Sunday, October 19, 2014

19th October 2014 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

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

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

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


Double-eyed Fig-Parrot - female at nest


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

Great Bowerbird Bower

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


Lemon-bellied Flycatcher - on nest

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

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

Eclipse Of The Moon


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

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


Grey Goshawk with Eastern Water Dragon


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


Papuan Frogmouth - female on nest


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

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


Oriental Plover- broken wing

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

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


Green Tree Snake

Green Tree Snake
 

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

 

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

 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

5th October 2014 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

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

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

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

Morning and Evening Guided Walks:-

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

 


Great Bowerbird - at his bower

 

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

 

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

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

 

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


Emerald Dove - juvenile

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

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

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

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

 
Graceful Honeyeater Nest


Mistletoebird Nest - female still building


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

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

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


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

Click Beetle sp. - right side up


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


Bee sp. (?)

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



Common Aeroplane (White-banded Plane)

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

Giant Silverback spider
 
Giant Silverback spider

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

 

 


Northern Pencil Orchid

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Kingfisher Birdwatchers Lodge 21st September Report

21st 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 again, just wall to wall sunshine, cool temperatures down to 11.1ºC and much warmer than previous months, up to 27.3ºC, great conditions. Temperatures in the morning have been about 4ºC below the average for this time of year.

Last Two Weeks Bird Sightings:-
These can be found on the Eremaea eBird site. 7th - 13th September and 14th- 20th September The first week had 105 species recorded and the second week 103.

Morning and Evening Guided Walks:-

Morning walks produced between 44 and 55 species, some of the highlights were Pacific Baza foraging in the camp ground, two Blue-winged Kookaburra, Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, Noisy Pitta in the orchard hopping around us for over 10 minutes whilst we were watching a pair of roosting Papuan Frogmouth, Great Bowerbird performing at its bower, a pair of Yellow-faced Honeyeater on a nest, a male Fairy Gerygone foraging on the ground (usually high up in the rainforest) and a pair of Pale Yellow Robin attending a nest. Also a Platypus was seen twice on one morning walk at two different locations and once on a night walk. 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.

Evening walk highlights were Barn Owl, Papuan Frogmouth, Red-legged Pademelon, Striped Possum, Platypus, four different frog species, despite the dry weather, Boyd's Forest Dragon which had re-appeared with the warmer weather, Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko and two Australian Scrub Python. A surprise one night was a roosting Pacific Baza high up in a rainforest tree, a first for a night walk.

Other Birding Highlights:-

An immature Orange-footed Scrubfowl has been around the edge of the orchard foraging in the rainforest and trying to get out of the way of the adults who harass it at every opportunity. Here it is intently looking for food as it scratches away.

 

Orange-footed Scrubfowl

 

Red-necked Crake have been regularly coming to the Crake Pool late evenings with one or two seen, one was also seen in the garden in front of the units. A Comb-crested Jacana was in one of the McDougall Road lagoons, this was a first for many months. A pair of Wompoo Fruit-Dove were in the trees around the Crake Pool on the edge of the orchard and a pair of Torresian Imperial-Pigeon flew over Geraghty Park. The Torresian Imperial-Pigeon are recent arrivals to our part of the inland only having been around for the last four years. Small flocks of Topknot Pigeon are still flying over, nine being the most at any one time. Channel-billed Cuckoo have been scarce with only one seen over the last two weeks and several other calling. Papuan Frogmouth have been roosting in the area including these three.

 

Papuan Frogmouth

 

Again Australian Owlet-nightjar has been heard, but not seen, very frustrating. Rainbow Lorikeet have been seen nesting as have Double-eyed Fig-Parrot. Bridled Honeyeater have moved into the area and two uncommon Black-chinned Honeyeater were seen in Geraghty Park. The Blue-faced Honeyeater which occurs around the Lodge is in a zone integration between the nominate race Entomyon cyanotis cyanotis from eastern Australia and Entomyon cyanotis griseigularis, the sub-species from Cape York. The one pictured here is an immature bird foraging on a Grevillea in a neighbours garden adjacent to Geraghty Park.

 

Blue-faced Honeyeater - immature

Yellow-breasted Boatbill have been active and calling as well as showing well. A few Barred Cuckoo-shrike are around the lodge grounds, but proving difficult to see. Northern Fantail have also returned to the fringes of the Lodge grounds and have been heard calling well. Pied Monarch are also around,


Pied Monarch

as is at least one immature male Victoria's Riflebird. 
 
Victoria's Riflebird - immature male

 

Metallic Starling are slowly making nests, but quite a few have fallen to the ground which is not good for their breeding season. Male Mistletoebird have been calling and showing well, but no sign of nesting yet.


