Sunday, 22 August 2010

22nd August 2010 Report

Temperature range this week was not quite as cool as last week, down to 15.8ºC but only up to 24.2ºC. Rain this week amounted to 2.5mm on one wet day with mainly dry, sunny days and great birding weather. Bird sightings were up on last week to 95 seen and 4 heard. Mammals and reptiles were again good this week with 22 species seen.

The best sighting around the Lodge this week was two Red-necked Crake foraging in the orchard, about time they appeared! Also foraging around was a single Buff-banded Rail. Double-eyed Fig-Parrot has been seen foraging in a nearby Cluster Fig and a female was digging out a nest hollow in a neighbours garden whilst the male supervised, normal behaviour. A Dusky Moorhen was in one of the nearby swamps in McDougall Road which is an uncommon visitor here. Another uncommon visitor was Lovely Fairy-wren seen foraging in our neighbours garden near Bushy Creek one morning. They have been seen in this area previously but only once or twice a year.

Nearby wetland areas have been getting a few waterfowl on them with Magpie Goose, Wandering Whistle Duck, Australian Wood Duck, a pair of Green Pygmy-goose, Pacific Black Duck, a few Australasian Grebe and even a Black-necked Stork in a paddock opposite the entrance to the Lodge. Several other waterbirds were seen flying over including, Australasian Darter, Little Pied and Little Black Cormorant, Eastern Great and Intermediate Egret and White-necked Ibis. Wompoo Fruit-Dove are still around and Superb Fruit-Dove have started calling with at least one around the grounds. A few Topknot Pigeon continue to be seen flying over but probably will not come down to the Lodges rainforest until the Blue Quondong Eleocarpus grandis start fruiting which should not be too far off as they are covered in green fruit at the moment. Papuan Frogmouth showed once during the week but was probably hiding in a patch of dense rainforest as the Pale-yellow Robin was scalding something in this area near the normal roost. 

Pacific Baza has been around calling but no sign of nesting at previous years site yet and a pair of White-bellied Sea-Eagle have been displaying and calling. They were sitting beside Bushy Creek calling to each other looking a bit scruffy as the wind was blowing their feathers when this image was taken late in the week. 

 White-bellied Sea-Eagle

A Grey Goshawk was on the ground in a neighbours garden before flying up into a low tree for excellent looks and then heading across a paddock into some riverine vegetation. The pair of nesting Nankeen Kestrel flew in one morning with one going to the nest hollow and the other perching nearby. A partly harvested cane paddock afforded a Pheasant Coucal the opportunity to sit along the edge of the cane sunning itself one morning before dodging back into the cane when we came along. The pair of Little Bronze-Cuckoo (Gould's) mentioned last week are still around and seen a couple of times during the week.

The Eastern Barn Owl were seen several times during the week coming out of their usual daytime roost except for once when one emerged out of a different hollow in the same tree. Whilst the pair were getting acquainted and preening after a day in their small hollow a third bird flew in at which point the adult male put on what we interpreted as a threat display with wings outstretched and drooped with tail fanned and pointing up but no calling. This caused the third bird to retreat and the female to go back into the roost hollow. First time we have seen this behaviour. One of the presumed juvenile Eastern Barn Owl was seen roosting in the open on a fig tree near the Mt. Kooyong Nursing Home where it had lots of Australasian Figbird and Barred Cuckoo-shrike for company during the day. After a couple of days it had enough and disappeared!

Our Yellow-throated Scrubwren is still with us and regularly seen bathing in Bushy Creek and the pair of Large-billed Gerygone who built a nest over the creek have still not occupied it but are foraging around the immediate area. There is still the odd Lewin's Honeyeater with us and a few Scarlet Honeyeater have started to appear. This Dusky Honeyeater was performing acrobatics to get some nectar out of the grevillea flower before being chased off by the more aggresive Macleay's Honeyeater.

Dusky Honeyeater
A few juvenile plumaged Spectacled Monarch have been seen around the grounds with this one having a bath. 

Spectacled Monarch - juvenile

Pied Monarch and Yellow-breasted Boatbill are still calling and being seen regularly. Pale-yellow Robin nesting season is in full swing now with one nesting on the frond of a Calamus, Lawyer Vine. The nest is not in the usual place of at the junction of the frond and trunk but part way along the frond with a rather flat construction instead of the normal funnel shape. Not very experienced nester's! Grey-headed Robin are still around and calling well. Metallic Starling are very busy collecting vine tendril's around the Lodge grounds before flying off to their colony in Geraghty Park when construction is full on.

A full list of the weeks birds can be found on the Eremaea Birds website here

Mammals and reptiles were slightly less than last weeks record number, mainly due to less frog species recorded due to the drier weather. Two Striped Possum were seen in different places and an 2m Amethystine Python was moving through the undergrowth on the same night. A Northern Leaf-tailed gecko was seen high up in a tree and maybe not coming down low like they were a few weeks ago making seeing them difficult. A Platypus has been seen on several occasions but not at a regular time so patience is needed to see one. Major Skink have been seen in a few places other than around the bird feeder and look like they are becoming more active. Boyd's Forest Dragon have been seen chasing each other around on the forest floor and up trees.

Further afield a trip out to a dam north of the McLeod River on the way to Cooktown to look for an Australian Painted Snipe seen the day before (see report here) produced a few good birds including Black-throated Finch, Cape York form of the Brown Treecreeper, Crested Pigeon, Diamond Dove which is not regular here, 

 Diamond Dove

Rainbow Bee-eater 

 Rainbow Bee-eater

and usual dry country birds such as Weebill, 


Grey crowned Babbler, Apostlebird, Pied and Grey Butcherbird. A few dragonfly's were around and this one was taken with a 300mm F2.8 lens which produced an interesting coloured background.

Dragonfly sp.

 A Little Eagle was soaring above the highway between Mt. Carbine and Maryfarms north of Mount Molloy on the way back from the unsuccessful snipe search. Blue-faced Parrot-Finch continue to be seen but in reduced numbers as their food source is becoming less and they maybe moving to other areas back towards the foothills of the ranges. Banded Honeyeaters are also still in the area but moving around in response to flowering eucalypts. A few Channel-billed Cuckoo have been reported from the Daintree Village area and Pied Imperial Pigeon have been seen along the coast near Port Douglas and Cairns, early arrivals.

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