaller than the previous one, but still very impressive. They are not aggressive but can inflict a nasty bite so best to steer clear of them!

Giant Silverback spider
 
Giant Silverback spider

Plant:-
The Northern Pencil Orchid – Dockrillia calamiformis was formerly known as Dendrobium calamiforme and Dendrobium teretifolium var. fasciculatum is an epiphytic or lithophytic (A plant that grows on rock and derives its nourishment chiefly from the atmosphere), orchid which occurs in rainforest and humid open forest in Cape York and North eastern Queensland. In our area it is mainly seen hanging off the trunks or branches of trees, this one was on a Mango fruit tree. The flowers, which appear in August through to November, are fragrant and pollinated by small bees.

 

 


Northern Pencil Orchid