Sunday, September 7, 2014

7th September 2014 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

Weather Report
What can we say about the weather? Well we have had no rain over the last two weeks, just wall to wall sunshine, cool temperatures down to 10.5ºC (stop laughing you southern Australian people) and up to 23.6ºC, perfect conditions. Temperatures have been about 6ºC below the average for this time of year.

Last Two Weeks Bird Sightings:-
These can be found on the Eremaea eBird site. 24th August - 30th August and 30th August - 6th September The first weeks sightings had 99 seen and 4 heard, the second week 99 seen and 5 heard.

Morning and Evening Guided Walks:-

Morning walks had between 44 and 59 species. Some of the birds seen included Pacific Baza who was flying over Geraghty Park displaying and calling,

 

Pacific Baza

 

plus we had Buff-banded Rail, Peaceful Dove building a nest, Wompoo Fruit-Dove, Topknot Pigeon, Papuan Frogmouth, Double-eyed Fig-Parrot digging a nest, Blue-winged Kookaburra, Yellow-breasted Boatbill, Barred Cuckoo-shrike, Pied Monarch, Victoria's Riflebird and Metallic Starling also nest building. The full 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.

Night walks were productive despite it being quite cool and dry which restricted the number of frogs and reptiles which were out. Despite this we managed to see Leaf-tailed Gecko, Jungguy Frog, White-lipped Tree Frog, Red Tree Frog (Desert Tree Frog) and Dainty Green Tree Frog. Mammals seen were Striped Possum, Long-nosed and Northern Brown Bandicoot, Fawn-footed Melomys and Bush Rat. Australian Owlet-nightjar were heard but not seen and a Papuan Frogmouth was seen in camp ground. A pair of Barking Owl were seen perched in a tree beside Bushy Creek calling softly. As we watched them, they mated and the male flew off.

Other Birding Highlights:-
With the change of season from winter to spring there is also a change in some bird species which are in our area. Grey Fantail have left to go back south, we had our first Torresian Imperial-Pigeon, Australian Koel and Channel-billed Cuckoo for the season arrive from the north.
Wetland birds were scarce with only one or two of most seen which included Magpie Goose, Green and Cotton Pygmy-goose, Pacific Black Duck, Hardhead, Grey Teal, Australasian Grebe, Little Pied Cormorant, Australasian Darter, Australian Pelican, White-necked and White-faced Heron plus Intermediate, Great and Cattle Egret.
Plenty of raptors were around to scavenge off the cut cane paddocks, mainly Black Kite which were around in groups of up to about 100, here are some which were hanging around in the trees.


Black Kite

Black Kite

Also here were a few Whistling Kite, a White-bellied Sea-Eagle shown here perched in a Blue Quandong tree

White-bellied Sea-Eagle

and Australian Hobby (not a great image as it is a severe crop,but it gives an idea of what the bird looks like).

Australian Hobby
 
Red-necked Crake were again heard but not seen as was a Spotless Crake along McDougall Road.
Some very young Emerald Dove have appeared and a pair of Wompoo Fruit-Dove have come to investigate a few fruit trees which have just started to have ripe fruit on them. The nesting pairs of Barn Owl have now chased off their offspring from the area and we have only been seeing a few adults. Barking Owl have also quietened down but were seen roosting during the day. Azure Kingfisher have been along Bushy Creek and there has been a few sightings of Little Kingfisher in the Crake Pool on the edge of our orchard.
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo have been seen sitting in their nest hollow in a big Queensland Blue Gum tree and a few Scaly-breasted Lorikeet are still around feeding on the few remaining flowering gum trees. Noisy Pitta has started to call and has been seen in the orchard area, mainly early morning. Spotted Catbird are still coming to the reception area feeder to grab mouthfuls of banana. Red-backed Fairy-wren have been seen perched on the fences along McDougall Road. Twelve species of honeyeater were seen and one, Black-chinned heard. A few Lewin's Honeyeater are still around but the majority of them seem to have left for the higher altitudes of the mountains behind the Lodge. Macleay's Honeyeater is an ever present “Wet Tropic” endemic around the Lodge who have been taking advantage of the flowering grevilleas.

