Highlights for the week included the pair of Pacific Baza chicks fledging from the nest. One left on 22nd and the other left on Christmas Day, let’s hope they both survive. A male Superb Dove was seen twice during the week and Pied Imperial Pigeon numbers continue to increase in the area with 11 seen foraging in a tree alongside Bushy Creek and Mt. Kooyong Road. Pale-vented Bush-hen numbers have also increased over the last week with at least five pairs heard around the immediate area near the Lodge and two seen along Bushy Creek. The nesting Forest Kingfisher continue to feed the nestlings with 3 birds (2 males + 1 female) bringing in food. Plenty of small skinks and insects including the Katydid shown in the photo.
Forest Kingfisher with Katydid
Mrs. Cicadabird continues to sit on her nest and other birds found nesting during the week were Spectacled Monarch and Mistletoebird feeding two chicks. A Black Butcherbird was seen carrying a Dainty Green Tree Frog Litoria gracelenta and being harassed by a couple of Spectacled Monarch. A male Yellow-breasted Boatbill was observed feeding a juvenile near Bushy Creek.
Quite a few immature male Australasian Figbird feeding on a few fruiting trees in the area along with the adults who are also nesting. Blue-faced Honeyeaters were back after disappearing for a week feeding in some flowering trees at Geraghty Park.
Further afield a visit to Newell Beach and nearby Somerset Drive failed to find any Red-rumped or Barn Swallow recently reported from these locations. Christmas Day a quick trip to Mt. Lewis where the track goes off to the Dam 10km up the road from Bushy Creek, was very pleasant. Highlights here were a Golden Bowerbird calling 3 times from dense rainforest which was not accessible. A Pied Monarch was seen, only the 4th record in 58 surveys since 1987 (a few years missing in these records); all these records have been between mid November to mid January. We still have our ones around the Lodge which are resident and the ones on the lower slopes of Mt. Lewis appear to be regular throughout the year, so where do these ones come from? Are they here all year and overlooked or do they stop calling at times of the year? We think they are not here at this altitude (950m) from mid January to mid November. Barred Cuckoo-shrike was also seen for the 4th time in the same period, these records were from mid November to the 1st day of January. At least 3 pairs of Chowchilla were foraging within 500m of each other, one pair had two juveniles in tow. Bower’s Shrike-thrush and Spotted Catbird were very common, but still no sign of Blue-faced Parrot-Finch. Red-browed Finch were present, but were feeding on sedge as the grass seeds were still not quite ripe.
Spotlighting around the Lodge on one night found two Green Ringtail Possum, Giant White-tailed Rat, lots of Spectacled Flying-fox feeding on non flowering eucalypts, we concluded that they must have been feeding on insects, in particular small brown beetles. An Australian Owlet-nightjar was perched on railings in Geraghty Park before it flew into a tree for everyone to get good looks, this made up for not seeing any owls who were absent from nest and roost hollows. Papuan Frogmouth was again heard calling during the night as was a Noisy Pitta on one occasion.
One guest took a photo of a small rodent which needed identifying, it appeared to be a Cape York Rat, but we will have to get this confirmed. Unfortunately the only sighting of a Striped Possom this week was an adult which was found dead on the ground in the rainforest with no obvious signs of injury. A Platypus was seen swimming upstream late at night which was the first sighting for several weeks. A Tree Monitor observed near Bushy Creek was other species we have not seen for a while.
We wish everyone all the best for 2010, good birding and wildlife spotting.