Sunday, 1 November 2009

31st October 2009 Report

Drizzly rain and quick showers were the order of the week but only 4mm from them. Temperatures ranged from 16ÂșC to mid-twenty's with the cloud cover keeping temperatures lower than previous weeks. There was enough sunshine in between allowing plenty of birding. Three morning walks and some dedicated birders around the grounds resulted in 101 bird species seen and 4 heard, which was the most for a week in a long time. Mammals and reptiles were 20 seen.

Highlights for the week were a Helmeted Friarbird foraging in a Black Bean tree, this species is a very rare visitor to the Lodge away from its usual distribution along the coastal strip. The Noisy Pitta was again regularly sighted hopping around the orchard early mornings. A Red-necked Crake was sighted twice, once crossing the path from the orchard to Bushy Creek in the rainforest and also coming into Bushy Creek to bathe. Despite constant calling throughout the week and numerous searches one Superb Fruit-Dove was glimpsed high up in the rainforest canopy only once. There was at least 4 fruit-doves calling at any one time but with their habit of sitting high in the canopy above dense foliage trying to see them from below is very difficult. Two Pied Imperial Pigeon were seen flying over cane paddocks for the second week which may indicate they are here to stay like last year. Again this is mainly a coastal or off-shore species. Plenty of Topknot Pigeons are still around for a second week and a single Wompoo Fruit-Dove seen foraging high in the rainforest. The Papuan Frogmouths are still not showing any signs of nesting and the Australian Owlet-nightjar has been posing well during the day as it peered out of its daytime roost hollow.

A few raptors are still around with Pacific Baza and Nankeen Kestrel both nesting and a Grey Goshawk seen perched along Mt. Kooyong Road. An Australian Hobby came zooming in over the orchard one morning putting up the flocks of Topknot Pigeon plus Rainbow and Scaly-breasted Lorikeet. One and sometimes two Buff-banded Rail have been active in the orchard, mainly early morning and late afternoon.

Buff-banded Rail

Bush Stone-curlew have been becoming more active and calling more during the week with several flying over the Lodge calling. A single male Double-eyed Fig-Parrot was foraging in a fruit tree by the rear entrance to the Lodge, for excellent views, before it was chased off by a Forest Kingfisher. A pair of fig-parrots was seen entering a nest hole high up in a Blue Quandong tree near the Mt. Kooyong Nursing Home. 15 species of honeyeater were around the flowering Black Bean trees and what is left of our grevilleas after the local council ”vegetation management” team came down the boundary road with chain saws. A few Barred Cuckoo-shrike are still in the area but only a couple of sightings of two flying over. Several Cicadabird were calling intermittently and seen at least once and Spangled Drongo continue to move through the area.

Spangled Drongo

Black-faced Monarch are starting to be seen regularly in the rainforest and along Bushy Creek at bath time, also a pair of Pied Monarch and Yellow-breasted Boatbill have been showing well. Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher are not back yet and were not on Cape York Peninsula at Iron Range towards the end of last week, so we still await their arrival.

Further afield the two previously reported Spotless Crake and White-browed Crake were still at Abattoir Swamp despite a fire going through the area and cattle tramping down the edges. Laughing Gull and Asian Dowitcher still along the Cairns Esplanade.

Spotlighting failed to find any Striped Possum and only one Green Ringtail Possum, however Striped Possum was seen on several other occasions. Platypus were seen regularly along Bushy Creek, mainly early evening just before or on dark. Several Lace Monitor were seen after a prolonged absence and a Common Green Tree Snake was seen in the orchard on the grassy ground. The showery weather triggered off a few frogs to start calling but his was only a false start as they soon stopped!

Northern Brown Bandicoot

Some interesting behaviour was observed on one spotlighting trip when a large male Northern Brown Bandicoot Isoodon macrourus tourosus was seen to be feeding whilst standing up on its hind legs. It was feeding on a Sugar Apple Annona squamosa fruit which was hanging down on a low branch. The bandicoot was at full stretch pulling the fruit down and nibbling on it. The Northern Brown Bandicoot is omnivorous with a diet of earthworms, spiders, berries, grass seeds, subterranean fungi and plant fibre such as sugar cane. A quick look through some literature did not mention this type of feeding behaviour.

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