Macleay's Honeyeater

The one male Golden Whistler, that has been with us for a few months, is still around the Lodge grounds and has been joined by a pair of Rufous Whistler who have been present on the edge of the Lodge grounds in the tall Queensland Blue Gum trees. They don't normally hang around for weeks, mainly confining themselves to the nearby Geraghty Park. Northern Fantail have moved back into the Lodge grounds in the last week to take the place of the departing Grey Fantail. A pair of Torresian Crow have also been flying over and calling after being absent for a few months, getting ready to play host to Channel-billed Cuckoo no doubt. Lemon-bellied Flycatcher have joined the Rainbow Bee-eater (who was being blown around in the wind) to perch and forage from the Geraghty Park oval fence.

Lemon-bellied Flycatcher

Rainbow Bee-eater (female - short tail streamer)      

Golden-headed Cisticola have been calling from the remaining uncut cane but are in fewer numbers than previous years. This one was hanging on a seed stalk on the cane singing

Golden-headed Cisticola 

Further Afield:-
Blue-faced Parrot-Finch are still being seen infrequently near Abattoir Swamp with up to five birds seen. Abattoir Swamp itself has been good for honeyeaters and has had a Grey Shrike-thrush nesting on the edge of the car park.Rufous Owl is still being reported along the Cairns Esplanade.


Reptiles and Mammals:-
In addition to those seen on night walks we saw Red-legged Pademelon, Agile Wallaby, a few bats – Eastern Horseshoe Bat, Large-footed Myotis, Northern Broad-nosed and Little Bent-winged bat, Giant White-tailed Tree Rat, Green Ringtail Possum, Spectacled Flying-fox and Eastern Water Dragon. A few snakes were seen, Green Tree Snake, Brown Tree Snake and the highlight a pair of Australian Scrub Python mating on the edge of the orchard whilst stretched out on a log.

 Thanks to our roving bird guides Carol and Andrew Iles who helped compile the bird list and are available for any bird guiding in the area. Contact them directly or through the Lodge.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

24th August 2014 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

Weather Report
The first week had 32.5mm of rain which fell over six days, the second week had no rain just sunshine. Temperatures ranged from a cool low of 13.2ºC up to 23.8ºC which is about average for this time of year.

Last Two Weeks Bird Sightings:-
These can be found on the Eremaea eBird site. 10th - 16th August and 17th - 23th August The first week we had 106 sightings and the second week 112, pretty good numbers!

Morning and Evening Guided Walks:-
Morning walks (2½ hours) produced between 43-55 species, the lower count was due to rain disrupting the walk. The 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/hotspotshttp://ebird.org/ebird/hotspots.
Again we saw up to 11 Barn Owl on night walks and one Barking Owl. Mammal sightings were good with two Tree Mouse (Prehensile-tailed Rat) on one night, Fawn-footed Melomys, Eastern Horseshoe Bat and Northern Blossom Bat, two Striped Possum and both Long-nosed and Northern Brown Bandicoot. Frogs seen were Jungguy Frog, White-lipped Tree Frog, Red Tree Frog, Roth's (Laughing)Tree Frog, Dainty Green Tree Frog, Cogger's Frog and Cane Toad. Several Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko were also found.

Other Birding Highlights:-

Both Green and Cotton Pygmy-goose have been along McDougall Road as well as up to three Australian Pelican and White-necked Heron. Pacific Black Duck have been along McDougall including these two who were loafing, thought we would put in an image of these birds as some of the more common birds tend to get overlooked.

 

Pacific Black Duck

At least 32 Straw-necked Ibis were foraging in a cut cane paddock adjacent to the Lodge; straw-necks are not as common as Australian White Ibis around Julatten. Black-shouldered Kite have been regulars with one adult and two juveniles seen. A Pacific Baza was seen one day at the front entrance to the Lodge but not seen since. Also flying over the Lodge were a pair of Grey Goshawk being chased by a pack of Blue-faced Honeyeater. Another blue-face was seen chasing a Whistling Kite over Geraghty Park, this time it was hanging onto the tail of the kite! Other raptors seen were Wedge-tailed Eagle, White-bellied Sea-Eagle and over 50 Black Kite foraging in and around cut cane paddocks including this immature bird. 

 

Black Kite - juvenile

Red-necked Crake have started to call so we know they are around but only one sighting over the last two weeks. Wompoo Fruit-Dove have also been calling and being seen as a few more trees start fruit. Topknot Pigeon are still flying over in small flocks and very occasionally dropping into the Lodge grounds. An Australian Owlet-nightjar has been heard calling around the Lodge grounds and also in the vicinity of a previous daytime roost site but has not been seen. The two Papuan Frogmouth continue to roost in the Lodge grounds with four more seen roosting nearby. This is the male with the female hidden by the leaves in one of the Lodge mango trees about 6-7m up which is higher than they normally roost which is more like 4-5m.

 
Papuan Frogmouth

Two Azure Kingfisher have been seen along Bushy Creek flying along and perching near the Platypus viewing area, which has a nice new seat after the previous one was washed away in the flood caused by Cyclone Ita in March. Both Nankeen Kestrel and Australian Hobby have been seen around the Lodge. Scaly-breasted Lorikeet numbers have dropped off as the Queensland Blue Gum are finishing flowering but at least one pair are nesting in these trees and Double-eyed Fig-Parrot have been seen flying over since they, and the Australasian Figbird, have finished off the fruiting figs. Barn Owl have juveniles who have been sitting up in their nests dozing during the day like these ones were. 

 
Barn Owl - juvenile


Barn Owl - juvenile


Noisy Pitta have started to call and have been seen around the Lodge grounds, we still think we only have one bird present. There has been a couple of sightings of Lovely Fairy-wren in the grounds, one along Bushy Creek and another at the Crake Pool. Fourteen species of honeyeater were seen and one heard, which was only four less than the total recorded at the Lodge. Again Pied Monarch and Yellow-breasted Boatbill have both been calling well and being seen. Barred Cuckoo-shrike have made a few appearances but have not been regular. Golden, Grey and Rufous Whistler have all been seen in and around the Lodge as have Northern, Rufous and Grey Fantail. Only a couple of sightings of Leaden Flycatcher over the two weeks but Lemon-bellied Flycatcher have been around with up to six seen at a time. Victoria's Riflebird were seen in the first week but not in the second so they might have left. A Tawny Grassbird was briefly seen in an adjacent cane paddock where it was calling. Metallic Starling returned on the 10th August from Papua New Guinea with numbers continuing to increase along with the nesting activity at their colony in Geraghty Park.
Further Afield:-

Blue-faced Parrot-Finch are being seen infrequently near Abattoir Swamp with only a couple of birds seen. Australian Bustard are displaying at Maryfarms between Mt. Molloy and Mt. Carbine and a single Australian Pratincole is still present at this location after about 3 weeks. Mt. Lewis is as good as ever with bird guide Doug Herrington from Birdwatching Tropical Australia reporting five male Golden Bowerbird seen in one visit! All other “Wet Tropic” endemics were found here in the last two weeks, even more reason to stay at Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge! Our roving bird guides Carol and Andrew Iles reported Tawny Grassbird, White-eared Monarch, Shining Flycatcher and Red-winged Parrot from Julatten as well as an Australian Hobby whizzing down Mt. Molloy main street. Freckled Duck are still at Hasties Swamp near Atherton and have been almost continuously for the past two years, they were joined by an estimated 2000 Magpie Goose this week.

 

Identification of odd Looking Lewin's Honeyeater:-

The first two images of a meliphagous honeyeater were photographed at Malanda on the Atherton Tableland at about 900m, the third more typical Lewin's  was photographed at the Lodge, they are all ssp. mab, which occurs in Far North Queensland.

