Sunday, 12 September 2010

12th September 2010 Report


Temperature this week was a much warmer minimum than last week, down to 19.4ºC and a warmer top temperature of 26.8ºC, spring is here and summer approaches. Rain this week amounted to 3.5mm which fell over the first two days of the week, the rest of the week was very pleasant with plenty of sun and quite windy. Bird sightings were down on last week despite the good weather to 73 seen and 4 heard, but mammals and reptiles were one less than last week but still good with 20 species seen.

The changing weather conditions have bought about changing bird patterns as well, the outstanding highlight for the week was the return of the Noisy Pitta. They arrived overnight mid-week and immediately started calling both from on the ground and up in the trees proclaiming their territory. All the guests this week had good views of them. At the moment there only appears to be one pair, we usually have two. 

Welcome Home
Noisy Pitta

The other highlight was two guests who actually saw a Red-necked Crake as it scurried across the path to the orchard. Two pairs have been calling all week, one pair actually called from right outside the reception area as we were booking in a tour group, but they vaporised into thin air as we tried to find them. Numbers of Grey-headed Robin have dropped off this week and along with the Yellow-throated Scrubwren, presumably have started to go back to higher altitudes on the mountains.

An Orange-footed Scrubfowl who was being chased by another one sought refuge in a bookcase in our shop! 6+ Brown Quail who flushed from the side of the Rex Highway opposite Geraghty Park on a morning walk and Papuan Frogmouth who appeared in the orchard roosting everyday except one. The frogmouth was also calling most nights, still trying to find a mate. Australian Owlet-nightjar was seen sitting in a daytime roost once on a morning walk. Pacific Baza turned up at the end of the week calling and a White-bellied Sea-Eagle flew past KFP entrance 2m off the ground carrying a Barramundi from the neighboring fish farm. Pheasant Coucal, Little Bronze-Cuckoo and Brush Cuckoo were calling but not seen. A single Eastern Barn Owl was seen coming out of the nest tree while at least 4 more E. Barn Owl were seen and heard opposite Geraghty Park. Azure Kingfisher has been flying up and down Bushy Creek and Blue-winged Kookaburra has been in Geraghty Park. Large-billed Gerygone has been feeding young in a nest over Bushy Creek (reported in the 22nd August blog). A few Lewin's Honeyeaters and Barred Cuckoo-shrike are still around. Little Shrike-thrush have been seen building a nest in the rainforest and others seen feeding recently fledged juveniles. An Olive-backed Oriole was calling in the camping area and when tracked down was raiding another birds nest still singing! Pied Monarch and Yellow-breasted Boatbill are still calling well and being regularly seen. 

 Metallic Starling at nests

Metallic Starling are busy in the Lodge grounds collecting vine tendrils to build their nests, as shown in the image above. These birds are having a break from the almost non-stop effort of building. They are also coming in on mass to have a bath in the water bowls. Olive-backed Sunbird are still building nests and checking themselves out on guests car windows and wing mirrors.

A list of this weeks birds can be found on the Eremaea Birds site here

One spotlighting trip during the week found the previously mentioned E. Barn Owl, Feather-tail Glider, Long-nosed and Northern Brown Bandicoot and four species of frogs. 

 Long-nosed Bandicoot
A Striped Possum was seen early in the week raiding a Candlenut Tree and dropping the fruits onto the unit roof. Major Skink are out and about in greater numbers with the occasional one slipping and sliding across the office/reception floor.

Further afield Channel-billed Cuckoo were around Mt. Molloy, 3 Wedge-tailed Eagle were foraging in a recently cut cane field with 10+ Whistling Kite near Abattoir Swamp who were swooping them. White-browed Crake was seen at Lake Mitchell from the causeway. Along Pinnacle Road towards Mowbray National Park in Julatten a Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo was seen interacting with and feeding a juvenile. Near Abattoir Swamp in a patch of rainforest a Yellow-breasted Boatbill was feeding a juvenile. 

 Yellow-breasted Boatbill - juvenile

Male Golden Bowerbird has again been seen along with a brown Female/sub-adult on Mt. Lewis. The road has dried out with the drier weather and is again accessible with care.

We were fortunate to have an afternoon off last Sunday to attend a book launch. Cliff and Dawn Frith were launching their latest book “Birds of Paradise – Nature, Art and History” which is a fantastic book covering the Birds of Paradise natural history, place in human art and culture, history of discovery and the people, art and artifacts involved. 

The images of living birds are great and reproductions of fine rare artworks from the 16th to 21st century are fascinating. This group of birds has captivated people from all over the world and this book brings all the information together from the beautiful to the bizarre, there is plenty of previously unpublished information and something new to learn on nearly every one of the 370 pages. We have copies for sale in our shop for $88.00 plus postage. More information will be available at Dawn and Cliff's website which is currently under construction but should be finished by the end of the month.

As mentioned last week I'll be away at the Australian Birdfair next weekend so the blog will not be published on the Sunday.

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