Sunday, 17 October 2010

17th October 2010 Report

Temperatures this week were slightly cooler than last week 20.0-27.2ÂșC, with most of the week overcast and dull apart from one sunny dry day. Rainfall was 28.5mm spread over 6 days. Bird sightings were slightly up on last week, which was very good considering the weather conditions, 84 were seen and 6 heard. Mammals and reptiles were 19 species seen, one less than last week.


There was only one major highlight this week and that was the return of the Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher from Papua New Guinea. Welcome home!


 Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher


After a report of one seen at Mission Beach, 1½hrs south of Cairns on Thursday 14th and another report of one across the Daintree River on the way to Cape Tribulation on Friday 15th at least three were calling in the dawn chorus on Saturday 16th  here. Red Mill House also reported them calling at the Daintree Village on the 16th. This makes them two to three days earlier than any other record we have since 1994. Does this mean a very wet ”Wet Season”?

Also on Saturday morning the first Dollarbird for the season was calling and seen well here, they have been in other areas further south for a few weeks. What other exiting things have been happening here? A Collared Sparrowhawk was seen chasing a honeyeater which it caught before flying up into a tree where it was dismembered and eaten, not so exciting for the poor honeyeater. Australian Owlet-nightjar was seen on several occasions peering out of its daytime roost and also spotlighted in Geraghty Park one night. During the dry periods the dragonflies have been emerging in quite large numbers, the Sapphire Flutterer below was one of them, don't dragonflies have much more imaginative names than most birds? 

 Sapphire Flutterer

Other comings and goings over the week included plenty of pigeon and dove activity with Brown Cuckoo-Dove, Emerald Dove, Peaceful Dove, Bar-shouldered Dove, Superb Fruit-Dove, Pied Imperial-Pigeon and Topknot Pigeon all calling and seen. The Superb Fruit-Dove was especially good to see as it perched out in the open on top of a broken branch calling for superb views! The Nankeen Night Heron-Heron juvenile reported two weeks ago was back at the Crake Pool during the week after being away for a week. Pacific Baza continue to sit in their nest with only the tail usually visible. Nankeen Kestrel were checking out their nest hollow but no signs of a second nesting event this year. Red-necked Crake continue to call throughout the week but despite two pairs in the grounds none were seen. Sulphur-crested Cockatoo have been feeding on the seeds of the African Tulip (native to sub-tropical west Africa and readily invades disturbed rainforests) in Geraghty Park and as can be seen in this image they always feed holding their food with the left foot.

 Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

Australian King-Parrot were around at the beginning of the week but disappeared for the rest of it. Eastern Koel and Brush Cuckoo have also been calling loudly during the day and night but seeing them has proved elusive yet again. Noisy Pitta have again been noisy and have been seen regularly. Spotted Catbird has been coming in and grabbing big chunks of banana off the feeder and flying off with it so they maybe feeding young. Lewin's Honeyeater have re-appeared with at least three coming to the feeder at a time of year they are normally absent. Graceful Honeyeater are usually seen feeding on the grevillea or eucalypt flowers at this time of year but occasionally doing something out of the ordinary like this one on a road sign, probably looking for spiders.

 Graceful Honeyeater

A single Bridled Honeyeater was in the orchard at the end of the week and a Noisy Friarbird was also heard along the edge of the orchard, both these species are not common at this time of year. White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike, Barred Cuckoo-shrike and Cicadabird have been active in Geraghty Park, across from the Lodge.

Also active in the same area and calling a lot have been a pair of Rufous Whistler.

 Rufous Whistler - male

 Rufous Whistler - female

White-breasted Woodswallow numbers have been building up as have Spangled Drongo. A couple of Rufous Fantail continue to stay in the Lodge grounds and have been joined by a pair of Willie Wagtail who have taken a liking to the rainforest edges. Black-faced Monarchs are not calling much but are coming down to Bushy Creek to bathe in the afternoons. Again Pied Monarch and Yellow-breasted Boatbill are calling and being seen regularly. Olive-backed Sunbird are feeding young in between admiring themselves in car wing mirrors and windows.

A full species list for the week can be found here

Spotlighting was held on a couple of dry evenings with good results, E. Barn Owl, A. Owlet-nightjar, Bush Stone-curlew, Fawn-footed Melomys, Bush Rat, a Diadem Leaf-nosed Bat hanging on a vine showing off its rufous fur with white spots, Striped Possum, Northern Brown Bandicoot, Spectacled Flying Fox and a few frogs, Jungguy Frog, White-lipped Tree Frog, Northern Dwarf Tree Frog, Dessert tree Frog, Dainty Green Tree Frog, Cogger's Frog and Cane Toad. Also a Boyd's Forest Dragon was on the side of a small tree asleep.

Further afield at Mowbray National Park a Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo was seen and a Large-billed Scrubwren was feeding a Little-bronze Cuckoo. Flying Fish Point near Innisfail (1¼ south of Cairns) turned up an Asian House Crow which was presumed to be a ship assisted arrival off a ship at the nearby sugar terminal at Mourilyan. Red-backed Fairy-wren have been at Abattoir Swamp 

 Red-backed Fairy-Wren - female

whilst appearing nearby have been White-headed Pigeon and Lovely Fairy-wren. Cairns Esplanade has been turning up Asian Dowitcher, Broad-billed Sandpiper and Red Knot amongst the many other waders (shorebirds) enjoying the mudflats. Yorkeys Knob Lagoon, (Cairns northern suburb) has at least four Australasian Darter nests on the island but not much else at the moment, however it is worth a look for a chance of Radjah Shelduck which are in the area. List for visit here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hooray, the buff-breasted paradise kingfisher has arrived....can't wait to try & see it. We leave UK on Monday and look forward to being with you on 12th November. The highlight in South West Wiltshire [county in UK] this week is a Lapland bunting - not quite as colourful as your kingfisher but it would be worth a 'twitch' if we weren't so busy packing our bags! Have re-read Sean Dooley's "Big Twitch" in preparation.
Alison, Amanda & Felicity