Sunday, 25 July 2010

25th July 2010 Report

Temperature range this week was 16ºC – 22ºC which was slightly cooler than last week. Drizzle and a few showers produced 9mm of rain, but like last week there were a few sunny breaks and again good birding. Bird numbers were one more last week, but again a different mix of birds with 79 species seen and 2 heard. Mammals and reptiles were 23 species seen which was three more than last week.

Before we get into the birds for the week we thought you might like to guess at a mystery bird pictured below, answer at the end of this weeks blog.

 Mystery Bird

A few unusual species turned up this week, four Black-shouldered Kite were seen several times flying, hovering and perched in a dead tree across the Rex Highway from Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge. At a  distance they appeared to be two adults and two juveniles, good to have them around as they are not common here. A pair of Brown Gerygone were in our neighbours garden. Whilst this species is not uncommon in the district they rarely turn up around the Lodge. Another occasional visitor was the introduced Nutmeg Mannikin, a small flock of 20+ were foraging on the ground near the neighbouring nursing home and seen later in the week along Mt. Kooyong Road opposite the Lodge grounds. Nutmeg Mannikin are more common on the coast especially along Cairns Esplanade and in Woolworths car park in Mossman! Also uncommon around the Lodge is Red-winged Parrot, two adults and a juvenile were foraging around Geraghty Park and a neighbours garden early in the week. These birds are more commonly seen in the drier country around Mt. Molloy and further north to Mt. Carbine and beyond.

At least one Wompoo Fruit-Dove continues to feed around the Lodge grounds and a pair of Brown Cuckoo-Dove have also been present. Papuan Frogmouth female has been seen roosting during the day and heard calling at night, probably trying to locate a mate with breeding season approaching. A pair of Nankeen Kestrels are still interested in their previous years nest tree hollow as they have been hanging around and inspecting it. A few Scaly-breasted Lorikeet seem to be returning after an absence, probably due to some of the local eucalypts starting to flower. A rather wet Pheasant Coucal was seen during a morning walk flying up to a tree branch to dry off. They are resident but usually hang around in the cane paddocks, which are now being harvested so probably displacing the birds which are locally known as a Cane Pheasant.

The Eastern Barn Owl juveniles were seen during the week to fly back to their nest tree and await food from the parents. We did not see them coming out of the nest hollow so we are not sure if they are still using this or they have left and are roosting elsewhere and coming back to be fed. Blue-winged Kookaburra have been showing well in Geraghty Park and a Laughing Kookaburra was seen in one of last years nest sites in a termite mound. If this bird was going to nest again here it would be extremely early in the season as they normally don't nest until November/December. The Spotted Catbird with one eye has been coming to the feeder and seems to be surviving quite well. A Great Bowerbird has been appearing at our neighbours house in the rainforest which is not their normal habitat, it is probably coming from about a kilometre away where a pair have a bower in cleared farmland country. The lone male Yellow-throated Scrubwren is still foraging in the rainforest around Bushy Creek and seen bathing in the creek late afternoon. A pair of Striated Pardalote appear to be feeding chicks in a nest in the bank of Bushy Creek. They were seen several times flying into the bank with food and also trying to tear apart a Large-billed Gerygone nest which was being built nearby overhanging the creek. Honeyeater numbers are picking up, especially Blue-faced Honeyeater who are regular at the feeder. These large honeyeaters are very smart with the bare parts of their head bright blue as the image below shows. 

Blue-faced Honeyeater - head

They are very gregarious and noisy when in small groups and often quite noticable to non birders as they hang around urban habitats and are very obvious. In the “Wet Tropic” area they are often called the Banana-bird as they feed on flowers and fruit of this plant, although around our feeder they seem to prefer the sugar water to the banana. 

 Blue-faced Honeyeater

Barred Cuckoo-shrike has again been heard calling but not seen unlike the Australasian Figbird which they often go around with, these have been very vocal and in small flocks around the Lodge grounds. This one below is foraging at a very popular takeaway which is now sold out!

 Australasian Figbird - male

Olive-backed Oriole has been calling and seen feeding on small black fruits around the Lodge grounds. An adult Black Butcherbird continues to be seen around the Lodge grounds skulking in the rainforest and a lone Spangled Drongo has been turning up to the feeder. Pied Monarch, Yellow-breasted Boatbill and two brown Victoria's Riflebird have also been regularly seen in the grounds. Grey-headed Robin (Wet Tropic endemic) has not been as obvious this year as in previous years but there are a few around and they are usually the first and last birds to call in the morning and evening. 

Grey-headed Robin

The single Chestnut-breasted Mannikin is still coming to the feeder. A full list of the weeks birds can be found on the Eremaea Birds website using this link

Spotlighting over two days during the week produced some good sightings with Tree Mouse and Striped Possum again seen feeding in the South American Sapote in the orchard. Green Ringtail Possum was seen once outside the units and a Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko was also spotted. Severn species of frog were found along with an Eastern Water Dragon and a Green Tree Snake. The Red-legged Pademelon was seen early in the week, again feeding in the orchard area.

Further afield there was good numbers of birds along one of the Mowbray National Park walks including Superb Fruit-Dove, Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo and Victoria's Riflebird. An Eastern Osprey nest at Lake Mitchell has two chicks in it.

Give yourself a pat on the back if you guessed that the mystery bird was an Orange-footed Scrubfowl. This one was actually roosting on a tree branch about 4m off the ground in the evening with its head tucked in which is not how we normally see them roosting. Normally they are just standing on an exposed branch 4-5m off the ground, something they seem to do for a few hours in the evening and early night before coming down and making a lot of noise for the rest of the night! They belong to the megapode family which build huge nests and bury their eggs in the top. Several nest mounds are within the Lodge grounds with the largest near Bushy Creek adjacent to our water pump, this one is generations old. This bird below is what they usually look like as they go about digging great holes in our gardens.

  Orange-footed Scrubfowl

No comments: