Sunday, 1 February 2015

1st February 2015 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge


Yes it is the last blog from Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge, number 264, before we hand over the Lodge after 9½ years. The new owners from the 4th February are Carol and Andrew Iles who have bought the business and property. They have had a long association with the Lodge working as bird guides in 1999-2003 and again for the last four years working with us and running their own guiding business as well as helping out around the Lodge. It is good to know that the Lodge is going into their capable hands to continue on for future guests to enjoy. They will probably be posting interesting sightings on Facebook so keep an eye out for that. Please note that the Lodge is closed in February and the camp ground and bunkhouse will also be closed in March.

Weather Report
The weather has been extremely unpredictable over the last few weeks, it has been very hot, showery with thunderstorms and plenty of sunny days. This is more like the weather we would expect in November as the “Wet Season” approaches. It has been up to 34ºC and down to the low-mid 20ºC with humidity going from 35 to 100%. We have managed to miss most of the storms but we have had a couple of good downpours of 67mm and 71mm with a total of 223.5mm for the last three weeks.

Last Three Weeks Bird Sightings:-
These can be found on the Eremaea eBird site.11th- 17th January ,18th- 24th January and 25th- 31st January The first week had species recorded and the second week .

Birding Highlights:-
The last three weeks have been hectic with the transfer of the Lodge to the new owners so birding has taken a back seat. However we did host the BirdLife North Queensland's annual Australia Day weekend which saw three days of intensive birding in and around the Lodge. At least one Australian Brush-Turkey was trying to scrape up a nesting mound outside the accommodation units. This one was getting away from the wetter ground perching on a vine in the rainforest .

Australian Brush-Turkey

Waterbirds have been scattered with the onset of the wetter weather with only a few species seen including a few Wandering Whistling-Duck, Pacific Black-Duck, Grey Teal and Hardhead. One week saw a few Little Black and Pied Cormorant visit along with a single Australasian Darter. Others to appear briefly were Intermediate and Great Egret, a White-faced Heron, a Glossy Ibis and several Australian White Ibis. Raptors were also light with only Black and Whistling Kite, White-bellied Sea-Eagle and a single sighting of a Pacific Baza. Once again the pair of Red-necked Crake have been putting on a show for most of our guests both in the evening and morning at the Crake Pool. Pale-vented Bush-hen have also been showing around the roadsides and cane paddocks but patience is required to see them. Superb Fruit-Dove have been calling with good numbers around the Lodge and a pair of Torresian Imperial Pigeon were found nesting. Lesser Sooty Owl has been coming around once or twice a week and was seen one night flying around the Lodge hawking for insects. We have been hearing our one Papuan Frogmouth calling during the night and occasionally seeing it roosting in our orchard. Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher have been going in and out of their nests so we presume they are sitting on eggs. One pair near our cookshed have been performing well for our guests who have been able to relax in a chair and watch at a distance. Could not help but put another photo of these special birds into our last blog! 

Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher

Other good birds around include Noisy Pitta, Yellow-breasted Boatbill, Barred Cuckoo-shrike, Pied Monarch and nesting Olive-backed Sunbird.

Yellow-breasted Boatbill - male

Further Afield:-
Mt. Lewis is still accessible, but there is always the chance of a tree coming down on the road at this time of year. Blue-faced Parrot-Finch are being seen, but they are still in low numbers and elusive, most of the “Wet Tropic” endemics have been seen over the last few weeks. One surprise over the Australia day weekend was a Rose-crowned Fruit Dove calling not far from Abattoir Swamp, this is usually a bird of the coastal areas and offshore islands with very few sightings in our region. There has been large flocks of Pacific Swift (Fork-tailed) in the Julatten - Mt Molloy area, these have been reported on Eremaea e-Bird.

Reptiles and Mammals:-
28 mammals and reptiles were reported for the last three weeks including Green Ringtail Possum, Platypus, Boyd's Forest Dragon, Lace Monitor and Carpet Python. Frogs were vocal when the rain was coming down with nine species recorded.

Northern Sedge Frog

Dainty Green Tree Frog

 Had to put in an image of our favourite frog at the Lodge!

White-lipped Tree Frog

The rain also triggered the termites to swarm out of some nests, the flying ones descended on us in their thousands dropping wings everywhere. These ones were not coming out of one of the mounds but a log on the ground.

Termite sp.

Termite sp.

The wetter conditions certainly encouraged the fungi to pop up everywhere, here is a selection of some of them.

Unidentified fungus - complete with Wolf Spider

Unidentified fungus

Unidentified fungus

Unidentified fungus

Unidentified fungus

Unidentified fungus

Unidentified fungus

Unidentified fungus

Unidentified fungus

Unidentified fungus

Unidentified fungus

Unidentified fungus

Unidentified fungus

Unidentified fungus

Unidentified fungus

Finally we would like to thank all those people who have supported us during our time at the Lodge and those who followed our blog. We have had over a thousand guests staying each year for the last ten years with many regulars and have met some wonderful people. Thank you to Carol and Andrew for helping with the weekly sightings and also for taking on the Lodge to continue to offer a great wildlife experience for guests. We are retiring to our home in Julatten and look forward to some travel over the next few years.
Keith & Lindsay.

We have had many emails from guests over the years, but this one from a Japanese gentleman remains our favourite.

Thank you very much for your full attention shown to me. Three days flew like an arrow as every moment I experienced there was woderful. Thanks to your help, I am very happy to have taken nice photos, specially kingfisher. These photos goes with nightcap before falling into sleep, taking the place of bankbook of no more balance. Thanks again for your kindness.

The End.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

11th January 2015 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

11th January 2015 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

Weather Report
The last month has seen some good rains with plenty of sunny days, hot cool and humid with temperatures in the range from 21.2ºC minimum to a maximum on one day of a hot 35ºC but generally around 28-32ºC for top temperatures. Rainfall was 81.5mm.

Last Four Weeks Bird Sightings:-
These can be found on the Eremaea eBird site. 14th - 20th December 2014, 21st - 27th December 2014, 28th December 2014 - 3rd January 2015, and 4th - 10th January 2015 Species numbers were down due to a reduced effort over the Christmas/New Year period when we were very busy with guests.

Birding Highlights:-
Due to the rain managing to fill up a few low lying areas there was plenty of opportunities for waterfowl to spread out to the detriment of the local lagoons which were very quiet with only a few Magpie Goose, Pacific Black Duck, Grey Teal, a single Australasian Grebe, Great and Intermediate Egret, one Little Pied Cormorant, one Australasian Pelican plus a few Cattle Egret who disappeared before Christmas back to their breeding grounds. Raptors were also scarce as the local cane harvest wound down, the hoards of Black Kite left and only the odd one or two were left, the pair of local Whistling Kite stayed as did a couple of White-bellied Sea-Eagle. A single Grey Goshawk was seen one week being chased off by a few Sulphur-crested Cockatoo. Good news is that our pair of Red-necked Crake continue to be seen around the Lodge grounds, mainly at the Crake Pool in the orchard. There has been a big influx of Pale-vented Bush-hen this season with at least 7-8 pairs around the lodge area. Trying to see them is another matter as they rarely venture out from the grassy areas along Bushy Creek and the local roads.

Pale-vented Bush-hen

The odd Buff-banded Rail does make an appearance, usually alongside the cane fields or Bushy Creek. A White-browed Crake was seen in one of the McDougall Road Lagoons. The local pair of Bush Stone-curlew continue to look after their youngster (featured in the last blog), who is now almost as big as his parents as this updated photo shows, he is the one on the far right.

Bush Stone-Curlew

Plenty of pigeons and doves around with the usual Bar-shouldered Dove, Peaceful Dove, and Emerald Dove, these being the most common. Wompoo and Superb Fruit-Dove are around but hard to see and Torresian Imperial-Pigeon have mainly left with the occasional flock passing through. Brush Cuckoo have become noisy and displaying as the rain increases but the Australian Koel have become quiet along with the Channel-billed Cuckoo. Lesser Sooty Owl have only been heard occasionally as have Barking Owl, the Barn Owl are regularly around but not calling much at this time of year. We seem to be down to one Papuan Frogmouth in the Lodge grounds now that our pair failed with their nest attempt but another nearby nest, which was successful still have their youngster with them as this photo shows.

Papuan Frogmouth - female with immature

Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher have dug out their nest in the termite mounds but don't appear to be sitting yet. One pair was seen mating a few days ago so it should not be long until they lay, they are about a month behind their usual breeding period due to the dry weather we have been having. Yes another Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher photo! You can't help taking photos of them as they are so photogenic.

Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher

Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo were seen flying over at the end of December which is the normal pattern each year, they are usually in the area until about the end of February. It looks like we only have one pair of Noisy Pitta this year instead of the normal two pairs as only two have been seen at a time. Hopefully they are nesting now. Yellow-breasted Boatbill are in full song and Pied Monarch have also started to call again. A few Barred Cuckoo-shrike and Cicadabird are around and calling. Australasian Figbird have been nesting as have Willie Wagtail. This one was in our orchard sitting on its minimalist nest.

Willie Wagtail

Still no sign of Black-faced Monarch nesting but Spectacled Monarch have had a few nests around the Lodge. Metallic Starling are still attending nests and into their second breeding cycle along with adding more nesting material to the communal nests. A couple of Double-barred Finch were seen by our neighbours Carol and Andrew Iles (bird guides), these are uncommon around the Lodge with one or two sightings a year. They are more common around Mt. Molloy. Chestnut-breasted Mannikin have been seen carrying nesting material as well as displaying as this one is doing.

Chestnut-breasted Mannikin

Further Afield:-
Most of the sightings from further afield are from Mt. Lewis where all the 13 “Wet Tropic” endemics have been seen over the last month. A few Lesser Sooty Owl have been seen and a possible Masked Owl was heard. Male Golden Bowerbird have been seen but are not easy to find. The other endemics, Fernwren, Atherton Scrubwren, Mountain Thornbill, Macleay's Honeyeater, Bridled Honeyeater, Grey-headed Robin, Chowchilla, Bower's Shrike-thrush, Pied Monarch and Tooth-billed Bowerbird have been reasonably easy to find. Blue-faced Parrot-Finch have been scarce with up to four birds seen at any one time around the 10km clearing on Mt. Lewis. Tinaburra Peninsula, near Yungaburra on the Atherton Tableland has had an influx of Red-rumped Swallow with up to 38 seen by Alan Gillanders from Alan's Wildlife Tours, Also in the same area at Harper Road, Lake Tinaroo there was a Ruff.

Reptiles and Mammals:-
Green Tree Snake have been active with three seen in one week eating White-lipped Tree Frog. One 3.5m Australian Scrub Python was seen coiled up on the edge of the orchard, whilst we were on a night walk, before it moved off into the rainforest. The wetter weather got the frogs going with Jungguy Frog, White-lipped Tree Frog, Northern Dwarf Tree Frog, Desert Tree Frog, Dainty Green Tree Frog, and Cogger's Frog seen plus Green Tree Frog and Roth's (Laughing) Tree Fog heard. 

Jungguy Frog - male in breeding colours

Cogger's Frog

A few Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko were seen but they are difficult to find at this time of year. Boyd's Forest Dragon and Easter Water Dragon have been easier to find. Three Platypus were seen in Bushy Creek, two adults and a juvenile which was great. Also seen in Bushy Creek was a Water Rat, which have not been seen lately. Both Green Ringtail and Striped Possum have been seen but again they have been difficult to find. Fawn-footed Melomys and Yellow-footed Antechinus have been around, the antechinus coming to take banana from the reception area feeder. Northern Broad-nosed Bat have been roosting under our neighbours house which is where this one was found.

