Sunday, 23 November 2008

23rd November Report

Drizzle overnight on 18th into 19th, distant thunderstorms could be heard from the coast at Port Douglas. We did get 17mm of rain in one storm late in the week, after missing out on some of the other storms which were going on around us earlier in the week. Most of the storm activity was in the afternoon with sunny mornings. Towards the end of the week the northerly winds cut in bringing hot and sticky weather. Bird sightings for the week were 84 seen plus 9 heard, reptiles were 12 seen and 3 heard (frogs).

The Pied Imperial Pigeon reported a few weeks ago was again seen in the lodge grounds calling in the orchard. The Papuan Frogmouth who has been sitting on a nest since 1st October finally revealed a very small white fluffy chick mid-week, they only lay one egg and incubate for 38-40 days – a long time for a tropical bird. Lets hope this one survives unlike last years nest attempt. Other birds nesting in the area include Pacific Baza, Nankeen Kestrel and Fairy Gerygone. Both Graceful and Macleay’s Honeyeaters have been carrying off food to suspected nests.

Macleay's Honeyeater

Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfishers continue to call and establish territories with at least one pair starting to dig a nest in a new termite mound. The Noisy Pittas (2 pairs) have cut back on their calling and are probably starting to build nests. They have been seen most days in the forest. The (Lesser) Sooty Owl has been calling but not seen. On two occasions he called around 6.00pm when it was still daylight but normally heard during the night or early morning before going to roost. The Platypus have been performing in Bushy Creek with two playing at first light (5.00am) for the early birds to see one morning. Boyd’s Forest Dragons have been posing for all to see and an Amethystine Python was seen with its head sticking out of a tree hollow. A Green Tree Snake was sunning itself on the grass out front of the units allowing people to photograph it.

Locally there was a couple of sightings of Black-winged Monarch on Mt. Lewis to add to one earlier reported by Del Richards around Julatten. Normally this species migrates south to north of Cooktown in the Mt. Webb National Park area, which is 80km north of Cooktown – reported in “Contact Call” the newsletter of the Birds Australia - North Queensland Group - June 1998. There was also a record of one south of Cairns at Edmonton reported by Dawn and Arnold Magarry some years ago. Blue-faced Parrot-Finch have been appearing on Mt. Lewis at the "clearing" 10km up the road and also at a cleared area part way up, at least 3 birds have been seen early morning. There should be a build up of numbers during November. A Juvenile Pied Heron has been on Lake Mitchell, between Mareeba and Mount Molloy, for the last month.

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