Monday, 8 November 2010

7th November 2010 Report

The big news this week was that we were presented with a Wet Tropics Management Authority Cassowary Award for Nature Based Tourism! Hence the late appearance of the blog as we had a day off to receive the award which was presented at Wildlife Habitat at Port Douglas. The awards recognise individuals and groups who have made outstanding contributions to the conservation and presentation of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.

The only Cassowary you are likely to see at the Lodge!

The weather was not quite as good as last week as we had 4mm of rain, but most of the week was dry and sunny with similar temperatures to last week 19.2ºC – 29.2ºC. Bird sightings were good with 78 seen and 4 heard, mammals and reptiles were 18 seen.

A full species list for the week can be found Here

Highlight for the week was a Noisy Pitta feeding a juvenile bird which is very early in the season to have young. Last season they were still feeding young in the nest in January and fledglings in February, so fledglings in November is very early. The pittas are searching for food in the orchard and showing well with everyone getting good views. Spectacled Monarch were feeding fledglings in February and now there have been some seen being fed last week which is very early, so maybe they will nest a second time. Pacific Baza have started feeding their young in the nest and also bringing in new nest material to spruce up their untidy nest. 

 Pacific Baza with nest material

The baza's are having to run the gauntlet of up to six White-breasted Woodswallow which are harassing them and keeping them away from the nest for long periods.

A flock of Magpie Goose were heard flying over one night honking away. Brown Cuckoo-Dove are feeding in Tobacco Bush with at least five birds present one morning. Papuan Frogmouth have only been at their usual roost twice this week with both the male and female birds sitting within 2m of each other. They are still calling most nights and no sign of any nesting activity has been seen. Cattle Egret numbers have increased with at least 300 gathering in a paddock opposite KFP one evening, most in breeding plumage. White-bellied Sea-Eagle have been active, soaring overhead and calling a lot. Red-necked Crake was briefly seen hurrying through the rainforest near the track to Bushy Creek from the orchard late one afternoon and has also been heard calling every night. 

Scaly-breasted Lorikeet numbers have been building up as more trees are starting to flower and Double-eyed Fig-Parrot were seen at least once. An Eastern Koel, female, was showing well one morning perched high up in a tree behind the accommodation units, but no sign of the males despite hearing them calling. Channel-billed Cuckoo have started to call more frequently after keeping quiet for a few weeks, maybe they have laid their eggs. Azure Kingfisher has been zipping up and down Bushy Creek most days and perching well for good looks. Dollarbird has been calling and displaying in Geraghty Park with at least six individuals soaring around. Also in the park were three adult male Rufous Whistler displaying to one female. The males were chasing each other around, perching then head bobbing and arching with their tails cocked up. Needless to say the female was taking no obvious notice. 

Rufous Whistler - female

Spotted Catbird was seen feeding a very recently fledged bird who was having trouble maintaining balance on a branch. Lewin's Honeyeaters are still hanging around and a few Bridled Honeyeaters have been calling and showing on the grevillea flowers. White-throated Honeyeater are more visible, calling and feeding on flowering eucalypts as well as looking for lerps (small sugary insects).

 White-throated Honeyeater

A male Cicadabird has been calling and spending a lot of time chasing off Australasian Figbird, not sure if they are nesting yet. 

 Australasian Figbird - male

A single Rufous Fantail was foraging high in the rainforest canopy and was the first sighting for several weeks. An Olive-backed Oriole showed itself after many weeks of calling and hiding from us, it was mimicking several other bird species calls as it went about feeding on some small fruits. Golden-headed Cisticola have been calling and showing in the neighboring cane fields and Mistletoebird has been tending his mistletoe which is now coming into full flower and attracting the honeyeaters as well.

Fawn-footed Melomys are coming to the feeder more often lately, better they eat our seed than our car radiator hoses! 

 Fawn-footed Melomys

A Green Ringtail Possum was seen roosting in a tree over the bunkhouse one afternoon but not located since. Northern Brown Bandicoot females are carrying very large babies in their pouches 

 Northern Brown Bandicoot

Two juvenile Platypus have been swimming past the viewing area as well as two adults most mornings and afternoons. They are bad time keepers and are not turning up at any set time in the evening and early morning, you just have to be patient to see them. Spectacled Flying-Fox numbers have increased in the orchard at night feeding on a few fruits including the Blue Quondong. Several Boyd's Forest Dragon are still showing well around the grounds and an Amethystine Python was on the ground beside the track to Bushy Creek from the orchard one evening.

Further afield a Great-billed Heron was reported from Bushy Creek at the beginning of the Mt. Lewis Road; we have records of them along Bushy Creek in August and October. A male Golden Bowerbird was seen flying across the track beyond the tin miners dam on Mt. Lewis. Squatter Pigeon was along the Emerald Creek Falls Road east of Mareeba, also at Emerald Creek was a Rufous Owl and the White-browed Robin that was reported from here a few weeks ago is still feeding a juvenile. A pair of Spotted Harrier were along the Malanda to Atherton Road and can be expected in this area at this time of year.

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