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

Spiders:-
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



Insects:-

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.
http://www.eremaea.com/BirdlineRecentSightings.aspx?Birdline=5 . 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:-
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.

Fish:-
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.

 

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. 

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.


Insects:-
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

 

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. 

 

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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
Click here for more sale details