Sunday, 30 May 2010

30th May 2010 Report

A very dry week with no rain, sunny and overcast days with temperatures down to 19ºC and a top of 25ºC. Bird numbers were 74 bird species seen and 1 heard - mammals and reptiles were 13 seen.

(Lesser) Sooty Owl was calling one morning at 5.45 before going to roost. It started calling in the evening in the rainforest behind the units and was seen flying over before disappearing in the direction of nearby Geraghty Park. Not sure what they are up to at the moment as they have only been calling very infrequently and not appearing regularly.

Australian King Parrot made an appearance for one day as did a Pacific Baza who was calling constantly for nearly half an hour. Australian Wood-duck also appeared at our neighbouring Barramundi Farm after a prolonged absence. Whistling Kite continues to sit in a nest in one of our other neighbours blocks and a pair of Nankeen Kestrels continue to hang around the previous years nest site. Bush Stone-curlew have been very vocal around the edge of the Lodge grounds and several were seen in Geraghty Park. An Emerald Dove was walking around the reception area well after nightfall one evening, which is something we have noticed before. Maybe they are evolving into an Emerald Night Dove! A pair of Double-eyed Fig-Parrot were seen flying around a eucalyptus tree before disappearing and not seen again. Not much fruiting for them at the moment in the local area. A female Eastern Barn Owl was seen emerging from last years nest site and perching for good looks before a male flew in and they both disappeared into the nest hollow. They re-emerged a few minutes later and flew off. A pair of Blue-winged Kookaburra upset the Laughing Kookaburra by encroaching into their territory and causing a singing contest (if you can call a kookaburras call singing!) announcing the disputed territory. The blue-wings eventually retreated and calm was restored. Forest Kingfisher numbers seem to be increasing, good breeding year locally.



 Forest Kingfisher (female)


A Noisy Pitta called during the week, once at 9.55pm, but was not seen. 10 species of honeyeater were recorded and all seen feeding on flowering Mistletoe which is one of very few food resources available to them at the moment. An adult Black Butcherbird has been lurking around in the Lodge grounds and judging by a few anguished cries from frogs, feeding on them. Several pairs of Pied Monarch were seen bathing in Bushy Creek and foraging on the edge of the rainforest. A female Victoria's Riflebird was also foraging in the rainforest surrounding the orchard and also bathing in a bird bath in front of the units.

Mammals and reptiles for the week included Striped Possum who were very noisy calling and seen in the rainforest. Northern Brown Bandicoot, Bush Rat and Fawn-footed Melomys continued to come to the feeder. Frogs seemed more at home in doors this week with two White-lipped Tree Frog Litoria infrafrenata sharing our quarters and at the end of the week three in our toilet. Two Peter's Frog Litoria inermis have been hanging around the shop and a Jungguy Frog Litoria jungguy was trying to get into the kitchen. One Major Skink was seen hurrying back to his home under a dead tree trunk, the first for a while.

 Major Skink

One of our orchids in front of the units has come into flower, it actually fell off the tree is is on earlier in the year and we tied it back on. As you can see from the images below it survived and is now showing three flower heads. We were told it was a Cooktown Orchid but somebody recently said it was not as it had white edging to the flower but it was a dendrobium sp.– any ideas?

 Dendrobium sp.

 Dendrobium sp.

Further afield on the Atherton Tableland we found some of the higher altitude species including Bridled Honeyeater, which are an attitudinal migrant in the winter. They have only made a few appearances at the Lodge this year but were common in the rainforest at around 1000m.

 Bridled Honeyeater

Also common was Victoria's Riflebird, we have had only one sighting at the Lodge (450m). We found Brown Gerygone at 1000m whereas in our area we only see them on the lower slopes of Mt Lewis and other rainforest areas below about 600m, probably some habitat differences preventing them going to higher altitudes in our area.

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