Sunday, 25 April 2010

25th April 2010 Report

More drizzle this week with sunny periods and 16.5mm in the rain gauge for the week. Temperatures were down to 20ºC and a top of 26ºC. Bird numbers were 74 bird species seen and 4 heard - mammals and reptiles were 17 seen and one heard.

Highlight of the week was as last week, a mammal, this time Green Ringtail Possum. Two adults with a very large juvenile were spotlighted in the orchard, which is the first time we have seen three green ringtails together. The rather large juvenile was clinging to one of the parents backs before climbing down onto a branch to sit beside it. The other presumed parent was a few metres away watching proceedings. Great to see they are breeding within the Lodge grounds.

 Green Ringtail Possum

There has been a bit of movement with the migratory species in the area over the last week. The first Australian White Ibis for the season turned up in a cow paddock just over the Rex Highway (Hwy44) from the Lodge. Other summer migrants which are still in the area include two male Eastern Koel, several Channel-billed Cuckoo, at least two Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher were still with us at the end of the week, 

 Rainbow Bee-eater

Rainbow Bee-eater numbers are up with several small flocks passing through and Black-faced Monarch were still feeding large juveniles. No sightings of Superb Fruit-Dove this week but with several fig trees in the area fruiting they may well have moved to them, Wompoo Fruit-Dove were present at the beginning of the week but had disappeared by the end. One Papuan Frogmouth was again in the orchard, sometimes hiding but the reliable Pale-yellow Robin found him for us a couple of times. Pacific Baza was around all week calling and foraging in the tree tops and White-bellied Sea-Eagle were again soaring over the grounds calling. Pale-vented Bush-hen and at least two Red-necked Crake were heard calling from a patch of grassy edged forest along the Lodge boundary with Mt. Kooyong Road but not seen.
Bush Stone-curlew have just started to come into the Lodge grounds and one was outside the reception area one night. 

 Bush Stone-curlew

(Lesser) Sooty Owl have been around again during the week calling early evening and early morning before going to roost. Several Barred Cuckoo-shrike are still around making use of fruiting fig trees and Cicadabird is still calling and both Yellow and Olive-backed Oriole have been feeding in fig trees and on palm seeds. An adult Black Butcherbird has been around giving some poor frogs a hard time. Grey Fantail is still in short supply with only one regularly seen around the lodge near reception, surprising not more have arrived as we saw small flocks on the Atherton Tableland a month ago. Grey-headed Robin numbers are still low with the local migrants still up at higher ground on Mt. Lewis.

Further afield a Dollarbird was seen on powerlines along the Bruce Highway at Palm Cove whilst we were going into Cairns; they appear to have all left the Julatten area with no sightings for two weeks. Five Dusky Woodswallow were seen at Hasties Swamp near Atherton by Alan Gillanders from Alan's Wildlife Tours, this is an unusual time of year at this site.

Several interesting insects were seen during the week including this female Common Eggfly butterfly.

female Common Eggfly

and this colourful caterpillar from an unknown (to us) species.


Access to Mt. Lewis is definitely four wheel drive at the moment with many boggy patches and a lot of pig damage chopping up the road. There has only been one sighting of Blue-faced Parrot-Finch over the last few weeks on the mountain but there has been reports of Russet-tailed Thrush calling up at 950m which is quite high.

Other interesting animals spotlighted during the week included Leaf-tailed Gecko, great views of Feather-tail Glider foraging on inflorescence in a Coconut Palm, frogs included White-lipped Tree Frog,  (this one was resting up during the day!)

White-lipped Tree Frog

Jungguy Frog, Northern Dwarf Tree Frog and Red Tree Frog. Bumpy Rocket Frog or Peter's Frog Litoria inermis was recorded during the week, this is a rarely observed frog at the Lodge. 

After talking to several frog experts the general consensus is that Jungguy Frog Litoria jungguy occurs at the Lodge and not the very similar Wilcox's Frog Litoria wilcoxii, both these species have been split from Stony Creek Frog Litoria lesueurii.

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