This week had 72 bird species seen and a further 7 heard plus 12 reptiles and Mammals in and around the lodge grounds. With the water table high it does not take much to flood the local roads and another 159.5mm of rain this week caused some local flooding cutting off access from Mount Molloy for a day.
Bird highlights were great views for one of our guests of the Sooty Owl hanging on a vine on the edge of the orchard 3m off the ground; this was after they had seen Masked Owl and Eastern Barn Owl earlier in the evening. The Pacific Baza's hung around for several days with views of 2 adults feeding 1 juvenile bird. Presumably these birds were from the nest in Geraghty Park which originally fledged 2 juveniles, so it looks like only 1 survived. A flock of at least 14 Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo flew over on the 21st. probably the most we have seen at this time of year. A Noisy Pitta was seen foraging beside the Crake Pool late one afternoon and at least 14 Channel-billed Cuckoo were seen perching in a tree beside Bushy Creek. Looks like they are gathering for their migration north.
The end of the week saw the local Birds Australia-North Queensland group (BANQ) arrive for the traditional Australia Day long weekend (this was the 10th anniversary of visits) which meant more eyes looking for the birds. Saturday night we were entertained with wildlife images of a recent trip to Madagascar that a couple of BANQ members had undertaken. After the show we heard a Sooty Owl calling so a few of us set out to find it but no luck, however we did turned up a male Papuan Frogmouth eating an insect.
On the Sunday night we set up a light to attract moths but found we attracted more beetles than moths along with 8 species of Cicada and a few lace-wings.
Further afield the BANQ activities took us up to Mt. Lewis where the highlight was at least a dozen Blue-faced Parrot-Finch with most of the other specialities on the mountain seen. A walk along the Bump Track in Mowbray National Park found Superb-Fruit-Dove, Noisy Pitta, Lovely Fairy-wren, Northern Fantail and Victoria’s Riflebird amongst the many other rainforest and woodland species. On the coast north of Newell Beach we found at least 2 Red-rumped Swallow mixed in with the Welcome Swallows, Fairy and Tree Martins but no sign of the Barn Swallows which have been here. A few people went down to Palm Cove, north of Cairns to tick off the Laughing Gull which is still hanging around there whilst the rest of us went on to Cooya Beach. Here we had good looks at Mangrove Kingfisher and a variety of waders plus we heard Mangrove Robins calling. Good views were had of the male and female Shining Flycatcher and Black Butcherbird in the mangroves beside the Killaloe Rubbish Tip road on the way to Port Douglas.