Sunday, 14 March 2010

14th March 2010 Report

The “Wet Season” returned this week with 81mm of rain but still plenty of sunny days. Temperatures ranged from 21ºC to 28ºC which was slightly cooler than last week. Species numbers for the week were 65 bird species seen and 11 heard, slightly down on last week - mammals and reptiles were 13 seen again less than last week which reflects a reduced searching effort.

The highlight of the week was a sighting by two of our guests, Melissa and Tom, of two Red-necked Crake with four chicks – great breeding record. I had seen two adults in the same area of the orchard three days before but the chicks must have been lying low. Lets hope they all survive. The Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher juveniles are now more active and being seen more often flying around with the adults or perched in the open for good views. We have heard at least six juveniles calling in different areas, near their old nests, which would seem to suggest that only one bird from each nest fledged. This is what we have thought has happened in previous years but we cannot be 100% sure. The adult kingfishers continue to harass the Noisy Pitta along with Emerald Dove and Bar-shouldered Dove by dive bombing them, they certainly do not like ground dwelling birds who they must see as competitors for food.

 Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher - Juvenile

Papuan Frogmouth have continue to play hide and seek with only a couple of sightings early in the week. Sulphur-crested Cockatoo are still bringing their winging youngsters to the Lodge grounds where they chew off large numbers of branches and make a not so pleasant rasping call all day. Male Eastern Koel continue to come to the Golden Cane fruits and up to six Channel-billed Cuckoo are still around the Lodge. (Lesser) Sooty Owl was heard once during the week calling at 4.15am near the reception area. Dollarbirds are still around and the Noisy Pitta (2) are around each day foraging out the back of the units and reception area, no sign of any juvenile birds though. Spotted Catbird has also been hanging around and was being harassed by a pair of Olive-backed Sunbird one morning.

 Olive-backed Sunbird - Male

Barred Cuckoo-shrike returned after an absence of seven weeks, they were heard calling at the end of the week and Cicadabird remained still calling. Varied Triller were also very active as were the Little Shrike-thrush who were calling non-stop during a rain shower giving us a great rendition of their many vocal talents, such great songsters. A Grey Fantail was foraging along the edge of the rainforest and being chased by Spectacled Monarch. This was the first return of a Grey Fantail this season, the last sighting was the week of the 16th August 2009. Other migrants still with us include Black-faced Monarch and Metallic Starling. Plenty of Australian Brush-turkey (one of the three megapodes found in Australia) around with many juveniles of various sizes  appearing over the last few weeks. 

 Australian Brush-turkey - Juvenile

Further afield our neighbour Susanne saw an adult Southern Cassowary at the top of the Rex Range just before the top lookout (on the way from Julatten to Mossman), hope it does not continue to play around the road, not a good idea. Lovely Fairy-wren was seen along Wessel Road (near Abattoir Swamp), the start of Weatherby Road near Mt. Molloy and the Green Gate along Weatherby Road (also near Mt. Molloy) by our roving reporters Carol and Andrew.

Dragonflies were out in force with the wet weather but again I was not prepared to take good photos as I did not have the macro lens only the 300mm when I saw them. The resulting photos were not very good but good enough for a record shot until I get my act together. Tentative ID shown, please let us know if they are mis-identified.

 Charcoal-winged Percher (?)

 Painted Grasshawk (?)

Not much happening with mammals and reptiles mainly because we did not go spotlighting due to the rain arriving early evening, the frogs liked it especially Cogger's Frog which spent a few nights calling.


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