Sunday, 10 May 2009

10th May Report

A week of dull, drizzly rain and only 9mm of rain plus cooler temperatures. However it was a good week for birds with 72 species seen and a further 7 heard but not so good for reptiles (due to cool weather) and mammals with only 12 seen and 1 heard (Striped Possum).

Highlights for the week were 3 owl species on Saturday night, Rufous, Eastern Barn and Sooty plus Australian Owlet-nightjar.

Eastern Barn Owl

Also during the week the White-headed Pigeon was seen again, this time drinking at the Crake Pool, a Black-necked Stork flew over, a couple of Straw-necked Ibis were foraging in an adjacent field after being absent since the last week in December, plenty along the coast for the last few months. A noisy flock of Sulphur-crested Cockatoo paid a visit to our orchard and cleaned up as much of the fruit seeds as possible destroying the fruit in the process.

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

A couple of Red-winged Parrot visited the adjacent Geraghty Park which is unusual as we only have a couple of sightings per year, they are mainly found around Mt. Molloy and the drier hinterland north and westward. Noisy Pitta was seen and it was also heard most days, Cicadabird continue to be present and calling – late in the season for them, a Golden Whistler was heard in the rainforest – this was the first for the season. The Golden Whistler comes down to lower altitudes from the mountains behind us during the winter months. There was a sighting of Black-faced Monarch in the orchard, so at least one is still refusing to migrate north to Papua New Guinea where they normaly are at this time of year where they normally are at this time of year. A single Bassian Thrush was seen from a unit window whilst a guest was doing the washing up – must have some perks for doing the chores!

At least three Fawn-footed Melomys came to the feeder one night along with two Bush Rats, a Giant White-tailed Rat and a Northern Brown Bandicoot. Several Feather-tailed Gliders were again seen in a coconut palm and the drizzle set off the Cogger’s Barred Frog calling on one night.

Further afield a couple of juvenile Southern Cassowary (about six months old) were seen on the Mt. Lewis Road which is encouraging. At least four Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo were observed on the lower slopes of Mt. Lewis. A quick trip to Cooktown over the weekend was fairly uneventful with three Wedge-tailed Eagle sightings – two on the road. A lagoon between the East and West Normanby Rivers is worth a stop, it had Magpie Goose, Green Pygmy Goose, Australasian Darter, Intermediate Egret, Black Kite, Comb-crested Jacana, Rainbow Lorikeet, Blue-winged Kookaburra, Rainbow Bee-eater, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Grey-crowned Babbler, Magpie-lark and Pied Butcherbird when we visited midday. Not much happening in Cooktown with Yellow Oriole and Helmeted Friarbird the most common bush bird and Silver Gulls and Crested Terns along the wharf, highlight here was an adult White-bellied Sea-Eagle being harassed by the Silver Gulls.

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