Further Afield:-
An unconfirmed report of vagrant Northern Pintail at Hasties Swamp, only seen once and not relocated again despite several visits to look for them. More information can be found on Eremaea Birds website. Mt. Lewis continues to be the place to see the “Wet Tropic” endemics with all but the Lesser Sooty Owl seen over the last two weeks, even a couple of male Golden Bowerbird were found by our roving bird guides Carol and Andrew Iles, can't beat local knowledge! Carol also reported Spotted Harrier, Dusky Moorhen, Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo, Blue-faced Parrot-Finch, White-eared Monarch and the first reported Black-faced Monarch for the season around the Julatten area plus she had up to eight Australian Pratincole along West Maryfarms Road between Mt. Molloy and Mt. Carbine off the Peninsula Road. The first Large-tailed Nightjar for the season was heard calling in Julatten (by us) on the 21st September, at the same time a Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo was calling! Flowering Grass Tree spikes in Julatten have been attracting many honeyeaters including, Brown, Scarlet and Dusky. This Dusky was on a flower spike and the Brown Honeyeater was waiting his turn.

Dusky Honeyeater

Brown Honeyeater
Rufous Owl is still being reported along the Cairns Esplanade.



Barn Owl Display, Julatten, Far North Queensland

Geraghty Park, Julatten is home to two pairs of Barn Owl which have bred here every year since at least 1995. The nests of these two pairs and a third pair across the adjacent Rex Highway are within 300m of each other. Most years these three pairs have had three young each. In 2014 the two pairs in Geraghty Park had a brood of three and the third nest had four, all of which left their nests and the area by the end of August. On the 3rd September 2014 a visit to one nest site in Geraghty Park was rewarded by a very unusual display by the adult male towards the adult female of the pair. The male was first seen with just its head peering out of a hollow in a Queensland Blue Gum Eucalyptus tereticornis which is its daytime roost/nest tree. After about 5 minutes the adult female appeared at a different tree hollow approximately 2m below the one the male was in, here it perched. Shortly after this the male moved out of its hollow onto an adjacent branch where it was seen to adopt a hunched posture looking down at the female, it then outstretched its wings and began crouching down and raising itself several times before rocking from side to side (wing waving) with its tail raised. It continued this display for approximately 1 minute. The female meanwhile was looking away and taking no notice of the male. The male then folded its wings but continued in the hunched position looking down for approximately 30 seconds before again outstretching its wings and beginning the rocking motion again, this time the female looked up and watched the display. The male continued for another minute, at which time the female flew to a nearby branch. The male continued to stay in a hunched position looking down until it flew to join the female after 2 minutes. Both birds were perched next to each other facing different directions for about three minutes before the male turned around. Both birds then moved close to each other and started allopreening for at least two minutes. This behaviour of allopreening often precedes mating which takes place in the nest (Debus 2009). During the whole period of the display both birds remained silent. We then considered that the birds had been disturbed enough by our presence and we left. It was not know whether the birds did return to the nest to mate. A short video of part of the display taken by Mr. Ota Yu, Japanese tour guide based in Cairns can be found on You Tube . The background noise is excited Japanese taking plenty of photos!
Stephen Debus says that this behaviour has been recorded in Masked Owl but as far as he is aware not in Barn Owl. Thanks for your input Stephen.
The following night we had another look at what the owls were doing but they did not put on a display like they did the previous night. The adult male and female came out of their daytime roost to perch on the branches.

 

Barn Owl - male on right female on left

 

After they sat on the branch for a while the male started to outstretch his wings and did a brief wing waving display. The female was not interested as you can see!

 
Barn Owl - male on right female on left

 

Both birds flew to different perches and the female started to take notice of the male but he had given up by now and was just perching quietly.
 

Barn Owl


Reptiles and Mammals:- 
Fawn-footed Melomys and Bush Rat have been coming to the reception area feeder at night along with up to six Northern Brown Bandicoot which is the most we have seen all year. A Yellow-footed Antichinus was heard scratching in a dead tree before it came out to run up and down the outside and disappear into the tree before coming out of a different hole, this activity continued for well over five minutes. Here it is seen peering out of one of the holes.

Yellow-footed Antichinus

 

At least two Platypus have been showing well in Bushy Creek in the late evening and early morning  much to the delight of our guests. One of our guests observed an Eastern Water Dragon along Bushy Creek catch a Little Shrike-thrush and eat it; we've seen them raiding nests, but not take an adult bird. The Australian Scrub Python we have living in a large log can often be seen coiled up inside it, this is what you see.


Australian Scrub Python

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, 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.