Sunday, 28 December 2008

28th December Report

31mm of rain fell during the week with 20mm falling in one storm with plenty of lightning and thunder. With Christmas intervening birding time was shorter than normal but we still managed 78 species of birds seen and another 8 heard. Reptiles and mammals were 17 seen and 1 heard. One new reptile was recorded during the week by one of our guests, a Grey-tailed Skink Glaphyomorphus fuscicaudis which we will add to our species list.

At last the juvenile Papuan Frogmouth has seen sense and started to roost higher up with its mum about 8m off the ground. The male has been roosting about 20m away from the old nest.

Papuan Frogmouth - adult and juvenile

Wandering Whistling-Ducks were heard flying over at night whilst we were watching two Masked Owls. Plenty of Topknot Pigeons around, previous records from the lodge show only one record in December up until 2006 but from then we have had more records going into January and even one in February. Sulphur-crested Cockatoos have been feeding on the seeds of the Orange Tamarind Toechima pterocarpum.

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo on Orange Tamarind

Nesting is in full swing at the moment; the Pacific Baza chicks continue to grow and look like they are near fledging, at least one pair of Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher are sitting in their nest - we will check other sites to see what stage they are at. A Spangled Drongo was found sitting in its nest singing, why do birds do this? We have also found a Black-faced Monarch singing in its nest which proved not to be a good survival strategy as a Black Butcherbird was alerted and stole the eggs. A pair of Australasian Figbirds are also sitting on a nest as is a Spectacled Monarch and a pair of Forest Kingfisher were seen carrying food into their nest in a termite mound.

Whilst eating Christmas dinner with friends a pair of Spectacled Monarchs started to build a nest beside us and nearby a pair Fairy Gerygone were carrying food into a nest.

Further a field Red-rumped and Barn Swallows are still being seen on the coast north of Mossman. A Boxing Day trip up Mt Lewis provided most of the higher altitude species such as Atherton Scrubwren, Victoria's Riflebird, Mountain Thornbill, Bowers Shrike-thrush and Chowchilla. We were surprised to see a pair of Fernwren 3m up in a tree which we can find no reference to. We did not see Blue-faced Parrot-Finch but they had been seen before we arrived in the afternoon, there was not any Golden Bowerbirds either.

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