Sunday, 2 January 2011

2nd January 2011

We had 27.5mm of rain for the week on 5 rainy days. This bought the total for 2010 to 2239mm on 184 rain days compared to 2009 when we had 1616mm on 107 rain days.
Temperatures this week were 22.3-28.5ºC which was a higher minimum but 3ºc cooler during the day than the previous week. Bird species were down on last week with 73 seen and 8 heard (within 1.5km of the Lodge). Mammals and reptiles were also down with 16 seen and 1 heard (Green Tree Frog).

The weeks bird species list is here

Main highlight was our amazement at finding a pair of Pied Imperial-Pigeon building a nest near the top of a Queensland Blue Gum Eucalyptus tereticornis in Geraghty Park. Building in a eucalypt is not unusual but this far inland at an altitude of 450m is very unusual. If anyone knows of any other such records we would like to hear of them. By the middle of the week the nest was finished an they are now sitting in the nest which we will monitor to see if it is successful. Another highlight during the week was an Eastern Barn Owl which was first spotted on the ground on the edge of Geraghty Park being harassed by Spangled Drongo. It continued on foot trying to avoid the attentions of the drongos and looked like it was injured but it eventually flew up onto a branch and posed for a quick photo. In the background of the photo is a Pale Yellow Robin who joined in with the drongos harassing of the owl. With all the wet weather around it might have had a waterlogged daytime roost hollow which caused it to be out in the open during the day.



 Eastern Barn Owl



 With all the fruit-dove activity going on around the Lodge it made a pleasant change to actually see one instead of hearing them. A Superb Fruit-Dove, male, flew out of the Lodge grounds and landed on an open branch of the rainforest across Mt. Kooyong Road for good views of it calling. Papuan Frogmouth again proved hard to find but there were two sighting of a bird by the front entrance to the Lodge at night and another of a bird roosting in the rainforest outside the reception area, found by our friends the Pale Yellow Robin. Australian Swiftlet were in a mixed flock with Fork-tailed Swift on two occasions during the week, at least 40 fork-tails were present. White-bellied Sea-Eagle have been keeping a low profile in the area for a few weeks since they stopped calling but one was found sitting in a tree next to some ponding across the Rex Highway from Geraghty Park late in the week. Red-necked Crake has again been seen this week unlike the Pale-vented Bush-hen who have been heard calling with at least eight pairs around the Lodge area and grounds. A flock of 10 Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo were seen flying over the Lodge grounds heading south-west. Pheasant Coucal have become more obvious with the wet weather as they have been seen sitting in the open trying to dry off their wings. Several Channel-billed Cuckoo have been around all week calling. (Lesser) Sooty Owl was heard several times during the week, once about 4.50am outside the reception area where it called several times before moving off towards the orchard area and continued calling until around 5.30am when the Laughing Kookaburra fired up. A single Eastern Barn Owl has been seen coming out of their daytime roost and an Australian Owlet-nightjar was calling from an adjacent tree but not seen. 


A check of the Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher mounds early in the week found three nests with chicks calling, only recently hatched. One nest had 2 egg shells outside it. At least two other nests still have birds sitting plus another 4 have been dug out but no birds in when checked though birds were calling in the vicinity. If all these nests are occupied this will be nine nests which would be a record. Dollarbird continue to feed nestlings in their tree hollow nest in Geraghty Park and are more active at dusk. Noisy Pitta is still around and being seen intermittently and calling less than previous weeks. At least one Lewin's Honeyeater is still around as it has been heard calling and seen visiting the feeder for banana.

Lewin's Honeyeater

A pair of Australasian Figbird are sitting in a nest not far from the Pied Imperial Pigeon nest in Geraghty Park.  have small flocks of Spangled Drongo around the area. A juvenile Spectacled Monarch was seen during the week as well as several juvenile Pale-yellow Robin, both species are probably on their second brood for the year.

Spectacled Monarch - juvenile

A pair of adult Olive-backed Sunbird have been around with two juveniles in tow and Red-browed Finch are still building nests and appearing with young.

No organised spotlighting this week with this weeks observations from the feeder and a few guests. A Striped Possum was seen outside the units in the rainforest opposite which was a first for a few weeks. Six species of frog were seen and one heard (Green Tree Frog). The resident Boyd's Forest Dragon outside the unit is still present but another one was run over on the Lodge entrance road. This is the third one to be run over and one of the reasons we have a speed limit within the grounds, we ask all our guests to observe this. We will be putting up a reminder along the road.

On New Years Day we did our now traditional big day around the area but were restricted by the rainy weather and only reached 125 species way behind our best of 154 species. We will be putting up a full report in a special extra blog report later. Highlights of the day were Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, Noisy Pitta, several Bassian Thrush and seeing eight out of the 11 endemics on Mt. Lewis. At least six Blue-faced Parrot-Finch were present on Mt. Lewis, they were paired up and chasing each other before copulating. One copulation happened when one bird was hanging upside down on a branch whilst the other bird presented itself from the top of the branch, quite a novel way of copulation. This was the 4th visit we have made to this site since a report was published on the 16th of December on the Eremaea Birds site of at least 40 adults and many juveniles at this location. We have not observed any juvenile birds, only adult male and female birds with up to 16 present. Other observers have also commented to us that they have also not seen juveniles present. It is possible that juveniles are around but our previous studies over five years have not seen juveniles at this site until February but there was one exception when a juvenile was seen in October. With the weather and breeding events being unusually early in a lot of species this year anything could be possible!

Black-throated Finch were along the Kondparinga Road north of Mt. Carbine.

The wet and damp conditions have been good for fungi which the following images illustrate. Even using Bruce Fuhrer's book A Field guide to Australian Fungi we still have not been able to positively identify most of the species.

 Crinoline Fungi

 Fungi sp.

 Fungi sp.

 Fungi sp.

 Fungi sp.

 Fungi sp.

Fungi sp. (possibly Mycena ?)

Also of interest was this insect, the identity of which we are unsure possibly a type of Scorpion Fly? Any one out there know the correct ID?

Interesting moths have also been around in the wet including this one.

Finally of interest this week was a report in the December 2010 issue of the journal Corella regarding a Mountain Thornbill which we banded on Mt. Lewis in February 1990 and was re-captured and released alive at the banding place in February 2005 over 14 years and 11 months after banding. The bird was an adult when banded making it over 15 years old which is a longevity record for this species. Pretty remarkable that such a small bird has adapted to survive in the sometimes hostile environment of Mt. Lewis, they are a lot tougher than we give them credit for.

We wish everyone a Happy New Year, good birding and wildlife watching and hope to see some of you at the Lodge this Year.

1 comment:

Boobook said...

Fantastic blog. The fungi photo, in particular, are stunning.