The sun stayed out for the first half of the week before some more drizzle but only 9mm for the week. Temperatures were down to 21ºC and a top of 26ºC. Bird numbers were 76 bird species seen and 6 heard - mammals and reptiles were 19 seen.
To start off the week we have put up a mystery bird to test your identification skills, answer at bottom of blog.
Highlight for the week was the re-appearance of a Striped Possum out the front of the units one evening. It ran around in the vegetation giving good views. One was also seen later in the week chasing a Green Ringtail Possum. The (Lesser) Sooty Owl was very vocal during the week and was seen late in the week along Mt. Kooyong Road on the edge of the Lodge grounds high up in a Queensland Blue Gum.
Wompoo Fruit-Dove and Superb Fruit-Dove were again in a couple of fruiting figs in our neighbours garden along with two Barred Cuckoo-shrike. Eastern Koel were also still around (2 males + 1 Female) feeding up before heading north to Papua New Guinea. Papuan Frogmouth was roosting in the orchard at the beginning of the week but disappeared again at the end. Pacific Baza was around for two days after an absence of several weeks and a White-bellied Sea-Eagle flew over clutching a Barramundi stolen from the local fish farm. Red-necked Crake again proved elusive with no sightings but one group of at least four calling in the orchard and another two calling in a patch of rainforest between the Lodge grounds and the Rex Highway.
Bush Stone-curlew ventured into the lodge grounds in front of the units one night and woke up some of our guests, this is unusual as they rarely come into the Lodge grounds, preferring to hang around the perimeter. A pair of Australian King-Parrot were in the adjacent Geraghty Park early in the week before disappearing. Small flocks (10+) of Channel-billed Cuckoo are still around trying to decide when to go north, they appear to be all juvenile birds. Little Bronze-Cuckoo have been vocal with several sightings of Gould's Bronze-Cuckoo (now lumped with the Little Bronze-Cuckoo; Christidies and Boles 2008) around the Lodge grounds.
Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher numbers have dropped off during the week; we suspect some have started their journey north back to Papua New Guinea, which is earlier than previous years by about 2 weeks. Dollarbirds were also not sighted and they may have all passed through also on migration north. Noisy Pitta has been calling during the day and also at night with one calling about 3.00am, they have also been seen mainly in the rainforest but one hopped past the units one morning. Two Brown Gerygone were seen along Bushy Creek which is unusual as they are not normally around the Lodge. They are in the vicinity along the lower slopes of Mt. Lewis, nearby Carr Road and Abattoir Swamp.
Cicadabird are still calling which is late in the season for them and Varied Triller are still feeding juveniles. Both Grey and Rufous Fantail were seen this week so hopefully numbers will start to build up. Black-faced Monarch have not gone north yet with one still feeding a juvenile which is late in the season. Grey-headed Robin are around in small numbers but with the prospect of cooler weather approaching there should be more coming down off the higher altitudes of Mt. Lewis.
Spotlighting produced the previously mentioned Striped and Green Ringtail Possum as well as Sooty Owl. Other interesting sightings included Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko, six species of frog and Northern Brown Bandicoot.
Other reptiles seen were Boyd's Forest Dragon, Eastern Water Dragon, Major Skink and Green Tree Snake.
Further afield an adult Southern Cassowary was on the Mt. Lewis road around 600m altitude, a Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo was seen on the lower slopes of Mt. Lewis and Satin Bowerbird was in Mt. Molloy.
With all the wet weather various types of fungi have been showing well, even a few luminous fungi spotted at night. Below is a selection of some of the fungi currently on view. The identifications are tentative as we are no experts. ID taken from A Field Guide To The Fungi Of Australia A.M.Young (2005)
Microporus xanthopus (?)
Microporus xanthopus (?)
Trametes versicolor (?)
Sceroderma polyrhizum (?)
Pycnoporus coccineus (?)
The mystery bird was a juvenile Orange-footed Scrubfowl who had been digging in the mud, hence the mud on his head. They must have a poor survival rate as we see many of this size and very few any larger. The adults actively chase them off from the minute they dig themselves out of their nest mound. If they are lucky and survive they turn into an adult like the one below, very efficient diggers!