Sunday, July 13, 2014

13th July 2014 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

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

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

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

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

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

Spotted Catbird

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

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

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


Bower's Shrike-thrush

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

Spangled Drongo

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

Further Afield:-

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

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

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

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

Australian House Centipede

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

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

Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge Business and Property For Sale
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Sunday, June 29, 2014

29th June 2014 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

Weather Report
The first week was rainy and overcast with 16.5mm of rain over 4 days, but by the end of the week it had improved with the second week being dry and sunny, fantastic weather! At last the Lodge was starting to dry out. Temperatures ranged from a low of 14.8ºC up to 23ºC, very pleasant, perfect birding weather.

Last Two Weeks Bird Sightings:-
The first week we recorded 98 species and the second week 101, these can be found on the Eremaea eBird site. 15th - 21st June and 22nd - 28th June

Birding Highlights:-
Wandering Whistling-Duck, Green Pygmy-goose, Pacific Black Duck, Australasian Grebe, Little Black and Little-Pied Cormorant and Great Egret were reported along McDougall Road in the lagoons. An Australian Pelican was flying over the Lodge one afternoon and a White-necked Heron was in a swampy patch of the adjacent cane paddock, this is an occasional visitor. Black-shouldered Kite, Swamp Harrier, Grey and Brown Goshawk, Black and Whistling Kite, White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Nankeen Kestrel and Brown Falcon were the raptors seen. Red-necked Crake were heard, but not seen. Brown Cuckoo-Dove have been calling and feeding on fruiting trees in the rainforest. Fan-tailed Cuckoo have been calling every day along with the Little (Gould's) Bronze-Cuckoo and our bird guide neighbours Carol and Andrew had a Shining Bronze-Cuckoo in their garden, this is a winter visitor. Barn Owl are calling, but not always seen as they have changed their normal routine due to the start of the breeding season. The pair of Barking Owls have been around most nights calling incessantly and waking everyone up! A Lesser Sooty Owl was heard giving a single call on one night and that was all for the two weeks. Again four Papuan Frogmouth have been seen, one was perched over the road to reception whilst on a night walk. Rainbow Bee-eater are still with us, but their numbers appear to be decreasing so they may be moving off. Sulphur-crested Cockatoo have whinging youngsters with them and must be driving the parents crazy as the go all day. Double-eyed Fig-Parrot have only been seen as fly overs and Red-wing Parrot were seen near the Julatten School, just in our 1.5km radius Lodge bird list area. Noisy Pitta is still being seen, usually in the orchard or adjacent rainforest, but are not easy. Spotted Catbird are still coming to the feeder and also seen feeding with Victoria's Riflebird on the fallen fruit of a Spondias tree in the orchard.

Victoria's Riflebird - immature male

14 species of honeyeater were seen over the two weeks, the highlight was a Helmeted Friarbird which normally are common along the coast and up onto the great divide so to see one this far inland was very unusual. Graceful Honeyeater have also been calling and feeding on rainforest flowers as the one below is doing. This bird is stretching itself to get to the nectar and in doing so it is distorting the yellow ear patch so it does not look like the field guides show. The shape of the ear patch is naturally variable in Yellow-spotted and Graceful and the Lewin's Honeyeater this area have an ear patch which is not quite the defined crescent shape of the southern birds, which leads to more confusion in identification. Best bet is to learn the calls before you visit this region. 

Graceful Honeyeater

Graceful Honeyeater - close up of head and ear patch

We had the first sighting for the year of a Yellow-throated Scrubwren (male) in the Lodge grounds on the 27th June. We usually get one or two birds coming off the higher mountains to visit us in the winter months which is good as they can cross the broken corridor between us and the mountain rainforest unlike some other species like Chowchilla. Yellow-breasted Boatbill have again been calling and showing well as have Pied Monarch.

Pied Monarch

A female Bower's Shrike-thrush has been around the Lodge grounds late in the second week, again this is a winter visitor from higher grounds. Female Bower's have a bone bi-colour bill unlike the adult male who have an all dark bill. At least one male Golden Whistler (another winter visitor) is still around the grounds and has been calling well. A Yellow Oriole has been lurking around in the Lodge grounds, whilst they are common on the coast they have only started to appear here in the last 3-4 years.

Yellow Oriole

Willie Wagtail are interesting and a common bird, but not at the Lodge all year around. Whilst they are reported to be resident in many areas of Australia they also migrate out of some parts of Australia. Amazing how little we know about the movements of such a common bird. 

Willie Wagtail

A Tawny Grassbird was around the nearby cane paddock, a species we have not seen since September 2013. Chestnut-breasted Mannikin were foraging around the edge of the adjacent cane paddock one morning along with the regular Red-browed Finch.

Further Afield:-
Black-breasted Buzzard was seen at the Mt. Carbine Cemetery, Collared Sparrowhawk and Satin Flycatcher were at McLeod River north of Mt. Carbine. Pacific Baza was at the Mowbray National Park in Julatten, thanks to Jan England for these sightings. Little Kingfisher are being seen on the Daintree River and Australian Praticole were found on the Atherton Tableland behind the Shalee Strawberry Farm on the Gillies Highway (Yungaburra to Atherton Road) at the junction of Marks Lane. A female Double-eyed Fig-Parrot stunned itself on a window of our house in Julatten and after it was calmed down it was put on a tree branch in the shade where it sat until it recovered and flew away. It was looking rather sad when this photo was taken.

Double-eyed Fig-Parrot - female
Thanks to Carol and Andrew Iles for their sightings contributions. If you need any bird guiding contact Carol and Andrew.

Reptiles and Mammals:-
Top of the list this week goes to the Tree Mouse Pogonomys sp.(previously known as Prehensile-tailed Rat) which was running around on the edge of the rainforest near the reception area one evening. Two other Pogonomys species occur in New Guinea but the Australian one is thought to be an unnamed species as no taxonomic study has shown a definite link with the other two species. The Australian species was first recorded in 1974 at Lake Eacham on the Atherton Tableland when a cat bought one into the Lake Eacham Teahouse. This one stopped in the same position for over 10 minutes whilst it was photographed contrary to published reports that it runs around in a confused manner back and forth along tree branches when spotlighted. 

Tree Mouse

Other mammals seen were Fawn-footed Melomys, Yellow-footed Antichinus, Red-legged Pademelon, Agile Wallaby, Eastern Horseshoe Bat, Northern Tube-nosed Bat, Bush Rat, Giant White-tailed Rat, Striped Possum, Long-nosed and Northern Brown Bandicoot plus Spectacled Flying Fox. Once again we found several Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko, several of which were showing different colour variations depending on the tree bark colour they were on, great camouflage

Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko

Frogs were good for the first week when it was wet but only a couple of species ventured out in the second week, we recorded seven species including Striped Marsh Frog, Jungguy Frog, Dainty Green Tree Frog and Cogger's Frog. No Boyd's Forest Dragon and only one snake, an Australian Scrub Python, over the two weeks which probably means they have gone into hibernation or are less active in the cooler weather.

This Bridal Veil fungi Phallus indusiatus popped up along the rainforest track to the orchard. It is pollinated by flies which are attracted to it by the smell, which is like rotting meat. The cap has a brown spore containing slime which is eaten by the flies who then disperse the spores. It is an edible fungus and is used in Chinese cooking as well as in medicines. If you want to find out more about this fungi follow this link.

Bridal Veil Fungi

New Books:-
Two new books were added to our shop this week, Finding Australian birds: a field guide to birding locations by Tim Dolby and Rohan Clarke. Had a quick browse through this book and it looks like the definitive guide to get you onto great birding locations and the birds you want to see. It is over 600 pages with plenty of maps. A bargain at $49.95.

The other book is A Guide To The Cockroaches of Australia by David Rentz who is well known to us as he lives nearby at Kuranda. This book describes comprehensively most of the 550 described species found in Australia, excellent descriptions, photos and maps. It is only when you see this field guide that you can appreciate the diversity of cockroaches in Australia, $49.95. 

Well done to Tim, Rohan and David for the work and dedication needed to bring such great books to us.

After months of roadworks along the Mt. Molloy to Mossman road near the Bushy Creek Bridge where we were delayed by traffic lights which took for ever to change, it has been finished. This is what it looks like now. Not sure about the speed limit!

Mt. Molloy to Mossman Road.

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

Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge Business and Property For Sale
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Sunday, June 15, 2014

15th June 2014 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

Weather Report
The first week was drizzle and overcast with 8.5mm of rain over 4 days, the other three days were overcast with misty rain which did not even register in the rain gauge. The second week was raining every day with a total of 107.5mm making it very wet and boggy underfoot. Not the sort of weather we expect at this time of year, luckily the sun did appear for a few hours at the end of the second week. So after five weeks of this drizzle and rain we have had enough!

Last Two Weeks Bird Sightings:-
These can be found on the Eremaea eBird site. 1st - 7th June and 8th - 14th June

Birding Highlights:-
Waterfowl have been scarce around the Lodge with only the usual Pacific Black Duck and a few Wandering Whistling-Duck plus a couple of Australasian Grebe. Carol Iles our resident neighbouring bird guide reported two Australian Pelican flying over McDougall Road, which is quite unusual. Other waterbirds included Great, Intermediate and Cattle Egret, White-faced Heron, Australian White and Straw-necked Ibis and Royal Spoonbill. A few raptors have been around in small numbers, those seen were Black-shouldered Kite, Brown Goshawk, Black and Whistling Kite, White-bellied Sea-Eagle and Brown Falcon. 

Black Kite

Cuckoos seen were Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Shining Bronze-Cuckoo which was the first around here for the year and Little (Gould's) Bronze-Cuckoo. Night birds seen were Barn Owl, Barking Owl and Papuan Frogmouth. Scaly-breasted Lorikeet numbers increased as the Queensland Blue Gum started to flower and a pair of Double-eyed Fig-Parrot were seen at a nest site, the female doing all the excavations in the tree branch. Spotted Catbird has been a regular at the banana feeder along with Lewin's, Yellow-spotted and Macleay's Honeyeater who have all been finding it hard to find food in the rainy conditions. Other interesting honeyeaters seen in the 14 species recorded were Bridled, Black-chinned and Noisy Friarbird. Large-billed Scrubwren are resident at the Lodge and can be found in small family groups foraging in the rainforests, often hopping up vines. This one was taking advantage of a fallen tree, which had a hollow filled with water in it, to have a bath. 

Large-billed Scrubwren

Yellow-breasted Boatbill have been calling and seen usually high up in the rainforest canopy with occasional sightings lower down. The only Black Butcherbird we saw was a brown immature bird in Geraghty Park foraging on the ground. A few Barred Cuckoo-shrike were around the first week but disappeared in the second, they are very nomadic. Australasian Figbird have been finding plenty to eat around the Lodge grounds with over 100 in the orchard one morning. Northern Fantail have joined the Rufous and Grey Fantails flitting around the Lodge in search of insects. Both Spectacled and Pied Monarch have been active, calling and foraging. A male Leaden Flycatcher seen in Geraghty Park was the only one seen over the two weeks, no sign of any females. The pair of female Victoria's Riflebird reported in the last blog are still getting around the Lodge together and also calling. Lemon-bellied Flycatcher have been foraging in Geraghty Park with three seen on one morning walk, they come and go quite regularly from our area. 

Lemon-bellied Flycatcher

Mistletoebird have been very active especially the males, we saw one consuming a mistletoe fruit in Geraghty Park, another foraging near the Lodge entrance and two in our neighbours garden. Australasian Pipit have been foraging around the very wet and soggy cane paddocks.

Further Afield:-
Several Lesser Sootyowl have been seen on Mt. Lewis over the past two weeks. Golden Bowerbird has also been seen here but only juveniles of females, no males sighted. Lake Mitchell between Mt. Molloy and Mareeba has been good for Cotton Pygmy-goose with a few sightings in amongst the Green Pygmy-goose. Squatter Pigeon have been seen in the township of Mt. Molloy, not far from the main street.

Reptiles and Mammals:-
We did manage a night walk on the only dry night of the past week which was well worth the effort. We saw Two Barn Owl, two Red-legged Pademelon, two Bush Rat, three Leaf-tailed Gecko, all in new locations, two Striped Possum – both heard, but only one seen, several Spectacled Flying-fox, Giant White-tailed Rat, five species of frog – Jungguy Frog, White-lipped Tree Frog, Desert (Red) Tree Frog, Dainty Green Tree Frog and Cogger's Frog. They liked the wet weather. 

Dainty Green Tree Frog

Other mammals seen included Fawn-footed Melomys and Agile Wallaby, other reptiles recorded included Boyd's Forest Dragon and Eastern Water Dragon.

One of our guests photographed this bat which we think is a Little Bentwing Bat but cannot be sure. The other common microbat around here is a Northern Broad-nosed Bat. Maybe there is someone more experience with bats has a better idea? If so please leave a comment.

Unknown Bat
Thanks to Carol and Andrew Iles for their sightings contributions. If you need any bird guiding contact Carol and Andrew.

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

Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge Business and Property For Sale
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Sunday, June 1, 2014

1st June 2014 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

Weather Report
Mixed weather over the last two weeks, mainly drizzle with a few sunny days but temperatures were kept low only getting up to 24ºC. The first week we had 29mm of rain and the second week some rain fell with 10mm on four rainy days, again as in the previous two weeks just enough to be annoying.

Last Two Weeks Bird Sightings:-
The first week had 84 species and second week 94 species.
Species lists can be found on the Eremaea eBird site.  18th - 24th May and 25th - 31st May

Birding Highlights:-
A single Australasian Grebe was along McDougall Road, a first for two months. Also along here were over 300 Cattle Egret who roost in the trees around the lagoon. A Black-breasted Buzzard was seen by one of our guests over Geraghty Park, this was the second time in a few weeks one has been seen in the area. Red-necked Crake have only been heard and not seen, the area they were frequenting has now dried up and they have gone further into the rainforest. Fan-tailed Cuckoo arrived back from southern parts of Australia on 27th May with at least three birds calling around the Lodge. Lesser Sooty Owl was heard but not seen, probably due to the pair of Barking Owl who were around the Lodge grounds every night keeping it away. One Barn Owl was seen in a nest tree which may mean they are getting ready to breed again as it is the right time of year. At least four Papuan Frogmouth have been seen in the area and an Australian Owlet-nightjar heard calling one night. Double-eyed Fig-Parrot were seen digging out a nest hole in a tree but the branch it was in broke off and they have not been back since. A pair of Red-winged Parrot were seen near the Julatten school (just in our 1.5km Lodge area) by Carol Iles our neighbouring bird guide. This is about the closest they come to the Lodge apart from a couple of sightings in Geraghty Park. Spotted Catbird are still coming to the feeder in the morning and also feeding on the fruit of a Soursop tree in our orchard. Red-backed Fairy-wren have been seen along McDougall Road, usually sitting on the fences. 12 species of honeyeater over the two weeks, including Scarlet, White-cheeked and Macleay's. The Macleay's Honeyeater have been hogging the bird feeder and chasing off the Lewin, Yellow-spotted and Graceful Honeyeater. 
Macleay's Honeyeater

Yellow-breasted Boatbill continue to call and be very active so they are being seen regularly. Barred Cuckoo-shrike have been calling and around in small numbers as have Varied Triller.

Little (Rufous) Shrike-thrush have been very active and calling a lot, they are common residents around the Lodge and are not to be confused with the Bower's Shrike-thrush. The Bower's are normally resident up on the mountains behind us and can be seen usually above 600m on Mt. Lewis, we are only 430m which is within the range of the Little who can be found up to 600m. Bower's do come down in the winter months but we only see one or two. Bower's has more obvious striations on throat and breast, also their bill is black (adult male and older immature males) or grey/black (adult and immature females as well as immature males) whereas Little have a pinkish-brown/grey bill and a light coloured eye-ring. Bower's have dark grey back and head, the little have olive-brown, although we have seen a few little with quite grey back and rumps. There are seven sub-species of Little Shrike-thrush in Australia, the one found here is giseata. All these sub-species have plumage variation with the sexes being similar.

Little (Rufous) Shrike-thrush

Bower's Shrike-thrush

At least one male Golden Whistler is still around the Lodge and has been joined by a Yellow Oriole which is more a species of the coast in our region but has been creeping into our area over the last few years. A few Spangled Drongo are still around but the majority of them have gone further north. Pied Monarch have become more active and are calling as have at least two female Victoria's Riflebird who have been getting around the Lodge together.

Further Afield:-
A Spotted Harrier was seen over the adjacent cane paddock by our neighbour Carol Iles and was probably the same one we saw a few weeks earlier at the same location. A (Common) Cicadabird was calling along Euluma Creek Road in Julatten, unusual for this time of year. On 28th May Del Richards from Fine Feather Tours reported a Brown Songlark (female) at Maryfarms, north of Mt. Molloy. It was perched on a fence with a female White-winged Triller and Black-faced Woodswallow. This was a first sighting for him since the 2002 drought. Both Brown Songlark and Black-faced Woodswallow are uncommon at this location.

Reptiles and Mammals:-
At least three Red-legged Pademelon are still around the Lodge grounds after one was taken by an Australian Scrub Python. Two species of bat recorded for this period, they were Large-footed Myotis (fish eating bat) and Northern Broad-nosed Bat. Striped Possum were seen, one was in our neighbours garden, another was seen late in the second week jumping around the trees near the Lodge reception. The persistent drizzle was to the frogs liking with Jungguy Frog, White-lipped Tree Frog, Roth's Tree Frog, Desert (Red) Tree Frog, Cogger's Frog, Dainty Green Tree Frog and Cane Toad.

Cogger's Frog
An adult Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko was spotlighted on a tree in the rainforest and an immature one, only 60mm in length, was rescued from the amenities block and released back into the rainforest. This is the first time we had seen an immature Leaf-tailed Gecko, which as you can see from the photos is very cute and very well camouflaged.

Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko - immature

This tree-dwelling nocturnal species relies on its camouflaged appearance to avoid discovery by predators. They are found in rainforests, wet sclerophyll forests, rocks and on the forest floor at night. We have found them on the floor where they run with their tail up in the air. During the day they are hiding behind loose bark or tree crevices. At night they come out and perch head down on large trees in the rainforest or on our orchard trees, we usually find them between 1-3m from the ground. They mainly eat large invertebrates such as Katydid, Cricket, Cockroach and Spider. Breeding season is usually just before the "Wet Season" in October or November when the females lay one or two soft-shelled eggs in moist soil or leaf litter. After about three months the young hatch and have to start catching insects straight away. They don't reach adulthood until two years and go on to live for about nine years.

Australian Scrub Python were seen in our neighbours garden, this one had just had a meal and was looking to rest up somewhere. Judging by the bulge in it's body it must have eaten something at least as big as a White-tailed Rat. This close up of it's head has a mosquito on it, they are not fussy who they get their blood from!

