Sunday, 19 April 2009

19th April Report

Finally the drizzly rain stopped at the end of the week after some rain on every day to make a total of 47mm for the week. This overcast weather made for a quiet week of birding with 62 species seen and another 7 heard. The reptile/mammal species were down, mainly due to lack of frogs, with 12 species seen. The highlights for us were the Fan-tailed Cuckoo reported last week which turned out to be a Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo, a much rarer species, which occurs in our area in a small isolated population - around Mt. Lewis, Mowbray National Park and Black Mountain Road towards Kuranda with very rare sightings on the Atherton Tableland. The main distribution of this species is Papua New Guinea and Cape York Peninsula south to about Cooktown. The bird has been calling almost non-stop throughout the week but we have yet to see it, thanks to Del Richards for identifying it on call which is very similar to the Fan-tailed Cuckoo but with subtle differences. The White-throated Treecreeper were around all week and I managed to get a photo of one on Saturday morning using my trusty 300mm F2.8 lens with 1.4x teleconverter, this is my favourite lens.

White-throated Treecreeper

Australian King-Parrot turned up for a day and was calling loudly from a eucalypt tree, usually the odd sighting in February in our area. The (lesser) Sooty Owl called a couple of times in the week but was not seen. The Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher numbers are dwindling with only an adult and one juvenile seen in the lodge grounds plus a couple of juveniles and an adult in our neighbours garden. One Channel-billed Cuckoo called in the week as did one Black-faced Monarch. A Noisy Pitta was seen hopping along the road to the office and looked like a first year bird. Further afield Blue-faced Parrot-Finches both adult and juveniles were seen at four different places on Mt. Lewis. A pair of Fawn-footed Melomy’s has been coming around the office in the evening

Fawn-footed Melomys

and a stunned Amethystine Python was found near the office after falling out of a tree when the branches it was on broke off. After a short rest the python recovered and headed back into the rainforest, it was probably trying to catch a bird as there was a commotion in the trees before it fell out with many birds scalding it.

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