Sunday, 31 May 2009

31st May Report

The weather warmed up this week with lows around 16
ÂșC and also the rain returned at the beginning of the week before clearing for the last two days. Despite the adverse weather conditions we managed to get out for a rain interrupted morning walk on one morning. The bird species seen for the week were 79 plus 7 heard and 16 mammal/reptiles and once again 6 frog species.

The biggest surprise for the week was a Channel-billed Cuckoo which flew over the Lodge grounds one morning calling. Not usually here at this time of year as they have normally migrated back to New Guinea and the Mollucas by March-April. A few stragglers have been recorded staying until June/July in other parts of Australia and also reports of some overwintering in the Daintree Village area. Other birds of note were our first Yellow-throated Scrubwren for the winter season; some migrate down from the ranges behind the Lodge. A Bassian Thrush was seen following a Noisy Pitta through the rainforest, probably the one reported on 28th April which had come down from the ranges. A male Leaden Flycatcher was seen in nearby Geraghty Park which was the first since mid-April.

Leaden Flycatcher - Male

A Pied Currawong was heard calling one morning in the distance, a very rare winter visitor here. 12 species of honeyeaters were seen including local migrants, Bridled, White-cheeked and Scarlet. No sightings of the previously reported Rufous Owl this week although we did find a lot of feathers belonging to a Bar-shouldered Dove one morning, which could have well been a Rufous or Masked Owl kill. All of our sightings of an Eastern Barn Owl with a kill have been rodents with Bush Rat and Canefield Rat found in their pellets so it may well have been the Rufous Owl. The male Papuan Frogmouth has not been seen now for nearly 3 weeks so we hope nothing untoward has happened to him, the female and last years young are being seen regularly.

Further a field the odd Red-backed Kingfisher is being reported from the district. Two late migrants were at Abattoir Swamp (between Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge and Mt. Molloy) during the week – they were a Dollarbird and a Cicadabird.

A day in Cairns on the 26th allowed a quick visit to the Esplanade where there was a surprising amount of shorebirds for this time of year but none of the smaller ones like Red-necked Stint, Lesser and Greater Sandplover or Sharp-tailed Sandpiper. Full list: Black-necked Stork, Great Egret, Intermediate Egret, Little Egret, Australian White Ibis, Royal Spoonbill, Masked Lapwing, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Eastern Curlew, Terek Sandpiper, Grey-tailed Tattler, Great Knot,

Great Knots

Little Tern, Gull-billed Tern, Caspian Tern, Crested Tern, Varied Honeyeater, Welcome Swallow and Common Myna. No sign of the Laughing Gull when I was there but it had been reported the day before. If it is anything like the first one in Cairns (and Australia) in 1987 it will stay for at least 18 months.

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