Australian Scrub Python

Finally whilst our neighbour Carol was guiding one of our guests on Mt. Lewis recently they came across this Queensland Blue Earthworm Terriswalkeris terraereginae an invertebrate which can grow up to 2 meters. We've only seen one which is not surprising as they only come to the surface after heavy rains when they are disturbed from their burrows. This image was taken by Ross Monks -thanks Ross.
Queensland Blue Earthworm
Thanks to Carol and Andrew Iles our neighbouring bird guides for helping compile the weekly species list.

Abattoir Swamp:-
Abattoir Swamp is about 6km from the Lodge and is a good birding area but unfortunately the boardwalk to the bird hide has collapsed and the local Mareeba Shire Council have told us that they have no money to repair it at the moment. We had sent them a summary of birds and the importance of this facility to birdwatchers and local businesses but this did not make any difference to their decision to close the boardwalk apart from making them aware. They did say they would look at it in the future. The car park is a good birding spot so it is still worth stopping here.

Abattoir Swamp Boardwalk

Abattoir Swamp Boardwalk - damage

Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge Business and Property For Sale
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Sunday, May 18, 2014

18th May 2014 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

Weather Report
Mixed weather over the last two weeks, we have have some fantastic sunny days with temperatures only getting up to 24ºC. The first week was dry, but the second week some rain fell with 18mm on six rainy days, just enough to be annoying.

Birding Highlights:-
A pair of Cotton Pygmy-goose have been coming and going from one of the lagoons along McDougall Road, not a common species in our area. Bar-shouldered Dove have been displaying and calling, always nice to see this attractive dove even though it is very common.

Bar-shouldered Dove

A small flock of 8 Topknot Pigeon flew over the Lodge whilst we were on a morning walk; this is the first sighting for 13 weeks. A lone female Papuan Frogmouth showed up in the orchard for a day which was something for the Pale-yellow Robin to harass for most of the day, presumably the same bird was seen perching in front of the accommodation units on 17th May. This bird was not one of the family of three which are still in the area and seen roosting away from the Lodge. A Great Cormorant turned up along McDougall Road, another uncommon bird in the area. A Black-breasted Buzzard was along Euluma Creek Road near the Julatten School and a Square-tailed Kite was seen to fly over the Lodge. White-bellied Sea-Eagle have been displaying and calling a lot and maybe going to nest nearby. Great to see a Spotted Harrier over a cane paddock whilst we were on a morning walk late in the second week as this is an uncommon visitor. A single Purple Swamphen was along McDougall Road, another uncommon visitor. Red-necked Crake have been seen both weeks, on one occasion an adult was seen with an immature, good to know at least one of the three chicks is surviving. A pair of Scaly-breasted Lorikeet appeared at the feeder one afternoon much to our surprise as we have only seen them here once in nine years. 

Scaly-breasted Lorikeet

Double-eyed Fig-Parrot have been taking advantage of a couple of fruiting fig trees, up to four have been regularly seen. On the same morning walk when the Spotted Harrier was seen a single male Australian King-Parrot flew across the Lodge grounds calling, this was a first sighting for the year at the Lodge. Barking Owl are still around and calling close to the reception area, one was seen perched in a Queensland Blue Gum near the entrance to the Lodge. Lesser Sooty Owl was seen in the Lodge grounds by Klaus Uhlenhut from Kirrama WildlifeTours and his guests late in the second week. Barn Owl, who are probably thinking of nesting by now, have been calling and seen. Azure Kingfisher have been along Bushy Creek and both Laughing and Blue-winged Kookaburra have been regularly seen. Noisy Pitta are around the Lodge grounds, but more often heard rather than seen; there was one sighting of two birds. Two Spotted Catbird have started to come to the feeder in the mornings to eat banana, better than eating baby birds! The same 12 species of honeyeater have been seen over the two weeks, these included Bridled and Scarlet Honeyeater who are not regulars. Barred Cuckoo-shrike have been lured back by the same fig trees that the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot have been in and have been joined by a couple of White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike. Of course there have also been 100's of Australasian Figbird fighting over the figs as well.

