Bar-shouldered Dove have been pairing up with the males displays in full swing trying to attract the females. These two were foraging alongside a cane field nearby and making use of a cane stem which had partially fallen over.
Several Superb Fruit-Dove and Wompoo Fruit-Dove have been calling for most of the week, but nobody has actually seen them despite extensive searches. A small flock (20+) Topknot Pigeon descended into the orchard one morning to check out the Blue Quondong (Eleocarpus grandis) fruit which they found was not quite ripe yet, about a week away from ripening. Australian Owlet-nightjar was heard several times at night and early morning but no sightings in its long-time roost hole. Pacific Baza is still coming around, but only for a few days each week and no sign yet of nesting. Nankeen Kestrel have been around their nest site and an uncommon visitor here was a Brown Falcon which was surveying a cut cane paddock - they are more common out in the drier country up towards Maryfarms and Mt. Carbine. Red-necked Crake have just started to become more obvious with two pairs calling at dusk, one pair was near the Crake Pool in the adjacent rainforest and another pair was across Mt. Kooyong Road in the long grass opposite the camping area. Let's hope they emerge so we can see them! Buff-banded Rail continue to be seen foraging in the orchard and along Mt. Kooyong Road. Numbers of Scaly-breasted Lorikeet continue to increase as a few more eucalypts have started to come into flower. Double-eyed Fig-Parrot (male) were seen flying over, but not back in the Cluster Fig which does not seem quite ripe yet.
Brush Cuckoo has started to call around the Lodge grounds and Eastern Barn Owl continue to play hide and seek with us, one night a single bird was in its roost hollow, two nights later a pair were in the nest hollow and a day later only one bird in the nest hollow – all very confusing! Another pair were also seen emerging from a roost hollow across the Rex Highway opposite Geraghty Park.
Eastern Barn Owl at nest hollow
Spotted Catbird have been vocal with two coming in to collect banana at the feeder early morning mainly. The previously reported Yellow-throated Scrubwren is still with us and pair of Brown Gerygone continue to stay in our neighbours garden. A few Lewin's Honeyeater are still lingering on after their mates cleared off at the beginning of August and Scarlet Honeyeater are building up in numbers. Barred Cuckoo-shrike are still around in reasonable numbers but are gradually dispersing from the two fig trees they were feeding on due to them and Australasian Figbird eating most of the berries. Rufous Fantail are still around the Lodge grounds, but no sign of the Grey Fantail for several weeks which presumably have left to go south. Spectacled Monarch like so many other birds are chasing each other around and displaying in anticipation of mating. This one below was calling and displaying to another bird, the white outer tail feathers are very obvious and a good ID feature when in flight.
Pied Monarch and Yellow-breasted Boatbill are still showing well around the Lodge grounds and Lemon-bellied Flycatcher has also ventured into the grounds from their normal home in Geraghty Park. Pale-yellow Robin continue to sit on nests and the Grey-headed Robin must also be thinking of nesting as pairs are chasing each other and should depart for higher grounds soon. Metallic Starling are noisily building nests in Geraghty Park and swamping our water bowls when visiting to bathe. Olive-backed Sunbird are also nest building in a machinery shed near the Mt. Kooyong Road Nursing Home, just along the road from KFP.
A full list of the weeks birds can be found on the Eremaea Birds website here
Little Shrike-thrush are a common bird around the Lodge grounds as they forage on the ground and up into the tops of the trees, but for some reason some guests seem to confuse them with Large-billed Scrubwren. They are quite different apart from the colouration of rufous brown which can look similar. Large-billed Scrubwren are only 11.5-13cm whereas the Little Shrike-thrush are 17- 19cm and much more bulky in body. The Large-billed Scrubwren have a longish straight bill which at certain angles appears to point upwards and appear to be a uniform light to dark brown all over with a slight hint of a lighter coloured facial disc – not as pronounced as birds further south. Little Shrike-thrush bill is quite solid and mainly bone coloured (unlike the male Bower's Shrike-thrush which is all black, females and juveniles are a grey-bone colour which can lead to confusion amongst the shrike thrushes). Also Little Shrike-thrush plumage is not uniform brown, they have olive grey-brown upper-parts with more rufous-buff underparts. Large-billed Scrubwren are usually found in small feeding parties and can be found on the ground or high up in trees or vines. The Little Shrike-thrush are usually solitary or in pairs. The calls are quite different and can be found on the bird calls of Julatten and Mount Lewis CD that we stock, click here for more information.
Spotlighting turned up some good sightings with Striped and Green Ringtail Possum, Feather-tailed Glider – image below was best we could get as this tiny glider zips around the tree very quickly, you can just see his broad tail hanging down.
Also in the same tree (South American Sapote) was a Tree Mouse (Pogonomys sp.). Both Northern Brown and Long-nosed Bandicoot have been seen around the grounds and at the feeder near reception. Platypus has been seen late evening and also spotlighted with a pair being seen around 6.00am at least twice. Giant White-tailed Rat have been making a lot of noise with two chasing each other and a third, which was a juvenile, escaping out of their way and seeking refuge in a tree. One Amethystine Python was seen and a few Major Skink were around, two trying to mate and another walking through the reception area.
Further afield Black-throated Finch were seen building nests near a dam north of Mt. Carbine and Banded Honeyeater was also seen in the same area. Chowchilla on Mt. Lewis were seen carrying nesting material to a partially built nest and an unidentified thrush species (Bassian or Russet-tailed) was seen feeding a juvenile. Brown Golden Bowerbird (female or immature male) has been regularly seen on Mt. Lewis, still no adult males seen. Pied Currawong have been turning up on the coast which is unusual with several seen near Mossman and others seen at the Jindalba Boardwalk on Cape Tribulation where Noisy Pitta are fairly regular at the moment.