Sunday, 17 May 2009

17th May Report

Another dull drizzly week except for the Saturday when the sun came out along with the birds, we had 27mm in the rain gauge and overnight lows of 18ÂșC for the week. It was a much better week for sightings with 78 bird species seen and 5 heard plus 18 Mammal/Reptiles seen and 2 heard. We did not quite equal last Saturday nights owl count but this Saturday night was exceptional spotlighting with 3 owl species – Rufous, (Lesser) Sooty (3 sightings of the same bird) and an Eastern Barn coming out of his nest hollow.

Rufous Owl

An Australian Owlet-nightjar was lurking in the low bushes around Geraghty Park and back at the lodge there was surprisingly many frog species despite the cool dry weather. We had Rainforest Stream Frog Litoria wilcoxi (always a possibility it could be Litoria jungguy as they are almost impossible to separate in the field), White-lipped Tree Frog Litoria infrafrenata, Desert Tree Frog Litoria rubella, Cogger’s Barred Frog Mixophyes coggeri and Cane Toad Bufo marinus. Other sightings were of 3 separate Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko (note: excellent camouflage in photo below), Fawn-footed Melomy’s, Eastern Horseshoe Bat, Bush Rat, Giant White-tailed Rat, Feather-tailed Glider, Northern Brown and Long-nosed Bandicoot and Spectacled Flying Fox.

Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko

This was one of our best nights spotlighting which will be hard to repeat. During the week we had good looks at the Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo which returned for a few days before leaving at the end of the week again, a rufous morph of the Tawny Frogmouth was being harassed in the rainforest by smaller birds and was probably the same bird reported in the 21st December report. Other winter visitors to turn up in the week were White-necked Heron opposite Geraghty Park with several Australian White Ibis, Nankeen-night Heron at the Crake Pool, Bridled Honeyeater in Geraghty Park, Scarlet Honeyeater in flowering eucalypts on the perimeter of the lodge grounds and a Bower’s Shrike-thrush calling high up in our rainforest. Boyd’s Rainforest Dragons were active after the drizzle stopped as was a large Amethystine Python.

Further afield one of our guests who went out with Del Richards reported a Cotton Pygmy-goose at Hasties Swamp outside Atherton and also one at Mareeba Tropical Savanna and Wetland Reserve. Five Sarus Cranes were reported from a paddock just north of Lakeland on the way to Cooktown.

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