Sunday, 28 June 2009

28th June 2009 Report

1mm of drizzle at the beginning of the week then wall to wall sunshine and cool nights before warming up at the end of the week with westerly winds coming in. Not quite as many species seen this week as last but still a respectable 77 bird species seen and a further 5 heard. Mammal and reptile sightings were down with only 12 seen; cool dry weather has caused most frogs to stay hidden away.

The (Lesser) Sooty Owl has been heard calling early evening and at about 4.00am, also seen flying over again once. Eastern Barn Owl was also seen during the week. The Noisy Pittas have been retreating into the rainforest with only a couple of sightings over the last week unlike the Bassian Thrush who have been out on the lawns and around the office all week showing well and allowing close approaches. A Wompoo Fruit-Dove has also been showing well and taking advantage of a few fruiting trees and palms and an Australian Owlet-nightjar has been sitting in his roost hole twice during the week in the early morning sun. A pair of Nankeen Kestrel has been hanging around last years nest site so hopefully they will nest again this year. Nearby in a Queensland Blue Gum (Forest Red Gum) Eucalyptus tereticornis surrounded by a flowering Mistletoe a pair of Magpie-lark have a nest with 3 half grown chicks in it and the parents are busy supplying food to them. In Geraghty Park, nearby the Lodge, a pair of Pale-headed Rosella and a Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike were foraging; these species are not often seen here but more commonly at Abattoir Swamp (6km towards Mt. Molloy), also in Mt. Molloy and surrounding dry open woodland. Spotted Catbirds have been regulars at the feeder as has a brown Victoria’s Riflebird. The flowering Blue Gums are still attracting large numbers of honeyeaters with several White-cheeked Honeyeater turning up over the road from the Lodge grounds.

The Bar-shouldered Dove is a common bird in the Lodge grounds but we think it is underestimated and just passed off as “another boring dove”! We’ll we think they are rather attractive with their grey-blue head and rufous-brown scalloping on their necks plus the rufous outer tail feathers and white underparts. They tend to spend a lot of time on the ground walking around in small groups but get rather aggressive when they meet up with an Emerald Dove; the Peaceful Doves try to avoid them. As they have not featured in the blog before we thought it was about time they did.

Bar-shouldered Dove

A Green Ringtail Possum (male) was out late one afternoon in the daylight (normally active at night) foraging around in trees between the bunkhouse and cookshed. Unusual to see them active during daylight hours. Both Northern and Long-nosed Bandicoot have been very active digging holes in the lawn outside the units and several Striped Possum were seen around the Lodge grounds. Unfortunately one young one was picked up dead on Mt. Kooyong Road with no obvious signs of injury; this one will go off to the museum as a specimen. There seems to be more butterflies around at the moment with the bright blue Ulysses and the Cairns Birdwing in evidence.

Cairns Birdwing

Many of the butterflies are difficult to observe as the only occur on the rainforest canopy.

In the local area on Mt. Lewis a Southern Cassowary (adult) was reported about 2km beyond the 10km clearing. This area is beyond a gate just past the clearing and requires a permit to traverse along this section of the Mt. Lewis Road (4WD required) – permits can be obtained from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Mossman ph (07) 4098 2188. The permit covers the 15km section beyond the clearing. The male Golden Bowerbird reported last week on Mt. Lewis was again seen once during the week as was a Brown Golden Bowerbird (Young male or female) at the same location. The Banded Lapwing reported in April at the Mossman Golf Course was again seen on the outskirts of Mossman after an absence of a couple of months. This time it was in company with a flock of Masked Lapwings near Cooya Beach.

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