Another extremely dry week with temperatures down to 16ºC and up to 28ºC during the day. It was another good week for bird numbers with 80 species seen and 13 heard. 21 mammal/reptile/amphibian species were recorded.
Highlights for the week included the first Pied Imperial Pigeon for the season heard calling from the rainforest canopy, not a common species away from the coast although we had a few records last season. Another first for the season was a Channel-billed Cuckoo calling early one morning. A Grey Goshawk was disturbed beside Bushy Creek, along our track from the orchard to the creek, with an Emerald Dove in its talons. It had a job flying and flopped down in grass alongside the creek. (Lesser) Sooty Owl was heard calling on two successive nights; the first night one lucky guest saw and took great photographs of the owl whilst it perched low down. On the second night two were calling most of night whilst moving around. Two Buff-banded Rail made several appearances in the orchard (only one in the previous week), usually in the morning.
The nearby fruiting fig tree reported last week continued to attract large numbers of birds including at least 40 Barred Cuckoo-Shrike and increasing numbers of Double-eyed Fig-Parrot. A Little Friarbird was in a flowering eucalypt, the first seen here since 17/10/2007. Noisy Pitta and Red-necked Crake were both heard but not seen. Two Pacific Baza were calling and perching in Geraghty Park for good views – this is a species that stays around for no more than 2-3 days at a time before disappearing and reappearing a few weeks later.
Further afield Tooth-billed Bowerbirds are calling well on Mt. Lewis but still no sign of adult male Golden Bowerbirds, only a few sightings of adult female/sub adult males. White-eared, Black-faced, Spectacled and Pied Monarch were seen at Mt. Molloy (10km away) along Rifle creek. Black-faced Monarch has not showed up here from their return from wintering in New Guinea yet – can’t be long before they show up at the Lodge. Unusually still no sightings of White-eared Monarch around the Lodge, all our previous records are from May to November with one record in January.
Reptiles were showing well with appearances from several Boyd’s Forest Dragon, Eastern Water Dragon, Major Skink and Green Tree Snake. Spotlighting again had us seeing 2 Green Ringtail Possum together, both looked like adults and were feeding on a fruiting tree. A couple of sightings were had of Striped Possum tearing away at decaying trees looking for grubs. The Platypus were seen regularly in Bushy Creek during the late evening/night and morning with 3 seen at one time on one occasion. A very large Water Rat was seen swimming across Bushy Creek one night and clambering up onto the far side bank. Two Eastern Barn Owl were seen during the week invoking another identification discussion with at least one person suggesting they were Masked Owl, this debate will continue on for a long time yet!