Northern Broad-nosed Bat

Quite a few spiders around including many Wolf Spiders which appear to all be the same species (over 150 species in Australia). These two pictures show the whole spider and a close up of the head and body showing the eyes in a 4-2-2 configuration (sounds like a soccer match!). 

Wolf Spider

Wolf Spider - Head and body

This jumping spider was no bigger than a 5c piece and shows the amazing patterning in such a small creature. It is possibly Jacksonoides queenslandicus, thanks to Robert Whyte for the information.

Jumping Spider

Jumping Spider - head


These two insects were around the lodge buildings. Thanks to David Renz for the Robberfly ID.

Robberfly, family Asilidae

Jewel Bug (?)

Sunday, 14 December 2014

14th December Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

14th December 2014 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

Weather Report
At last some rain to report, a big storm dumped 61mm on one day plus a further 16mm on 4 days. A few more storms have been in the area but seemed to miss us. Humidity was up to 95% with lots of sunshine and temperatures reached 33ºc on one day but generally lower with the cloud cover and passing storms.

Last Two Weeks Bird Sightings:-
These can be found on the Eremaea eBird site. 30th November - 6th December and 7th- 13th December The first week had 107 species recorded  and the second week 99.

Birding Highlights:-
A first for our 1.5km reporting area was a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper reported by Carol Iles our roaming bird guide. Carol saw it in one of the McDougall Road lagoons. The McDougall Road lagoons are on private properties and viewed from the road, they have had quite a few good waterbirds on them over the past two weeks. These were, 38 Magpie Goose, 8 Wandering Whistling-Duck, Pacific Black Duck, Grey Teal, 2 Australasian Grebe, Little Black and Pied Cormorant, Australasian Darter, 2 Australian Pelican, Great, Intermediate and Cattle Egret, 1 White-faced Heron, 1 Glossy Ibis, Australian White Ibis, Royal Spoonbill, 1 White-browed Crake and 1 Comb-crested Jacana. Good selection of waterbirds. A few more raptors have been around these past two weeks with Spotted Harrier, Collared Sparrow Hawk, Black and Whistling Kite plus 2 White-bellied Sea-Eagle. Red-necked Crake are continuing to appear at the Crake Pool in the afternoon, usually between 5.30 and 6.30, where It has been bathing. We say it as we have only seen one at a time. Pale-vented Bush-hen has only been heard over the last week a few times and that was in the distance down stream from the Lodge along Bushy Creek. One pair of Bush Stone-curlew have one off spring and have been keeping quiet over the last month. 

Bush Stone-curlew - adult and juvenile
At least six Wompoo Fruit-Dove have been around as has a similar number of Superb Fruit-Dove but they are much more difficult to see than the wompoo. 

Superb Fruit-Dove - male

Topknot Pigeon have disappeared over the last week and the numbers of Pied Imperial-Pigeon have also dropped. Brush Cuckoo are in full song, triggered by the oncoming rain showers and both the Australian Koel and Pheasant Coucal have been calling.

Lesser Sooty Owl have again been around but not every night but when they have been here they are calling and showing well. There is a pair which hopefully will stay around and breed in the area next year. Also Barn Owl and Barking Owl have been heard and seen. Our pair of Papuan Frogmouth who have been sitting on a nest since 10th October have abandoned it about a week ago with not sign of any egg having been hatched. It is the first time that this pair have tried to nest in the Lodge grounds so maybe inexperienced, certainly judging by their unconventional nest which had some very large branches in it. Normally their nests are made of not many small twigs, similar to a pigeons nest. The good news is that another pair in the area now have a quite sizable chick. They started sitting on the 4th October, incubation time is 40 days and the time up to the 14th December must make the chick about 25 days old. Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher have started to dig out their nests in the termite mounds on the rainforest floor and have been showing well, perching for the photographers. We have not checked out all the 40+ termite mounds on the property yet but at least 4 mounds have been dug. Last year we had 8 pairs nesting, hopefully we have at least this number this year. 

Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher

Now that the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot have finished nesting they have become hard to see with only a few observed flying over. At least one pair of Noisy Pitta are in the Lodge grounds and are being seen usually early morning. One bird was seen carrying nesting material. Lovely Fairy-wren visited our neighbours bird bath one day, lucky them. 13 species of honeyeater were recorded with a Helmeted Friarbird being the most unusual. Brown-backed Honeyeater were seen nesting in Geraghty Park. Yellow-breasted Boatbill and Pied Monarch have been calling and seen but the monarch has been proving more elusive than the boatbill. Barred Cuckoo-shrike have been calling and a few have been nest building. Common Cicadabird have also been vocal and Australasian Figbird have been sitting in nests. No sightings of Black-faced Monarch nests yet but they have been calling a lot, probably waiting for more rain to fall. Pale-yellow Robin are still nesting and posing for photographs. This one was taken to see how good the Canon EOS 7D MKII is at handling high ISO and was taken at 3200 ISO, not to bad for noise at this size and crop. It is certainly way ahead of the original 7D which showed lots of noise about 800 -1000 ISO.

Pale-yellow Robin

Metallic Starling are also continuing to add to their colonial nests with more adults and juvenile birds joining in at their colony. Olive-backed Sunbird are also nesting, hope this nest is successful after their last one failed.

Further Afield:-
A very strange sighting of an Australian Brush-turkey with a purple collar was had on Mt. Lewis, the report is on the Eremaea Birds site  with a very fuzzy image. . It is possibly the Cape York race 'purpureicollis' which only occur as far south as Shiptons Flat (just south of Cooktown). There is some conjecture as to how this bird arrived this far south, it has been suggested that it was released here or walked across the mountain ranges as they are not good fliers. I guess we will never know. Blue-faced Parrot-Finch is on most guests wants list at this time of year and usually they are not too much of a problem, however, this year has been very dry and grass growth has been retarded with no seeding as yet. Mt. Lewis is the favourite place to look but so far this season the little finches have been hard to find. Four is the most seen at any one time but 1-2 has been the normal when they are present. There has been few sightings over the last month with only one seen occasionally except on the 13th December when two were seen early in the morning (before 7.00am) at the 10km clearing on Mt. Lewis. Hopefully the start of some rain will encourage the grasses to grow and start seeding. Also at the 10km clearing a pair of Barred Cuckoo-shrike were building a nest. Spotted Whistling-Duck have been in the news for our region lately with sightings at Wongaling Beach, near Mission Beach south of Cairns, Keatings Lagoon near Cooktown, 10 at Cattana Wetlands in Cairns and at least 6 reported by Murray Hunt, who runs Daintree Boatman Nature Tours, at a lagoon alongside the Daintree River. 

Spotted Whistling-Duck

A Wedge-tailed Eagle was seen at Abattoir Swamp, an uncommon visitor.

Reptiles and Mammals:-
A Short-beaked Echidna was seen in the Lodge grounds one night, the first for about six months. They have not been seen much this year with only 3-4 sightings. Frogs have been out enjoying the humid conditions with Jungguy Frog, White-lipped Tree Frog, Northern Dwarf Tree Frog Roth's (Laughing)Tree Frog, Desert (Red or Naked)Tree Frog, Dainty Green Tree Frog and Cogger's Frog all seen plus Green Tree Frog heard. Our Platypus have been performing in Bushy Creek even when the level rose and it became muddy for a while after the 61mm of rain we had. An Australian Scrub Python was seen a couple of times but no other snakes were seen.

Spiders seem to like the warmer weather with many species out and about. Plenty of Wolf Spider and Huntsman, including Grey Huntsman and this unidentified huntsman which was on the ceiling near our kitchen one night, another one of this species was spotlighted on a log beside Bushy Creek whilst we were on a night walk.

Huntsman sp.

Huntsman sp. - showing two rows of four eyes

Also seen was a Giant Silverback, one of the trap door spiders which has previously featured in our blog.

Bushy Creek has many fish species beside the Platypus in it, this Coal Grunter is just one of them.

Coal Grunter

Abattoir Swamp update:-
Many of you would have visited Abattoir Swamp over the last few years and found the boardwalk to the hide in a state of disrepair. It got to the stage where it was closed off due to safety concerns. We sent a four page submission to our local council asking them to repair it but they said they had insufficient funds to do the remedial work. So we asked our local Julatten and Mt. Molloy Association of Residents and Ratepayers (JAMARR) to look into it. The outcome was that the council approved JAMARR to repair the bridge using volunteers. This has now been done and is awaiting the council engineers to sign off on it and re-open it. Thanks to all those involved in repairing this important part of the birding communities infrastructure in our area.

Abattoir Swamp Hide and Boardwalk

This will be the last blog for 2014. We would like to wish everyone a great and safe Christmas and New Year. Also thanks to the many wonderful guests we have had over the past year and for all the positive comments about the blog - Keith & Lindsay.


Sunday, 30 November 2014

30th November 2014 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

Weather Report
Plenty of threatening clouds but only 1mm of rain managed to find our rain gauge. Humidity dropped down to 43% and up to 95% with lots of sunshine and temperatures reaching 31.3ºc but generally lower with the cloud cover.

Last Two Weeks Bird Sightings:-
These can be found on the Eremaea eBird site. 16th – 22nd November and 23rd - 29th November The first week had 106 species recorded and the second week 107.

Birding Highlights:-
The main contingent of Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher arrived overnight on the 20th of November (one had arrived on 31st October) which is two days after the previous late arrival record. Since then they have been pairing up and calling a lot as they sort out their territories. Most guests have been seeing them. A Pale-vented Bush-hen turned up in our neighbours garden on 23rd November, this photo is from earlier this year of an adult feeding one of its six chicks. Hope they breed around here again this season.

Pale-vented Bush-hen - Adult and chick

A big surprise was six Brolga flying from the coast in a westerly direction over the Lodge grounds on the 26th November. Not sure where they would have come from but this is only the second record we have had in 9½ years. A Glossy Ibis turned up at one of the McDougall Road lagoons at the end of the second week, this is a rare bird in our immediate area. Other waterbirds have been around in small numbers, Magpie Goose, Wandering Whistling-Duck, Green Pygmy-goose, Grey Teal were seen and a Black Bittern was heard. An adult Nankeen Night Heron was along Bushy Creek one morning whilst we were conducting a morning walk. Raptors have been scarce with only Black, Whistling and Brahminy Kite plus White-bellied Sea-Eagle seen over the last two weeks. Red-necked Crake has been appearing at the Crake Pool most late evenings and once at 8.00am. One spent 45 minutes one evening foraging around the pool. One of the McDougall Lagoons had a Comb-crested Jacana swimming around which was quite unusual as they are mainly seen walking over the water lilies. Pigeons and doves have once again been showing well with Brown Cuckoo-Dove, Emerald, Peaceful and Bar-shouldered Dove, Wompoo and Superb Fruit-Dove, Torresian Imperial-Pigeon and Topknot Pigeon all seen. Little Bronze-Cuckoo have again been around in a small flock of 6-8 birds. All have been of the race gouldi, this one was foraging in the orchard.

Little Bronze-Cuckoo - male

Other cuckoos that have been seen were Australian Koel, Channel-billed Cuckoo and Pheasant Coucal. Night birds have been a bit elusive with Lesser Sooty, Barn, and Barking Owl seen plus Australian Owlet-nightjar heard. Also seen was Papuan Frogmouth who were either roosting in our orchard or sitting on their nest. This one was sitting on a recently hatched chick.

Papuan Frogmouth - male

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo have also been nesting with two large chicks seen peering out of a nest hollow. Double-eyed Fig-Parrot have also been nesting and as reported in the last blog feeding young. We thought the young had fledged but after not seeing the adults at the nest for 1½ weeks they were back and little voices were heard from inside the nest. Noisy Pitta have continued to be noisy but have retreated into the rainforest within the last few days which may mean they are going to nest. Lovely Fairy-wren were heard on the edge of the orchard but not seen but Red-backed Fairy-wren were seen on a fence along the highway near Geraghty Park. 13 honeyeater species were seen and one heard, 11 of these were seen in one red flowering Callistemon (Bottlebrush) whilst we were on a morning walk. The most impressive was a male Scarlet Honeyeater who came down out of the tall trees to give everyone fantastic views. Blue-faced Honeyeater were seen feeding juveniles, the males blue face is really bright in breeding condition.

Blue-faced Honeyeater

Also a Helmeted Friarbird was heard for one day, this species does not usually come to our western side of the Great Dividing Range. Several pairs of Yellow-breasted Boatbill have been calling and seen. One pair of White-breasted Woodswallow were seen building a nest and a White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike was seen sitting in a nest. Both Barred Cuckoo-shrike and Common Cicadabird have been calling and seen. A female Australasian Figbird was seen sitting in a nest in a Queensland Blue Gum tree. Torresian Crow were seen chasing a Channel-billed Cuckoo, which may have left their nest unattended for the female channel-billed to lay her eggs in it. A Pale-yellow Robin was another bird seen sitting on a nest. These nesting birds must think the rain is coming along with an influx of insects as at the moment insects are very few and far between. Metallic Starling are also powering ahead with their nests and their colony is looking a bit better with at least 80-100 birds present.

Further Afield:-
A Baillon’s Crake was seen along the edge of the bund wall at Lake Mitchell by Ota Yu, one of the local Japanese birdguides. Also at Lake Mitchell, Carol Iles (our local bird guide) reported six Cotton Pygmy-goose, which are becoming a difficult species to find in our area. Several Yellow Wagtail were reported from Tinnaburra waters boatramp area on Tinaroo Dam, near Yungaburra. Mt. Lewis was a good as ever with most endemics being seen again, also a Shining Bronze-Cuckoo was reported by several people being fed by a Mountain Thornbill at the clearing 10km up the road. One Blue-faced Parrot-Finch was seen at the end of the 2nd week. Further north of Mt. Carbine Black-throated Finch and Squatter Pigeon were along the Kondaparinga Road to Hurricane Station. Maryfarms between Mt. Carbine and Mount Molloy had Banded and Rufous-throated Honeyeater (uncommon) as well as Australian Bustard who are still displaying.

Reptiles and Mammals:-
Two Australian Scrub Python were seen whilst on a night walk, the first for several weeks. A Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko was out during the day behind the cookshed, which is unusual. This one has an original tail.

Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko

Frogs have been anticipating rain and calling a lot, those seen were Jungguy Frog, White-lipped Tree Frog, Northern Dwarf Tree Frog, Dessert Tree Frog, Dainty Green Tree Frog and Cogger's Frog. Also Cane Toad was seen and Roth's (Laughing) Tree frog was heard. A Striped Possum was seen on a night walk high up feeding on the flowers of a Black Bean (Castanospermum australe) tree, this was a first for nearly three weeks. Northern Broad-nosed Bat decided to invade our bedroom with three finding there way past the fly screens. After a midnight chase we managed to get two out, the third was found in the morning and removed. Also in the office was our local Yellow-footed Antechinus who pays regular visits but just has a look around and leaves. Fawn-footed Melomys (small rodent) was seen foraging in a Sugar Apple tree in the orchard one night. At least four Red-legged Pademelon are around the Lodge grounds as well as several Agile Wallaby.

A few Longicorn Beetle have been appearing, this one was on the wall of the units before being re-located to the rainforest.

Longicorn Beetle sp.

A few Katydid have also been seen.

Wader ID:-
The mystery wader from the last blog is a Pectoral Sandpiper. This species differs from the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper with it's more upright stance showing a longer neck, slightly downcurved bill which is slightly longer than the head. Its breast pattern is a distinctly demarcated from the whiter lower breast , weaker supercillium, legs are yellowish, and the bill is olive with a darker tip, whiter more distinct eyering and greyer crown. These are some of the distinguishing features.
Photo, Doug Herrington

Pectoral Sandpiper