Another very dry week with temperatures down to 16ºC and up to 28ºC during the day. It has been said that this is the worst drought in our region for the last 10 years. Some trees are showing signs of stress whilst others are flowering and fruiting but most are dropping leaves which is opening up the canopy. Bird numbers were down this week due to a reduced birding effort which was the result of illness so more time was spent in front of the computer. We had 76 species seen and 7 heard. 17 mammal/reptile/amphibian species were recorded.
The upside of being confined to the office was that in the middle of the week an Orange-footed Scrubfowl was crying out like they do when territorial disputes break out but this time it went on longer than usual. Eventually went to investigate and just made it to the reception door when a large bird flew up into a tree adjacent to the building. It was a sub-adult Brown Goshawk which must have been onto the scrubfowl. A quick dash to grab the camera resulted in a couple of shots before it flew off and a scrubfowl hurried away looking none the worse for the ordeal.
Brown Goshawk - sub adult
Two Dollarbird flew over which were the first for the season, not seen again so maybe passing through. The Black-faced Monarch heard last week was absent this week. Three Superb Fruit-Dove were seen flying out of a fruiting tree and were calling all week. Channel-billed Cuckoo were more obvious with four being seen at one time and two feeding in a fig tree. Double-eyed Fig-Parrot were still around with the Barred Cuckoo-shrike during the week finishing off the last of the figs on the fig tree mentioned last week.
Double-eyed Fig-Parrot (male)
13 species of honeyeater were around including Bridled and White-cheeked which are occasional visitors here although they are resident in the area. Other occasional visitors were a male Shining Flycatcher foraging along Bushy Creek and a Northern Fantail also in Bushy Creek having a bathe. The Blue-faced Parrot Finch appear to have left the local site and are probably heading for the foothills of the nearby mountain range where they go for the 6-7 months to breed in places like Mt. Lewis.
Nearby bodies of water had a few birds on them including:-Magpie Goose, Australian Wood Duck, Grey Teal, Pacific Black Duck, Australasian Grebe, Little Pied and Little Black Cormorant, Intermediate and Cattle Egret, Comb-crested Jacana plus a flock of about ten Royal Spoonbill.
Despite the dry conditions birds are breeding, a Pale-yellow Robin has been sitting on a nest which unfortunately has attracted the attention of a Spotted Catbird which is a ferocious nest predator. However the robins are great parents and will defend to the last, a pair of just fledged Emerald Dove have appeared around the office. As in previous years the juvenile birds have been chasing away the adults, both male and females, even the dominant males are chased away! Why do the adults put up with it? A pair of Pacific Baza have been seen carrying nesting material.
Further afield Del Richards from Fine Feather Tours saw a small flock of Little Curlew just west of Port Douglas plus 3 Satin Flycatcher along the coast, a species which passes through the area at this time of year. A Spotless Crake was in Abattoir Swamp and a Peregrine Falcon was zooming across the road near the Julatten School. A Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo was seen about 5km up Mt. Lewis crossing the road a a couple of Australian Owlet-nightjar were also seen on this road early in the morning when it was still dark.
Interesting mammals and reptiles were a Boyd's Forest Dragon being mobbed by mainly Macleay's Honeyeater, a Common Green Tree Snake with its head in a small hole in the amenities block wall, probably trying to get a frog and the Platypus are still trying to swim up the drying Bushy Creek. A Striped Possum was seen walking along a powerline beside Mt. Kooyong Road and the Lodge grounds, first time this has beem seen.