After some discussion with a few local and interstate experts it was agreed that this bird is an odd looking Lewin's, it certainly had the Lewin's call. It has an odd shaped ear patch, which is a lot smaller than a normal Lewin's of the ssp mab. The ear patch looks more like a Graceful. The lower mandible is slightly curved like a Graceful and not straight like Lewin's  the length of the bill looks slightly longer in these comparison images than Lewin's. The underparts don't have as much streaking as Lewin's and the face is less grey than a Lewin's. It is possible this could be a Lewin's/Graceful hybrid as there altitudinal range does overlap (Graceful usually occur below 600m). Note:- Lewin's Honeyeater ssp. mab does not have the distinct crescent shape to the ear patch of southern birds but a slightly less shaped crescent as shown in the 3rd image.Thanks to the experts for their comments. 

 

Lewin's Honeyeater ssp. mab


Lewin's Honeyeater ssp. mab


Lewin's Honeyeater ssp. mab - typical


Reptiles and Mammals

In addition to the mammals and reptiles mention on night walks we had other interesting sightings including Red-legged Pademelon, Agile Wallaby, Platypus with two regularly showing, Water Rat, Green Tree Snake and Australian Scrub Python. Over the two week we had 17 mammal species and 12 amphibian/reptiles.

Insect:-
This interesting beetle turned up at the reception area feeder one evening, it is a Carion Beetle Diamesus osculans. In Australia there are only three species in two genera mainly found in forested areas within 300km of coastal areas in eastern and northern Australia. This species is also found in Papua New Guinea and in Asia. (info. From “A Guide to the Beetles of Australia” George Hangay and Paul Zborowski). This is the first one we have seen in the Lodge grounds.
Carion Beetle

Thanks to our bird guide neighbours Carol and Andrew Iles for helping to compile the weekly bird lists, don't forget to contact them if you need any bird guiding.


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Sunday, August 10, 2014

10th August 2014 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

Weather Report
The first week had 9mm of rain which fell over three days, the second week had 17mm of rain over six days. Temperatures ranged from a cool low of 16.1ºC up to 23.6ºC which is about average for this time of year. Despite the drizzly rain there were plenty of opportunities to get some good birding in both during the day and night walks.


Last Two Weeks Bird Sightings:-
These can be found on the Eremaea eBird site. 27thJuly - 2nd August and 3rd- 9th August The first week had 94 sightings and the second week 97 .


Morning and Evening Guided Walks:-
Morning walks were very productive with numbers of species seen ranging from 51-55 apart from one day where the rain cut it short and only 43 species were seen. We had some good sightings including three Little Bronze-Cuckoo, Papuan Frogmouth, Double-eyed Fig-Parrot – one female was digging out a nest hollow in a tree, Noisy Pitta, Spotted Catbird, 11 species of honeyeater, Yellow-breasted Boatbill, male Cicadabird, Pied Monarch, Victoria's Riflebird and Lemon-bellied Flycatcher.

Night walks were also very good up to 11 Barn Owl seen as there are at least 3 nests around the Lodge area with juveniles. Other good bird sightings were a Brown Falcon flying over and calling, Barking Owl, Papuan Frogmouth and a pair of Blue-winged Kookaburra – one was calling. 

 
Papuan Frogmouth - female

Mammals seen were Giant White-tailed Rat which is a native tree rat,


Giant White-tailed Rat - male

Fawn-footed Melomys and Tree Mouse (prehensile-tailed Rat) both of whom were feeding in oranges as these two images show – quite amazing! 
 
Fawn-footed Melomys - tail


Tree Mouse

Others seen were Red-legged Pademelon, Striped and Green Ringtail Possum, Long-nosed and Northern Brown Bandicoot, plus Spectacled Flying-fox. This one was getting nectar from the blossom of a South American Sapote fruit tree.

