Sunday, 22 March 2009

Report for 22nd March

A relatively dry week with only 16.5mm from a couple of showers and we managed to mow the rather long grass in the orchard area without getting bogged! Species numbers recorded for the week were 63 birds seen plus another 9 heard as well as 8 reptile/mammal species, almost the same numbers as last week.

Highlights for the week were few and far between as most of the week was spent putting a PowerPoint presentation together for a shorebird workshop. The adult Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher numbers seem to have dropped so maybe some have left already but the juveniles are still obvious as the sit around and pounce on the ground for food. There are still a few juvenile Channel-billed Cuckoo around with good looks at one in the adjacent Geraghty Park. Black-faced Monarch are still around and have not gone north yet but most of the adult Metallic Starling have headed north leaving a few immature birds around.

Further afield the most exciting report was of a Banded Plover turning up at the Mossman Golf Course on the coast.

Banded Lapwing at Mossman Golf Course

Andrew Forsyth from Red Mill House in the Daintreee Villiage alerted us to the plover which according to the people at the golf course had been present for about two weeks. Keith went down the next day and took some photos. This species is uncommon in our area and is usually seen south of the tropics although there have been a few records in our area from Gordonvale, Atherton and last year one turned up on Cape York Peninsula at Bramwell Station near Weipa. There are also some breeding records from near Mareeba in the 70’s and 80’s.

The Saturday was taken up with the shorebird workshop in Cairns organised by the North Queensland Birds Australia group – . At least 45 people turned up for a very good day of learning about shorebird ecology, ID, survival threats, counting and a quiz to test learned skills. Late afternoon it was over the road to see the real thing.

shorebird watchers on Cairns Esplanade

Plenty of shorebirds (waders) on view at close quarters to identification and separate out the species. Plenty of birds colouring up into their breeding plumage ready for the long journey north to Siberia, Mongolia and Alaska to breed. Bar-tailed Godwit, Lesser and Greater Sandplover, Curlew Sandpiper, Great Knot and Red-necked Stint were the main species in breeding condition. No sign of Sharp-tailed Sandpipers who have probably all left to go north. The Laughing Gull was still present mixing with the Silver Gulls.

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