Sunday, 11 April 2010

11th April 2010 Report

After 18 days of almost constant rain and drizzle which resulted in 332mm, the sun came out this week and only 64.5mm of rain fell. We missed out on the heavier falls in the area, in particular Daintree Village which had 318mm of rain in one day! Anyway we are all drying out now and enjoying the sunshine. Temperatures ranged from 21ºC - 26ºC which was a bit cooler than previous weeks due to the cloud cover.  Bird numbers were 74 bird species seen and 8 heard - mammals and reptiles were 13 seen.

Highlight of the week had to be the fruiting fig tree across the road from the Lodge on the edge of Geraghty Park. This fig tree was attracting some good birds including Wompoo Fruit-Dove, Superb Fruit-Dove (Male & Female), Double-eyed Fig-Parrot (Male and Female), Eastern Koel (Male and Female), Channel-billed Cuckoo, Barred Cuckoo-shrike, Lewin's, Yellow-spotted and Macleay's Honeyeater plus Silvereye. 

 Wompoo Fruit-Dove

Up to eight Wompoo's were in the tree at any one time chasing off anything smaller than themselves, in particular the Superb Fruit-Dove. Channel-billed Cuckoo numbers in the fig were up to 12 at anyone time. The fig is still fruiting so there should be plenty of fruit for this coming week.

 Channel-billed Cuckoo

A single Papuan Frogmouth returned for two days at the end of the week to what used to be its regular roost site last year on the edge of the orchard. Red-necked Crake was heard but not seen despite some intensive searches and Pale-vented Bush-hen has also been heard but they are not venturing out of the long grass. Sooty Owl has also started calling early evening or a few hours before dawn but not seen yet. The odd Dollarbird is still around and at least two Noisy Pitta have fired up again, calling during the day spasmodically. Cicadabird have not moved away yet and are still calling. A brown Black Butcherbird has been hanging around annoying all the other birds and a lone Grey Fantail was flitting around the units one afternoon, no sign of any others yet. Lemon-bellied Flycatcher has been very vocal and flitting around the tops of the eucalypts feeding young.

The wet weather has caused some birds to come roosting around the buildings, the three photos below show roosting birds, one on a chair, another in a pot plant, both along the veranda outside the units and another on the TV aerial under the eves of the roof. Can you guess what they are? Answer at bottom of blog.

The fine weather at the end of the week bought out the Major Skink who were around the reception area and a Boyd's Forest Dragon who ran across the lawn on its back legs.

Further afield in Cairns there were Australasian Darter nesting on the Yorkeys Knob Lagoon along with several pairs of Green Pygmy-goose. Several Little-bronze Cuckoo were duetting and a pair of Bush Stone-curlew were roosting in the grass opposite the lagoon. There were at least four pairs of Eastern Osprey sitting in nests between Port Douglas and Cairns, mainly on communication towers. The nest at the ambulance station on Anderson Street in Cairns also had an osprey sitting in it.

We've had a few requests asking what camera equipment we use. Images are taken with a Canon 7D or 40D, usually with 7D these days as it is a far better camera than the 40D. Lenses are usually 300mm F2.8 with 1.4 tele-convertor or a 100-400mm F5.6 zoom lens. Macro/close-up is done with a 100mm F2.8 macro lens or sometimes with the 300mm or 100-400mm lenses when caught out photographing birds! The macro lens is usually used with the Canon twin flash MT-24. Other lenses used are 70-200mm F2.8 and 16-35mm F2.8. Living in the tropics is a problem as fungus gets into lenses very quickly so they are kept in a de-humidified cabinet in a de-humidified room but even this does not guarantee fungus stays out.

The birds roosting were Macleay's Honeyeater, a “Wet Tropic” endemic and this is what they really look like!

No comments: