Sunday, 7 March 2010

7th March 2010 Report

Good news is that our phones came back on mid-week and are still on! A lightning strike at the local exchange was the cause of all the problems and most of the equipment had to be replaced.

What a contrast to last week with only 5mm of rain and plenty of sunny days. Temperatures ranged from 22ºC to 29ºC which was warmer than last week. Species numbers for the week were 71 bird species seen and 11 heard, slightly up on last week - mammals and reptiles were 16 seen plus one heard.

Australian Brush-turkey were more obvious with at least 6-8 adults and 3-4 juveniles roaming the grounds, Magpie Goose were heard and seen flying over on two occasions late evenings. Papuan Frogmouth were around early in the week but disappeared from regular roost sites later in the week. Australian Owlet-nightjar was seen peering out of a daytime roost when heading out to spotlight for owls. A Black-shouldered Kite was seen gliding over the Lodge grounds on a morning walk and a Whistling kite was not far behind. 

Two Red-necked Crake were heard calling to each other before being seen on the edge of the orchard where they were following a wet season water flow. One dodged out onto the path 2m away before taking one look at me and scurrying back into the rainforest undergrowth. A pair of Double-eyed Fig-Parrot flew over one morning which is all we are seeing at the moment, a quick fly by. Cuckoos are still around with Pheasant Coucal, Eastern Koel and Channel-billed Cuckoo seen and Little-bronze and Brush Cuckoo heard. (Lesser) Sooty Owl was once again heard but not seen and one Eastern Barn Owl was seen emerging from a traditional nest site one evening.

 Eastern Barn Owl

A Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher juvenile was spotlighted roosting in the open on a hanging vine, the first we have seen for the season. The adults are still vocal and flying around and pouncing onto the ground for insects. Rainbow Bee-eaters are still around in small numbers as are Dollarbirds. Noisy Pitta juveniles are around (at least two) and adults are vocal, one even calling at 3.30am! Spotted Catbird have been around with one coming to the feeder near the reception but chased off by Pale-yellow Robin and Spectacled Monarch who also saw off a Black Butcherbird lurking in the undergrowth one morning. 

 Spectacled Monarch

Both male and female Cicadabird were seen during the week calling. Lemon-bellied Flycatcher have been active in the Queensland Blue Gums (Eucalyptus tereticornis) in the adjacent Geraghty Park and the Metallic Starling nests, also in the park, now seem to be abandoned by the birds who are still around the area feeding themselves in preparation for the return journey to Papua New Guinea.

Not much else to report further afield but our roving reporters Carol and Andrew saw some Varied Sittella going to roost in a tree over Bakers Road in Mt. Molloy. This is a species which is not common in the area but has been seen around Abattoir Swamp, nearby Wessel Road and even in McDougall Road near the Lodge grounds on one occasion. They are more common on the southern and western Atherton Tablelands in the more open woodland areas such as found around Lake Tinaroo Dam and further west at Kaban.

A Little Shrike-thrush was disturbed in the orchard trying to catch the stick insect pictured below. The stick insect was rescued to survive another day. A quick look through “The Complete Field Guide to Stick and Leaf Insects of Australia” Brock and Hasenpusch (2009) failed to find the species but given more time it probably could be found there somewhere!

 Stick Insect sp.

Spotlighting this week found Northern and Long-nosed Bandicoot plus Bush Rat as well as the previously mentioned Eastern Barn Owl and Australian Owlet-nightjar. The bandicoots have been scarce over the last few months and only in the last week have a couple of Northern Brown bandicoot started to re-appear at the seed feeder. It was a quieter week for reptiles but we did find a sloughed skin from an Amethystine Python which was 3.42m (just over 11ft long) in an area we have found two previous skins, must be a traditional place to leave skins. As in previous weeks Striped Possum was heard during the night growling but not seen.

As reported in the last blog there has been plenty of action in a Golden Cane Palm (introduced species) with birds coming and going to feast on the ripening seeds. We've put together a few photos of some of the visitors below. 

 Eastern Koel (Female/juv)

Eastern Koel (Male)

Australasian Figbird (Female)

Australasian Figbird (Male)

Macleay's Honeyeater

 In addition to these birds there were Metallic Starling (juvenile in background of the male figbird photo), Lewin's, Yellow-spotted and Blue-faced Honeyeater plus Rainbow Lorikeet.


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