Sunday, 21 November 2010

21st November 2010 Report

This week was overcast, sunny and rain, heavy at times. Some rain fell during the night but Friday afternoon was quite heavy with a total of 68mm for the week. Luckily the weather did not stop birdwatching or spotlighting. Top temperature was 29.8ºC and down to 20.9ºC. We recorded 79 bird species seen and 9 heard, mammals and reptiles were 21 seen. 

The weeks bird species list can be found here

Newly fledged birds continue to appear with more juvenile Pale-yellow Robin foraging and being fed whilst another pair of adults are building a nest. The pair of Pacific Baza continue to feed two hungry mouths who are growing rapidly. Two Bush Stone-curlew with two chicks were hanging around in the camping area which is unusual as we don't often get them in the Lodge grounds. They are quite common around the area but prefer to stay out in the more open areas. 

 Bush Stone-curlew - adult + 2 chicks

Buff-banded Rail had at least 3 chicks in our neighbours Barramundi Farm, Macleay's Honeyeater are bringing a few juveniles into the feeder, Red-browed Finch as always have juveniles with them. A Great Bowerbird was seen taking nesting material to a nest across the Rex Highway from Geraghty Park, first nest we've seen of this species. Double-eyed Fig-Parrot and Laughing Kookaburra are feeding nestlings at nests within the Lodge grounds. Noisy Pitta are still feeding at least two juveniles but also collecting nesting material for another nest! Willie Wagtail have three fledged youngsters they are trying to keep food supplied to and Olive-backed Sunbird have laid two eggs in a previously used nest in our neighbours garden and are busy sitting.

A very juvenile Spotted Catbird was found on the ground along the edge of the orchard with no sign of parents around. Several Laughing Kookaburra were eying it off, so they were chased away. Whilst doing this the catbird disappeared into the long grass and was found later in the day back out on the edge of the grass but unfortunately dead with no sign of injury, guess it starved as it was incapable of flying and getting its own food. Hard life being a young bird. Meanwhile nearby, a pair of Spotted Catbird are building another nest, maybe the parents of the unfortunate youngster who abandoned it.

Spotted Catbird - juvenile

Apart from all this nesting activity other sightings include a lone Topknot Pigeon high up in a tree near the Mt. Kooyong Nursing home. Australian Swiftlet have been around and an unconfirmed White-throated Needletail was reported mixed in with them, no sightings of them so far this season. Papuan Frogmouth has been calling from within the rainforest at night and also one day when it was overcast and raining, but no sightings. Little Pied and Little Black Cormorant were seen heading to the Barramundi farm where they no doubt were chased out. A pair of Nankeen Kestrel have been sitting on the power pole ladders along the Rex Highway outside the Lodge, they are there most mornings looking out for a meal. Red-necked Crake are still calling, but not seen this week - a possible sighting got everyone excited until it turned into an Orange-footed Scrubfowl (nice bird but far more common). Channel-billed Cuckoo have been more vocal this week as have been the Eastern Koel and Little-bronze Cuckoo. Sooty Owl has been heard calling in the early hours of the morning and searched for when we had to get up at 4.00am to serve breakfast to one of our tour groups. It was high up in a eucalypt tree making its full vocabulary of calls, but could not be found.  It eventually flew out the back of the tree before calling again some distance away. Anyway it is good to know that at least one is around the area and hopefully will start showing itself again after disappearing for several months.

Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher are now showing well and coming down low as they are excavating nest sites in their termite mounds. Everyone has been getting good views of them displaying, mating and foraging on the ground. Still only three mounds excavated out. Blue-winged Kookaburra have been venturing closer to the Lodge grounds along Mt. Kooyong Road which is about the limit of their territory before they meet up with the Laughing Kookaburra. Fairy Gerygone are coming down low in the rainforest to eye level which is not their normal height, they are usually in the tops of the canopy. A single Lewin's Honeyeater showed at the feeder late in the week after seeing none for nearly two weeks and Scarlet Honeyeater have also been lower down than the tops of the eucalypts for good views, especially the males with their stunning red heads. 

 Scarlet Honeyeater - male

Yellow-breasted Boatbill have been calling a lot in the area last weeks juvenile was in so hopefully the little bloke is surviving. Golden-headed Cisticola have been perched on the top of the grass along Bushy Creek and the neighbouring cane field for good views, especially early morning with the sun on them. 

 Golden-headed Cisticola

Spotlighting was limited to one night this week with the highlight being a Striped Possum gnawing away at a dead tree trunk. Also of interest was Little Red Flying-fox high up on the Blue Quondong Eleocarpus grandis trees, appearing to be eating the fruits; it is a few years since we last saw one here. Last weeks mystery rat sp. was identified as a Canefield Rat by one expert. Only one sighting of it this week along with several Fawn-footed Melomys

Bush Rat - adult and one juvenile

Several sightings of Platypus at the normal late afternoon early morning time slot but unusually one was seen at 10.00am swimming up stream. Frogs were not as numerous which was a surprise given the rain we had, plenty calling but few showing. Boyd's Forest Dragon continues to hang around the restaurant eating area out front of the units and is usually found clinging to a tree or running across the lawn on its hind legs. One Green Tree Snake was seen crossing Mt. Kooyong Road, this was a first for a while.

Further afield we had a report of 3-4 Blue-faced Parrot-Finch at the 10km clearing on Mt. Lewis on the 12th November by one of our guests, none have been seen there since. An Oriental Cuckoo was recorded by Del Richards from Fine Feather Tours along the Mt. Lewis Road and he also reported Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo on the Lower slopes of Mt. Lewis – possibly three. Northern Fantail continues to put on a show at Abattoir Swamp car park and a White-browed Crake was along the edge of the swamp.

The Wonga Beach Barramundi Farm has become a reliable place to see Radjah Shelduck which are still at the salt water ponds. Trish and Andrew from Red Mill House in Daintree Village have asked us to pass on the following “We are currently negotiating with the Barramundi Farm with the view of gaining access for birders. It is disappointing, and also not helping our efforts, when we find that birders have been entering the property without approval. Could you please pass on to all birders that you come into contact with that this property has not given permission for birders to enter, and to do so is selfish and disrespectful. It also jeopardises talks that are ongoing and which could be beneficial to all”. So please if you go looking for them view them from the road and respect the owners property.

Once again interesting fungi has been appearing with the damp conditions, a selection below.

Pycnoporus coccineus ?

Pycnoporus coccineus ?

Interesting how this fungi grows, firstly in a horseshoe pattern before overlapping.

Polyporus arcularius ?

 Fungi sp.

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