Sunday, 15 August 2010

15th August 2010 Report


Temperature range this week was even cooler than last week down to 12.8ºC and only up to 24ºC. Rain this week amounted to 14mm on three wet days but by the end of the week it was dry with sunny days and great birding weather. Bird sightings were up on last week to 87 seen and only 1 heard. Mammals and reptiles were the best so far this year with 25 species seen.

Good sightings this week included a lone Topknot Pigeon flying around in circles over Geraghty Park looking decidedly lost and a single female Double-eyed Fig-Parrot foraging 2m away in a fruiting fig tree.

Wandering Whistling Duck were heard flying over at night and Magpie Goose who were also flying over one night were spotlighted. Brown Cuckoo-Dove and Wompoo Fruit-Dove were feeding around the Lodge grounds and Papuan Frogmouth was only seen twice. A single Straw-necked Ibis flew over an adjacent cane paddock which was the first sighting for over a month, definitely not many around this year. Pacific Baza was calling on a few days and must be getting near to nesting. Nankeen Kestrel was sitting up in its nest hollow one morning and possibly sitting on eggs. Buff-banded Rail has just started to become more obvious as they forage along the road and in our neighbours garden. 

Buff-banded Rail

 A pair of Little Bronze-Cuckoo (Gould's) have been seen around the Lodge grounds several times this week foraging and calling. The Eastern Barn Owl parents seem to have moved on their three offspring as the are not around the nest site now. The two adults were seen on their own at the end of the week perched near their roost site calling to each other. 
Azure Kingfisher has been zooming up and down Bushy Creek as well as perching at the Crake Pool for good looks. Blue-winged Kookaburra have become more vocal this week and busy flying around Geraghty Park. A Great Bowerbird was also seen in Geraghty Park feeding on some fruit of a small bush before it flew across the Rex Highway to a nest in a fork of a tree. It started to fiddle around with the nest but we were not sure if it was its own nest or it was robbing another birds nest. Yellow-throated Scrubwren, male, continues to stay with us and a pair of Large-billed Gerygone have finished building their nest over Bushy Creek. The Striated Pardalote reported feeding young last week are no longer coming to the nest and presumably the youngsters have fledged. 10 species of honeyeater were around the Lodge grounds feeding mainly on locally planted Grevillea species such as this Macleay's Honeyeater feeding on a cultivar,one of the Honey Gem family derived from Grevillea 'Robyn Gordon'.

 Macleay's Honeyeater

The Macleay's Honeyeater are becoming bolder each day demanding to be fed; as I came out of the reception area one landed on “Fruits of the Tropical Australian Rainforest”, a book I was trying to identify some fruit in that a guest had seen on Mt. Lewis, demanding to be fed. Others have even flown into reception and landed on the counter when they hear you in there! They don't always get their way and have to spend some time out in the grevilleas fending for themselves which they happily do when food at the feeder is not forthcoming. 

 White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike

White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike and Barred Cuckoo-shrike have moved into a couple of fruiting fig trees along with many Australasian Figbird. 

 Barred Cuckoo-shrike

Also in the fig trees has been Varied Triller, Olive-backed Oriole, Spangled Drongo, Silvereye, Metallic Starling and Mistletoebird. Black Butcherbird has been around again along with a single male Leaden Flycatcher. Spectacled and Pied Monarch along with Yellow-breasted Boatbill are still calling and being seen well. Lemon-bellied Flycatcher are over in Geraghty Park and the Pale-yellow Robin reported last week is still sitting on its nest. Grey-headed Robin are still around the Lodge grounds but should start to think about heading back to higher ground soon. Metallic Starling are building nests in their traditional site at Geraghty Park with 50+ birds around.

A full list of the weeks birds can be found on the Eremaea Birds website using this link

It has been an exceptional week for Mammals and reptiles with Tree Mouse again seen along with Striped Possum whilst spotlighting plus a Green Ringtail Possum seen perched in a tree high up during the day. Those people who persevered and stayed at Bushy Creek until it became dark or raised themselves out of bed before light were rewarded with sightings of a Platypus as it foraged along the edge of the bank looking for crustaceans. Several frog species enjoyed the short spell of rain during the week to come out of hiding and show themselves; these included Jungguy Frog, White-lipped Tree Frog, Northern Dwarf Tree Frog and Cogger's Frog. A Northern Leaf-tail Gecko was spotted high up in a tree and a Boyd's Forest Dragon was clinging to the side of a tree. Major Skink, which we have not seen since the beginning of May, appeared near the bird feeder to retrieve a piece of banana dropped by a bird. An Amethystine Python was seen in the orchard and a Green Tree Snake surprised a guest in the camping area as it shot out of the nearby vegetation to grab a White-lipped Tree Frog right alongside where she was sitting before carrying of its trophy back into where it came from.

Butterfly's have started to re-appear in bigger numbers with Cairns Birdwing and Ulysses Butterfly being the most obvious but the Red-banded Jezebel has also been around in big numbers.

Red-banded Jezebel

Further afield a trip to High Falls Riverside Restaurant, 15 minutes drive north of Mossman on the way to Daintree, to celebrate our fifth year anniversary at the Lodge produced a few good birds. The restaurant overlooks Whyanbeel Creek and a tropical fruit orchard which was attracting lots of Bridled Honeyeater, a female Satin Bowerbird, Yellow-spotted Honeyeater, Helmeted Friarbird, Brown Cuckoo-Dove, Emerald Dove and Yellow Oriole which was not too bad as it was pouring with rain. Oh the lunch was great too! Golden Bowerbird was heard on two consecutive days but only a female bird was seen on Mt. Lewis. Square-tailed Kite was in the Mt. Molloy area. A Brush Cuckoo was calling at Abattoir Swamp which is not usual at this time of year.

After years of suggesting to our friend Fred van Gessel that a CD to aid visitors identify calls at Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge and Mt. Lewis area would be a good idea we finally have one from him, thanks Fred. This is an exclusive CD for sale at the Lodge and contains high quality calls of 56 species which are listed below. You can order them through our secure online booking form, cost is $25.00 plus post and packing.

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