Sunday, 11 July 2010

11th July 2010 Report


Temperature range this week was 19-23ÂșC which was slightly warmer overnight than last week. Drizzle and a few showers produced 9mm of rain which mainly fell at night. Several sunny days allowed some good birding resulting in the same number of birds as last week, but with a different mix, 84 bird species were seen and 23 mammal and reptile species recorded, this was the highest number for sometime.

One highlight for the week was the return of three Straw-necked Ibis for the first time this year, normally they return April/May but the flooding rains of inland Australia probably allowed good breeding opportunities for them along with many other waterbird species. This has resulted in very few waterbirds in our area this year. Another highlight was seeing seven raptor species, Pacific Baza, White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Whistling and Black Kite, Brown and Grey Goshawk plus Australian Hobby.



 Pacific Baza

Topknot Pigeon have been around again this week but only one sighting of two birds and a couple of Wompoo Fruit-Dove are still making a living around the lodge grounds. 

 Wompoo Fruit-Dove

A Papuan Frogmouth has continued calling this week and seen on a few days, roosting. As well as the Straw-necked Ibis a small flock of up to six Australia White Ibis have been flying over on their way to our neighbours fish farm. Double-eyed Fig-Parrot continue to fly over once or twice a week in pairs but as yet we don't know any accessible fruiting fig trees in the immediate area that they may be feeding on. Several Australian King-Parrot were around for a few days, these are winter visitors to the Lodge. The Eastern Barn Owl juveniles mentioned last week are now flying small distances from the nest and both parents are bringing in food.

An adult Spotted Catbird was reportedly seen feeding a juvenile bird near the reception area feeder which would be a very late breeding record; however we suspect it was a male feeding a female which is performed after copulation. Ten species of honeyeater were recorded including the return of Scarlet Honeyeater after a few months absence. Barred Cuckoo-shrike were heard calling during the week, they have also been away for a few months, so something must be fruiting in the area to attract them back. The immature brown Black Butcherbird featured earlier in the year is still around and was chasing frogs this week out the front of our accommodation units. 

 Black Butcherbird - immature

A single Chestnut-breasted Mannikin made a brief appearance at the seed feeder one afternoon and has not been seen since. A full list of the weeks birds can be found on the Eremaea Birds website here

Spotlighting highlight for the week was a Red-legged Pademelon in the orchard, this species used to be regularly seen in the Lodge ground until about 8-10 years ago when they dissapeared. They are found a few kilometres away along Carr Road but we have very rare sightings of them now in the Lodge grounds. The damp weather bought a few frogs out with six species seen and many Long-nosed and Northern Brown Bandicoot were taking advantage of the recently mowed and softer ground to dig up the orchard area. One Fawn-footed Melomys was seen after being absent for a few weeks and a juvenile Giant White-tailed Rat has shown up at the feeder also. The image below is of an interesting Cricket sp. (identified as such by long feelers but we could be wrong) was spotlighted in the rainforest.

Cricket sp. (?)

Reptiles also made a come back this week with a 2m long Amethystene Python suprising one guest by hiding under a seat cover and nearly getting sat on! A Green Tree Snake upset the birds who were scolding it as it climbed through the vegetation near the reception area and a Boyd's Forest Dragon posed beatifully for a photography group who took some great images of it. An Eastern Water Dragon was sunning itself along Bushy Creek on a dead log one afternoon, they have not been seen for a few weeks and probably don't like the cold water!

Further afield Bridled Honeyeater was at Abbatoir Swamp and Black-throated Finch were north of McLeod River. Del Richards from Fine Feather Tours reported 3 Broad-billed Flycatcher near Port Douglas and a Painted Button-quail at Lake Mitchell earlier in the month, he also reported a Square-tailed Kite at Lake Mitchell this week. A Pied Imperial Pigeon was reported at Yungaburra which is unusual inland and also at this time of year. These last two sightings have been posted onto the Birdline North Queensland section of the Eramaea Birds website.

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