Sunday, 7 June 2009

7th June Report

13.5mm of rain this week with lows around 16ÂșC for the second week. There was 69 bird species seen and another 6 heard plus 18 Frogs and Mammals for the week.
A big surprise for me was a lone adult Metallic Starling perched in a tree one morning near the entrance road to the Lodge. Normally they are back in Papua New Guinea at this time of year after leaving in March/April. There has been a trend for some birds to overwinter along the coast in Cairns, Port Douglas and Mossman over the last 15-20 years, probably because of the growth of gardens over this period has given them more food resources (just a theory, no scientific evidence to back it up). A Wompoo Fruit-Dove came down to the Crake Pool one morning for a drink and perched on a vine 1m. off the ground for excellent views, made a change from the usual underside view we normally get. The Australian Owlet-nightjar was seen twice looking out of his roost hole in the morning. A pair of Pacific Baza were seen on two occasions and a pair of White-belied Sea-Eagle put on an aerial display whilst calling just above the treetops.

White-bellied Sea-Eagle

A pair of Double-eyed Fig Parrot flew over twice during the week, the first ones for 10 weeks and several Australian King-Parrot visited for a couple of days, unusual at this time of year. Three Eastern Barn Owls were seen but we still cannot confirm breeding, two came out of one
roost hole and flew off into the night. (Lesser) Sooty Owl was again heard during the week, once in the morning just after 6am calling at the same time as the Laughing Kookaburras! Blue-winged Kookaburra were vocal in the eucalypt trees on the Lodge boundary which is a first for us, they normally don’t come this close to the rainforest. Several Noisy Pitta were seen in different rainforest areas and at least 3 Spotted Catbirds came into a feeder. A single Bassian Thrush showed well during the week coming out onto the grassed area around one guests camp site and again seen foraging in the rainforest area near the office adding to our office list which is now 46 species. The Bassian Thrush hopped onto the road for good looks before flying over to an area behind the bunkhouse where it was bombed by two Pale Yellow Robins whose territory it had invaded. These two robins are well know here as they attack car wing mirrors, windows and once even got inside a car where one perched on the steering wheel before leaving a calling card and departing.

Further afield Banded Honeyeater were reported from
Abattoir Swamp, a very nomadic honeyeater which turns up in the area most years. An immature Pomarine Jaeger was reported by Dell Richards, from Fine Feather Tours who had a day off from bird guiding to go fishing, North-East of Snapper Island (located between Port Douglas and Cape Tribulation offshore). Not a species often recorded over the waters of Far North Queensland. Four brown Golden Bowerbirds (juvenile male or female) were seen foraging together on Mt. Lewis by 3 guests who walked about 7km up the road. Must have been a feeding tree nearby to attract this number.

Several spotlighting trips around the grounds turned up some good sightings. The best was an adult Striped Possum with two juveniles in the orchard, fantastic that they are breeding, They were in a Spondias (Kedongdong) fruit-tree along with several Spectacled Flying-Fox;

Spectacled Flying-Fox eating Spondias fruit

one had a brief fight with one of the juvenile possums when it got in the way of its feeding on the fruit. A Green Ringtail Possum was also seen which was the first one for several weeks, brief views of Feather-tailed Glider were had and 7 species of frogs including both the Northern (Litoria bicolor) and Eastern Dwarf Tree Frog (Litoria fallax). Which reminds me we have just received copies of the latest frog guide to Australia for our shop – “ Field Guide to the Frogs of Australia” by Michael Tyler and Frank Knight $49.95 + postage.

They only came in a couple of days ago so we have only had a brief look, it has a water proof cover and all the latest taxonomic changes with 227 species described and most of them illustrated. A long overdue book, the last fully comprehensive Field Guide To Australian Frogs was by Barker and Grigg and published in 1977 and had a 150 species. There has been a few regional field guides to frogs and others which cover Southern Australia but none that we know of which cover all of Australia which are stand alone books dedicated just to frogs.

Get a Species List for the Period of your Visit to the Lodge

We have uploaded all our bird sighting records from the Lodge onto the Eremaea Birds website, these are records since 1994 with the last 4 years being weekly records. This will be very useful to our guests as they can now download a list of species that have been recorded at the Lodge for the period of their visit. The list will also show the % of sightings for the period as well so they will be able to see commonality. To access a list you can go directly to the
Eramaea Birds website or you can go to our Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge website where you will find a link on the bird species list page or the bird watching and wildlife page . Once on the site click on species list for any site and enter Kingfisher Park then put in the period from and to. We are gradually uploading records for local sites as well, so far we have done Cairns Esplanade, Centenary Lakes (part of Cairns Botanic Gardens), Yorkey's Knob Lagoon - Cairns, Mt. Lewis – clearing (10km site) and Windmill Creek on East Maryfarms Road (south of Mt. Carbine).

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