Sunday, 31 January 2010

186mm of rain during the week which was due to the influence of Cyclone Olga and the monsoonal trough. Temperatures ranged from 20ºC to 28ºC. Bird numbers were 71 bird species seen and 8 heard - mammals and reptiles were 19 seen and three heard, (as last week Striped Possum was only heard ). The rain and two days in Cairns restricted birding around the lodge hence the lower bird numbers than in previous weeks.

A few Pied Imperial Pigeons continued to stay around the lodge grounds and Superb Fruit-Dove is also around but only heard. A Black-shouldered Kite and Nankeen Kestrel were seen soaring over after being absent for a few weeks. A Brahminy Kite was on the ground at the nearby barramundi farm eating one of the farmed fish, very tasty fish! Channel-billed Cuckoo numbers have dropped with only the odd one flying over, hopefully the numbers will increase again as the southern birds start to migrate back north. They usually pass through here in February stopping off at a couple of large fruiting fig trees; one year we had over 120 with at least 60 juvenile birds staying six weeks and roosting in the adjacent Geraghty Park. Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher continue to be active being very obvious as they forage for food to feed their youngsters in nests. More juvenile Dollarbirds were seen this week perching on power lines and in trees. Not sure if the Noisy Pitta is still feeding their youngsters as they don’t seem to be as active foraging for food, however they are being seen regularly around the units and in the orchard. Spectacled Monarch are having some success with a fledgling being seen, amazing that the dull grey fluffy ball grows up into a handsome bird as the two pictures show.

Spectacled Monarch - fledgling

Spectacled Monarch - adult

The Lewin’s Honeyeater is still coming to the feeder and making an interesting single note loud whistle at intervals of about 10 seconds. It is still making the machine gun like rattle which is the most well know call but only a couple of times a day. More honeyeaters, including a few juvenile Macleay’s, are coming to the feeder as it becomes more difficult to find nectar due to the rain washing it out of blossoms, Spotted Catbird has also been in a few times to get banana after they have polished off a not so ripe Soursop fruit from the orchard. Black-faced and Pied Monarch plus Yellow-breasted Boatbill have all been showing well this week.

Further a field Blue-faced Parrot-Finch have been on Mt. Lewis a several places both on the way up and also at the 10km parking area. Access has been difficult this week due to a couple of trees down across the road but these have been cleared now. The gate across the road just past the 10km parking area is closed until further notice and as the wet season continues the road has become four wheel drive only but not recommended as trees do come down and you can become stranded. Carol and Andrew at Red Mill House reported two Red-rumped Swallow at Somerset Drive which is on the left (heading north towards Daintree Village from Mossman) just past the Newell Beach turn off. Also five reported along the road just before the Newell Beach turn off. No recent reports of Barn Swallows.

On the Cairns Esplanade some of the waders like Bar-tailed Godwit and Great Knot are starting to color up and numbers of Terek Sandpipers showed a marked increase since the last visit two weeks ago. Also since that time Greater Sandplover numbers had gone down as had Sharp-tailed Sandpiper.

The most Interesting sighting of mammals this week was a pair of Cape York Rat mating and chasing each other around whilst we watched for at least five minutes. The odd Fawn-footed Melomy’s and White-tailed Rat came to the feeder but otherwise it was quiet. Both Long-nosed and Northern Brown Bandicoot were spotlighted.

Northern Dwarf Tree Frog Litoria bicolor

Frogs again enjoyed the rain with eight species seen and two heard. Those seen were Wilcox’s Frog, Northern Dwarf Tree Frog, Dessert Tree Frog, Rocket Frog, Dainty Green Tree Frog, Cogger’s Frog and Cane Toad, Roth’s Frog and White-lipped Tree Frog were heard. A few Boyd’s Forest Dragon braved the rain and were seen perching low down on trees.

Dainty Green Tree Frog Litoria gracilenta

I've been experimenting with slide photos, trying to copy them. Both the frog images have been copied from slide transparencies by using a slide copier attached to the camera and a wireless controled flash for a light source. The slide copier crops the edges of the original transparency even at its widest setting so it is not suitable for images which fill the transparency, you can zoom in on the original but you need another light sorce to see the image through the cameras viewfinder. At least with digital you can delete the duds straight away and adjust settings to try and improve the result. More experimenting required!

No comments: