Sunday, 31 October 2010

31st October 2010 Report

What an amazing week, no rain, plenty of sunshine, great temperatures – 19.2º to 29.4ºC which was warmer than last week. Absolutely ideal birdwatching conditions. Bird sightings were good with 79 seen and 9 heard. Mammals and reptiles were also good mainly due to an increase in the amphibians (frogs) which was surprising considering the dry conditions.


Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher has been calling and seen more often this week with some birds coming down low. At least one pair have started digging out their nest chamber in the termite mounds. Noisy Pitta have also started to show more hopping around out in the open areas. This is partly due to eventually getting the long grass in the orchard mowed as the ground dried out sufficient to get the mower in and the possibility that they are feeding young as one bird was seen carrying worms in its bill. This is early if they are nesting, about a month early.

Superb Fruit-Dove have once again frustrated guests with their calling but not showing. Wompoo Fruit-Dove have been seen as have Pied Imperial Pigeon and Topknot Pigeon. Brown Cuckoo-Dove have been in the rainforest at the edge of the orchard feeding on berries.

Brown Cuckoo-Dove

Papuan Frogmouth were roosting in the orchard area at the beginning of the week but by the end they had disappeared, hopefully they have started nesting. They are calling most nights as have been the Australian Owlet-nightjar who have not been showing at their daytime roost. A lone Australian White-Ibis flew over one morning, a species we have not seen for a few weeks. Pacific Baza has been sitting on its nest all week and the local pair of White-bellied Sea-Eagle have been soaring overhead and calling a lot. With a restart of cane harvesting at the end of the week Whistling and Black Kite along with a very scruffy Wedge-tailed Eagle who was in moult were attracted to the possibility of scavenging unfortunate animals who were caught up in the cutting machinery. Red-necked Crake were also calling a lot but not seen. Double-eyed Fig-Parrot are nesting in the lodge grounds and a female was seen peering out of its nest hole one morning and a pair were seen feeding on a  Fig tree nearby on the same morning.

Double-eyed Fig-Parrot

Dollarbird have been calling and pairing up and Spotted Catbird have been feeding nestlings. Large-billed Gerygone have been re-visiting the nest they build a few months ago and carrying food. The outcome of the original breeding event was not know but as they are feeding young again in the same nest its possible the first attempt was not successful. Lewin’s Honeyeater are still around and Scarlet Honeyeater have returned. The odd Barred Cuckoo-shrike is still being seen and both male and female Cicadabird are being seen with an effort required to track them down. Little Shrike-thrush were seen feeding a very recently fledged juvenile bird who was having difficulty hanging onto a vine.

Little Shrike-thrush

White-breasted Woodswallow are back at the old Magpie-lark nest and continue to re-furbish it with small twigs. Torresian Crow are busy trying to ward off the attentions of Channel-billed Cuckoo who are following the crows trying to parasitise them. Black-faced Monarch are calling well as are Yellow-breasted Boatbill and Pied Monarch. Lemon-bellied Flycatcher have been actively hunting along the edge of the Lodge grounds in the eucalypts. Golden-headed Cisticola have been calling from the cane fields which is something they have not been doing for at least four months. Fairy Martin also returned after an absence and Metallic Starling juveniles have started to appear showing their white streaked breasts. Chestnut-breasted Mannikin have started to come to the seed feeder along with the usual Red-browed Finch. This one below is pulling a funny face!

Chestnut-breasted Mannikin

A full species list for the week can be found Here

Seven species of frog and toad were seen this week, Striped Marsh Frog, Jungguy Frog, White-lipped Tree Frog, Northern Dwarf Tree Frog, Dessert or Red Tree Frog, Cogger’s Frog and Cane Toad. Boyd’s Forest Dragon and Eastern Water Dragon have been showing well and a few Major Skink have been around. Platypus are still showing well in the early morning and late evening.

Striped Marsh Frog

Further afield White-eared Monarch was seen on the lower slopes of Mt. Lewis by Del Richards from Fine Feather Tours, Barking Owl was at Big Mitchell Creek on the way to Mareeba, Superb Fruit Dove, Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher and Victoria’s Riflebird have been showing at Mowbray National Park, the Emerald Creek (near Mareeba) pair of White-browed Robin were seen feeding a juvenile. On the Daintree River boat tours Pale-vented Bush-hen, Black Bittern and Little Kingfisher are being seen.

More fungi have been appearing this week.

Fungi sp.

Fungi sp.

This interesting moth also turned up this week.

Moth sp.

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