Wednesday, 22 September 2010

19th September 2010


The blog is a few days late this week due to being away at the Australian Birdfair in Leeton, New South Wales over the weekend. A report on the birdfair will be on next weeks blog.


Temperatures this week were a much warmer minimum than last week, down to 19.4ºC and a warmer top temperature of 26.8ºC. 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 one less than last week, due to less effort in tracking them down, 73 were seen and 3 heard. Mammals and reptiles were 18 species seen.

The changing seasons were reflected in the first sightings of two summer migrants, a Channel-billed Cuckoo flew over the Lodge, they have been in nearby Mt. Molloy for the previous 10 days. 

Channel-billed Cuckoo

Also a single Pied Imperial-Pigeon showed up, it will be interesting to see if we get large numbers like last year up here away from the coast. Wompoo Fruit-Dove and Superb Fruit-Dove were also in the same tree as the Pied Imperial Pigeon but only gave very brief glimpses. Papuan Frogmouth continues to call at night but has been unsuccessful at attracting a mate so far. Pacific Baza was seen carrying nesting material but not to the previous two years nest tree and White-bellied Sea-Eagle was seen heading away from the barramundi farm with yet another fish. A Grey Goshawk was flying over the adjacent cane farm one morning. Red-necked Crake was seen a couple of times scurrying over one of the paths to the orchard and also calling but not as much as previous weeks. 

 Red-necked Crake

Pheasant Coucal, Little Bronze-Cuckoo and Brush Cuckoo are busy calling with only the Brush Cuckoo seen. Eastern Barn Owl were active around their nest hollow with at least another pair in the area calling. Azure Kingfisher has been busy up and down Bushy Creek and occasionally in the Crake Pool. Noisy Pitta is calling well, quite often high up in the trees proclaiming their territory making them difficult to find but they are being seen on the ground regularly. The image below shows one in a tree, last weeks image was on the ground.

Noisy Pitta

Still the odd Lewin's Honeyeater around and a few Barred Cuckoo-shrike. Grey Whistler is in full song calling loudly, mainly in the morning. Pied Monarch has been seen regularly bathing in Bushy Creek in the afternoon but also hopping up and down tree trunks and branches around the orchard area. Only a couple of Grey-headed Robin sightings this week and none calling so this maybe the last we see of them for a while. Metallic Starling and Olive-backed Sunbird continue to build nests.

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

Some of the reptiles are starting to get more active as the weather warms up with Boyd's Forest Dragon, Eastern Water Dragon, 

 Eastern Water Dragon

Major Skink, Lace Monitor and an Amethystine Python seen over the week. The Lace Monitor was good to see as it crossed through the cookshed and into the rainforest as we have not seen one for nearly a year. A few frogs started to call at the end of the week when the rain started and the Platypus is still being seen regularly. A juvenile White-tailed Rat was seen in the rainforest during the day looking very awkward as it staggered across the forest floor. This species of tree rat is not normally seen during the day but it might have been one that was moved on by the parents or was in bad health.

Further afield a Black-faced Monarch, summer migrant from Papua New Guinea, was seen near Abattoir Swamp carrying nesting material. This is the first one we have heard of in our immediate area so they should turn up at the Lodge any day. Also at the same area as the monarch were three White-headed Pigeon feeding on a rainforest tree (Litsea sp.) fruit which appeared to be green, this is an uncommon species in our area. These pigeons are more likely encountered on the more southerly areas of the Atherton Tableland around Yungaburra, which is at a higher altitude than us although they are seen high on Mt. Lewis occasionally. 

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