 
Spectacled Flying-fox


Frogs seen were Jungguy Frog, White-lipped Tree Frog, Red Tree Frog, Roth's Tree Frog, Dainty Green Tree Frog, Cogger's Frog and Cane Toad, plus Platypus. Reptiles seen were Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko, Asian House Gecko and Australian Scrub Python high up in a tree.

Other Birding Highlights:-
A pair of Green Pygmy-goose were along McDougall Road along with White-faced and White-necked Heron. At least two juvenile Black-shouldered Kite were perched near Geraghty Park and a Swamp Harrier was over a paddock behind the nursing home. A Brown Goshawk came swooping into the reception area feeder scattering the Bar-shouldered Dove and Red-browed Finch, but it left empty handed after failing to catch anything. Black and Whistling Kite are mopping up road kills along the Rex Highway and a pair of White-bellied Sea-Eagle have been seen heading for the local fish farm. Red-necked Crake was heard, but not seen; they have not been easy lately. Up to 21 Topknot Pigeon have been seen flying over and landing in the Blue Quandong trees looking for the fruit which is still green and not the bright blue ripe fruit. Lesser Sooty Owl was heard once and Australian Owlet-nightjar was also heard, but neither species were seen. Rainbow and Scaly-breasted Lorikeet were both seen nesting in tree hollows. The male Yellow-throated Scrubwren previously reported in still being seen around the Lodge grounds and a brown Black Butcherbird has also been around. A couple of Bower's Shrike-thrush are still in the Lodge grounds along with a male Golden Whistler. Olive-backed Oriole have returned and are calling, not sure where they disappear to. A White-eared Monarch has been calling over the last two week, but was only seen on the 9th August high in a tree beside Bushy Creek at the Platypus viewing area. Pied Monarch and Yellow-breasted Boatbill have both been calling well and being seen. 



Yellow-breasted Boatbill - female

The female and immature male Victoria's Riflebird previously reported are still with us and being seen in various parts of the grounds. A Golden-headed Cisticola was reported by our neighbours and bird guides Carol and Andrew Iles along Bushy Creek, this is a first sighting for many months. Up to five Blue-faced Parrot-Finch have been found near Abattoir Swamp.


Further Afield:-

Banded Honeyeater was reported by Del Richards from Fine Feather Tours on 30th July just north of Mt. Carbine, which is about two months earlier than previous years. A Wedge-tailed Eagle was soaring over Euluma Creek Road in Julatten, not common in our area. Just outside our 1.5km Lodge reporting area on the way to Mt. Molloy a Crested Pigeon was perched on a power line across the Rex Highway, this is the closest to the Lodge that we have seen this species. Mt. Lewis has been performing as usual with all 13 “Wet Tropic” endemics seen including male and female Golden Bowerbird. A trip to the Atherton Tableland allowed us to catch up with a few birds including these two, an Eastern Whipbird and a male Victoria's Riflebird.

 

Eastern Whipbird



Victoria's Riflebird - male

 

Reptiles and Mammals:-

Apart from the mammals reported on the night walks we have recorded Agile Wallaby, Eastern Horseshoe Bat, Large-footed Myotis (fish eating bat), Northern Broad-nosed Bat and Little Bent-wing Bat. Other reptiles seen were Boyd's Forest Dragon after a month long absence, Eastern Water Dragon and Green Tree Snake. 

Thanks to Carol and Andrew Iles for helping to compile the weekly bird lists, contact them if you need any bird guiding. 


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Sunday, July 27, 2014

27th July 2014 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

Weather Report
The first week was mainly dry and sunny' but 3.5mm of rain fell over two nights, the second week began dry before we had 4mm of rain which fell over two days. Temperatures ranged from a cool low of 11.5ºC up to 23ºC, very pleasant and great birding weather.

Last Two Weeks Bird Sightings:-
These can be found on the Eremaea eBird site. 13th - 19th July and 20th - 26th July

The first week has 98 sightings and the second week 109. Rainfall was 6.5mm over four days, much of this fell at night or was fine mist during the day. Overall it was great birding over the two weeks.


Birding Highlights:-

A few waterbirds were around in the local lagoons and Barramundi Farm; these included A couple of Green Pygmy-goose, Pacific Black Duck, Australasian Grebe, Little Black and Little Pied Cormorant, a single Australian Pelican, Great, Intermediate and Cattle Egret, White-faced Heron, Australian White and Straw-necked Ibis plus three Royal Spoonbill. Orange-footed Scrubfowl (they should be called orange-legged) have been very noisy calling day and night and chasing each other, they are quite comical to watch as they strut around.


Orange-footed Scrubfowl

 

Raptors were quite good with Black-shouldered Kite, Swamp and Spotted Harrier, Grey Goshawk, Collared Sparrowhawk, Black and Whistling Kite along with White-bellied Sea-Eagle. A Red-necked Crake was calling one evening but not seen. Brown Cuckoo-Dove have been taking advantage of several fruiting trees including Celerywood and a Strangler Fig with up to five seen at one time. Bar-shouldered Dove have been around the Lodge grounds and at the Barramundi Farm, they are a very attractive dove.


Bar-shouldered Dove

 

A single Wompoo Fruit-Dove has been around the Lodge grounds and calling. Not much cuckoo action with only a Fan-tailed Cuckoo heard and a Little Bronze-Cuckoo seen. Barn Owl have been noisy with one pair having three juveniles to feed and another pair with at least two chicks still in a nest. The two Barking Owl which have been around on and off for the last two years continue to be around, but not every night. Australian Owlet-nightjar has been heard on several nights, but not seen. Papuan Frogmouth numbers have increased to five in the immediate area with a male and female taking up residence in our orchard, so hopefully they will stay and breed here, welcome back! This picture shows three Papuan Frogmouth roosting during the day and pretending not to look like birds.

 

Papuan Frogmouth

 

Rainbow Bee-eater are still with us, but only about 12 have been recorded which is a decrease in numbers over the last few weeks. Up to six Double-eyed Fig-Parrot have been coming to a fruiting Cluster Fig to feed on the green fruits. At least two pairs of Spotted Catbird are in the Lodge grounds and our neighbours Carol and Andrew's garden. This one was queuing up for a free feed at their bird feeder.


Spotted Catbird

Our single Noisy Pitta continues to make appearances in our orchard to the delight of our guests. 15 species of honeyeater were recorded including at least two Black-chinned (Golden-backed Form) were are still around. A single male Yellow-throated Scrubwren is still with us after first being sighted a month ago, an altitudinal migrant from the mountains behind us. Yellow-breasted Boatbill have been showing well and coming down to lower levels in the rainforest for good views as have the Pied Monarch. A male Common Cicadabird was seen on a couple of morning walks, which was the first sightings for this year.


Common Cicadabird - male

 

A couple of Bower's Shrike-thrush are still around and showing well. Australasian Figbird have been scarce over the last few weeks, but towards the end of the second week they re-appeared in flocks of 30-40. These males are eating the fruits of an Umbrella Tree in front of our units.

 
Australasian Figbird - male

 

A female Shining Flycatcher flew through our neighbours garden whilst it was cutting a corner on a bend in Bushy Creek; we only see this species occasionally throughout the year. Another occasional visitor was a Tawny Grassbird foraging near the entrance to the Lodge and darting into the adjacent cane paddock. A few Chestnut-breasted Mannikin were also foraging alongside the cane paddock.


Further Afield:-

Numbers of Blue-faced Parrot-Finch near Abattoir Swamp have increased from the two reported last blog to at least five, but they are very difficult to locate. At Abattoir Swamp our neighbour Andrew Iles (bird guide) had Varied Sitella, which is uncommon at that location. Mt. Lewis is still the place to find the 13 “Wet Tropic” endemics with all being seen in the last two weeks – not on the same day though! At least three Lesser Sooty Owl were seen one evening. Just outside our 1.5km Lodge reporting area were five Purple Swamphen foraging alongside the Rex Highway which is not a good idea! Hopefully they will learn the error of their ways and relocate to the nearest wetland. Square-tailed Kite has been reported in Mt. Molloy and further north at Maryfarms. Hasties Swamp, near Atherton, has been turning up some good waterbirds including Freckled Duck and Glossy Ibis. A Brown Goshawk was around Euluma Creek road in Julatten one afternoon, always nice to see this species.

Reptiles and Mammals:-
The last few weeks have been extremely good for our night walks with plenty to see. One of the highlights was a Short-beaked Echidna which was the first we have seen this year. Other species seen were Striped and Green Ringtail Possum, Northern Brown and Long-nosed Bandicoot, Fawn-footed Melomys feeding on the fruit of an orange tree in our orchard, a brief glimpse of a Platypus in Bushy Creek and Several Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko. A few frogs were also spotlighted – Jungguy Frog, White-lipped Tree Frog, Roth's (Laughing) Frog, Desert Tree Frog, Dainty Green Tree Frog, Cogger's Frog and one small Cane Toad. Apart from those seen on the night walks we also had Bush Rat, Giant White-tailed Rat, Eastern Horseshoe and Northern Broad-nosed Bat, Spectacled Flying Fox a couple of Australian Scrub Python. A large Carpet Python was over the road in the Geraghty Park hall during a residence meeting.
Thanks to our guests for reporting sightings and to Carol and Andrew Iles our roving bird guides for their input into this weeks blog.If you need bird guiding click on their link and send an email.



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Sunday, July 13, 2014

13th July 2014 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

Weather Report
The first week was dry apart from 5mm of rain which fell over two days, the second week was dry and sunny. Temperatures ranged from a cold low of 9ºC up to 22ºC, very pleasant and great birding weather.

Last Two Weeks Bird Sightings:-
These can be found on the Eremaea eBird site. 29th June - 5th July and 6th - 12th July

The first week has 95 sightings and the second week 104.


Birding Highlights:-
McDougall Road lagoons produced a few waterbirds; Wandering Whistling-Duck, Pacific Black Duck, Grey Teal, Hardhead, Australasian Grebe, Little Black and Little-Pied Cormorant plus Intermediate and Great Egret plus Royal Spoonbill. Waterbirds flying over included White-necked and White-faced Heron along with Australian Pelican. One of the best sightings for the week was a Great-billed Heron along Bushy Creek at the Platypus viewing area seen mid-morning whilst a group was on a morning walk. There are some Great-billed Heron nesting along Rifle Creek which is where Bushy Creek flows into. We usually get a few sightings from this time of year through to October/November. Two immature Black-shouldered Kite were in the area and must have nested nearby. A Wedge-tailed Eagle was seen both weeks and must have been drawn in by the large number of road kills we are experiencing at the moment. Our two regular White-bellied Sea-Eagles have been getting excited and are calling a lot and flying around as well as being seen perched together in a dead tree. A Red-necked Crake was heard once but again not seen unlike a Buff-banded Rail which was seen near the Mt. Kooyong Nursing Home. 
 
Buff-banded Rail

The only sighting of Topknot Pigeon was made by our neighbouring bird guide Carol Iles when she saw ten flying over Mt. Kooyong Road and the Lodge. There has been a shortage of this species so far this year. Fan-tailed Cuckoo was around for the first week calling but not heard or seen during the second week. Nightbirds seen have been two Barn Owl who have at least two young in a nest, two Barking Owl who were being chased off by a Spangled Drongo one evening and three Papuan Frogmouth plus a Lesser Sooty Owl called about one o'clock but has not been seen. Little Kingfisher was another highlight over the two weeks when it made at least two visits to the Crake Pool on the edge of the orchard. Since we have managed to get into the orchard to mow the grass, now that it has dried out, a Noisy Pitta has said thank you very much! It has been out everyday hopping around the orchard foraging for everyone to see and photograph. One morning we stood in the orchard and watched the pitta foraging with a Grey-headed Robin on the ground whilst a Spotted Catbird and adult female Victoria's Riflebird were foraging on the fruit of a Spondias. How good was that? 

Spotted Catbird

Fourteen species of honeyeater were seen with three Black-chinned Honeyeater (Golden-backed form) seen on the 8th during a morning walk being the highlight. Macleay's Honeyeater have not been coming to the feeder so often since a South American Sapote tree in our orchard has started to flower and attract them. 
 
Macleay's Honeyeater

Large-billed Scrubwren have been involved in a few feeding party's in the rainforest which have also included Little (Rufous) Shrike-thrush, Grey Whistler, Rufous Fantail and Spectacled Monarch. 
 
Large-billed Scrubwren

At least two Bower's Shrike-thrush were foraging high in the rainforest on the edge of the orchard one morning. This one is a female, note bi-colour bill as mentioned in our blog of a few weeks ago. Not a particularly good image but the bird would not come down, however it does show the bill.

 

Bower's Shrike-thrush

Their  are still a few Spangled Drongo around, one who we think always comes back to our feeder each year, hard to be sure as they all look the same!

Spangled Drongo

Lemon-bellied Flycatcher are still around Geraghty Park adjacent to the Lodge with at least four seen and heard. A surprise whilst on a morning walk was to see two Chestnut-breasted Mannikin perched on the rail around the Geraghty Park oval with five Rainbow Bee-eater.

Further Afield:-

Blue-faced Parrot-finch have been seen irregularly near Abattoir Swamp with only one or two birds. Black-throated Finch have been further north along the Kondaparinga Road towards Hurricane Station. Mt. Lewis has been running hot and cold but is still turning up most of the Wet Tropic endemics including Tooth-billed Bowerbird, female Golden Bowerbird, Fernwren, Atherton Scrubwren, Mountain Thornbill, Bridled Honeyeater, Chowchilla, Bower's Shrike-thrush, Victoria;s Riflebird and Grey-headed Robin. Lower down the mountain Pied Monarch and Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo were seen. A Green-eyed Frog Litoria serrata was also seen by one of our guests, this is one species we don't get on the Lodge grounds.


Reptiles and Mammals:-
Fawn-footed Melomy's, Yellow-footed Antichinus and Bush Rat have been around the Lodge and at the feeder near reception along with two Northern Brown Bandicoot. Two Agile Wallaby were in the orchard one night in place of the Red-legged Pdemelon which had retreated to the rainforest. A Giant White-tailed Rat was seen on a night walk climbing up and down some vines beside Bushy Creek. A few more Northern Brown Bandicoot are being seen with at least four whilst we were on a nightwalk. A Striped Possum was feeding in the orchard along with a second one on the edge of the orchard chewing into a dead tree. The second photo (a male!) shows the elongated 4th finger they use to extract wood boring grubs out of dead wood after they have chewed a hole with their lower incisors; the only other animal species is known to find food like this is the Aye-aye from Madagascar.
 
Striped Possum
 
Striped Possum - showing elongated 4th finger

Frogs have retreated with the dry cooler weather with only Jungguy Frog, White-lipped Tree Frog, Desert (Red/Naked) Tree Frog, Dainty Green Tree Frog and Cane Toad. Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko have been found on our nightwalks in several places and our neighbours Carol and Andrew Iles had a large Carpet Python at their place which was one of the few snakes we have seen in a while.

 Insects:-
 This Australian House Centipede Allothereua maculata was found on the rainforest floor and although they are supposed to be common this is the first we have seen in the Lodge grounds. They have 15 pairs of legs and run extremely quickly, this one was put into a container to get a photo before being released.

Australian House Centipede

Thanks to our guests for reporting sightings and to Carol and Andrew Iles our roving bird guides.

For Sale:-
Canon EOS 7D body + EF 100-400mm Lens. All in excellent condition with original boxes, Instruction manual. Great bird photography outfit - have upgraded. Only $1600.00 plus P & P. Email interest

Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge Business and Property For Sale
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