Sunday, 24 October 2010

24th October 2010 Report


Temperatures this week were slightly cooler than last week 19.2-26.9ÂșC, with three sunny dry days which was a major highlight. Rainfall was 58.5mm spread over 4 days. Bird sightings were slightly down on last week, but were very good considering the continuing wet conditions, 82 were seen and 9 heard. Mammals and reptiles were 19 species seen which was the same as last week. 


Highlight for the week was actually seeing a Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher after a week of looking! They have been calling all week, but very difficult to track down. The problem when they first arrive is that they are establishing territories and are staying up high in the mid-level of the canopy. The one we saw was about 6m off the ground calling and we suspect it was one of a second wave of arrivals at the end of the week. They appear to be well established in many places with reports coming in from our area of them being seen. Another highlight was that the lone Papuan Frogmouth stopped calling early in the week and investigations revealed that at last it had found a mate! The two frogmouths were found roosting together on the edge of the orchard, let’s hope they get together and start nesting now.

Pacific Baza continue to sit on their nest with the one in the image below circling overhead one morning.

Pacific Baza

Other birds in or on nests included Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, two Little Shrike-thrush, Spectacled Monarch and both Spotted Catbird and Macleay’s Honeyeater taking large amounts of banana away from the feeder probably to feed their young. A pair of White-breasted Woodswallow was refurbishing an old Australian Magpie-lark mud nest at the beginning of the week, but at the end a pair of Australasian Figbird appeared to be drinking out of it! Must have collected water from the downpour we had.

Australian Owlet-nightjar was seen peering out of its daytime roost and also spotlighted sitting on a railing in Geraghty Park one evening. A Buff-banded Rail was seen early one morning at the Red-necked Crake pool, maybe we should rename the pool? Cuckoos have been calling all week with only Brush and Channel-billed Cuckoo seen, the others heard were Pheasant Coucal, Eastern Koel and Little Bronze-Cuckoo. Eastern Barn Owl were seen one evening with two coming out of a daytime roost, a single bird in another roost tree and an adult and juvenile perched in another tree. Dollarbird have been calling as have Noisy Pitta with both seen well during the week. Noisy Pitta have quietened down and not calling as much now, maybe they have started nesting. Lewin’s Honeyeater numbers continue to increase with up to seven birds coming in to the feeder which is unusual at this time of year and also calling. Recently fledged Macleay’s Honeyeater appeared at the feeder whinging and begging for food, but ended up feeding itself. Bridled Honeyeater were calling for two days this week and must have come down off the mountains due to the cloudy wet weather. Cicadabird have been calling and seen well again. Varied Triller of the Cape York race yorki have been calling and becoming more active, the image below shows the female of the Cape York race.

 Varied Triller -female

Spangled Drongo numbers have also been increasing through the week and a couple of Rufous Fantail are still here and Leaden Flycatcher are back and calling. Black-faced Monarch are pairing up and calling more so they maybe preparing for nesting.

Weekly bird species list can be found here.

Fawn-footed Melomy’s have been appearing at the feeder in the evening and staying longer than normal. They are constantly on the move with very brief stops for food unlike the Bush Rat which sit in hollow logs munching on seed or outside the log for extended periods. Platypus have been putting on a show again in the morning and evening with two adults seen together and their youngster surfing downstream with the current in Bushy Creek. Seven species of frog were seen as well as two Boyd’s Forest Dragon who were occasionally on the same tree and one was actually sitting on our front door mat for a while! Several young Eastern Water Dragon were seen on the rocks alongside Bushy Creek and a few Major Skink emerged into the sunshine to build up some energy. A Saw-shelled Turtle was found in a garden area digging a hole to bury its eggs. This turtle can eat the Cane Toad and its tadpoles without any apparent effects from the toads toxins. 

Further afield at Mowbray National Park Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo, Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher, Lovely Fairy-wren and a roosting Green Ringtail were seen. Pale-vented Bush-hen were heard near the Nine Mile roadhouse at the top of the Rex Range on the road from Mossman. A single Rajah Shelduck and a Black-necked Stork were at Lake Mitchell (Quaid’s Dam/Southedge Lake).

 Black-necked Stork - female

North of the McLeod River 50+ Black-throated Finch and several Squatter Pigeon were along the edge of the road one afternoon.

The damp weather has encouraged the fungi to appear such as the ones in the following images.

 Filoboletus manipularis

 Crinoline Fungus

As you can see there are a few flies on the fungi, attracted by the smell which is described as rotting meat or sewage - we don't disagree with this!

 Coral Fungi sp.

 Fungi sp.

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