Australasian Figbird - male

A single male Golden Whistler was seen on the 6th May, this was the first for two years as none came down off the mountains last year to visit the Lodge. Grey and Rufous Whistler have also been seen and are very vocal. A Yellow Oriole has been seen and heard over the past two weeks, they are not resident and presumably come up from the coast where they are very common. A Pied Currawong flew over the Lodge one morning and was seen by Carol Iles, bird guide. Rufous and Grey Fantail numbers continue to increase as southern migrants arrive. Pied Monarch and Yellow-breasted Boatbill have been calling and seen regularly, especially the boatbill. At least two female Victoria's Riflebird have been foraging in the Lodge grounds and coming to the bird baths in the afternoon. Silvereye have been around in small to large groups (50+), very busy birds as they move through the forest. 


Immature Metallic Starling are still around, which is very late for them, our birds have usually gone north by now.

Further Afield:-
A flock of 8 Topknot Pigeon were seen flying over Euluma Creek Road, Julatten at the beginning of May. Also along Euluma Creek Road was Eastern Yellow Robin (uncommon) and a Buff-banded Rail which appear to be becoming scarce in our area. A Sacred Kingfisher was seen in Mount Molloy (uncommon) and Maryfarms north of Mount Molloy had some Black-faced Woodswallow and White-winged Triller. Mt. Lewis continues to be good for birds with Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo heard on the lower slopes along with one Blue-faced Parrot-Finch. Higher up the mountain a male Golden Bowerbird was seen in company with a brown immature/female bird. One of our herpetologist friends in Julatten, Grant, sent us this photo of a Large-tailed Nightjar perching in a tree along his driveway at the end of April. This record is interesting as there are very few records around here in April and this species is not often seen perching in trees. We have never seen one  in a tree and local ornithologist Lloyd Nielsen said he had only seen it once although he had seen them on fence posts. They are normally ground dwellers.

Large-tailed Nightjar
Thanks to Carol and Andrew Iles our local bird guiding neighbours for contributing to the bird lists. Please email Carol if you need any local guiding.

Reptiles and Mammals:-
Fawn-footed Melomys have been visiting our neighbours, Carol and Andrew, whilst a Yellow-footed Antichinus was visiting us in our office. Red-legged Pademelon have established themselves in the Lodge grounds and can usually be seen early morning or at night foraging in the orchard area. One of our guests, Adrian, put out a camera overnight at the feeder to see what came in. Most action occurred in the early hours of the morning when Bush Rat and White-tailed Rat showed at the feeder. Northern Brown Bandicoot have started to re-appear and a juvenile Striped Possum was seen on a night walk. Several Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko have been seen around the rainforest and only one snake seen when our neighbours disturbed a Small-eyed Snake. 

Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko

Boyd's Forest Dragon returned to the reception area after being away for about 10 days and got straight into the banana on the feeder. Frogs have been a bit scarce with the drier weather but we have seen Jungguy Frog, White-lipped Tree Frog, Dainty Green Tree Frog as well as these Desert (Red) Tree Frog who were trying to get into a hole in the amenities wall. This species is also known as Naked Frog for obvious reasons!

Desert Tree Frog

Also seen was this Roth's (Laughing) Tree Frog, which was found in the reception area covered in fluff and cleaned off before being released outside.

Roth's Tree Frog

Two of our guests Paul and David spent a few hours during the night chasing bats on Mt. Lewis, these are the ones they identified.

Eastern Long-eared Bat Nyctophilus bifax
Eastern Forest Bat Vespadelus pumilus
Little Bent-winged Bat Miniopterus australis
Eastern Horseshoe Bat Rhinolophus megaphyllus
Eastern Blossom Bat Syconicteris australis
Flute-nosed Bat Murina florium

 Go Gunners! Sat up and watched Arsenal win the FA Cup - about time.

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