Sunday, 13 February 2011

13th February 2011 Report

The clean up from the cyclone continues and gradually the Lodge is getting back to normal but heavy rainfalls are slowing us down. We did get three dry days but still had 206mm for the week with the orchard area going under water again but not for long. We have now had over 1000mm for the year so far. Temperatures ranged from 21ºC to 28.7ºC. Bird species recorded were 77 seen and 4 heard, reptiles and mammals were 18 seen and 1 heard.

This weeks bird list can be found here

A Pacific Black Duck was seen flying over one morning in company with a Channel-billed Cuckoo! An odd combination. Two Brown Cuckoo-Dove were in the orchard looking a bit lost and wondering why one of their feed trees was lying down. A Wompoo Fruit-Dove was feeding low down in the Golden Cane Palm behind the units late one afternoon. Pied Imperial Pigeon are also regulars in this palm along with a male Eastern Koel and a few Metallic Starling which have not returned to their nesting colony in Geraghty Park. 

Eastern Koel - male
A Papuan Frogmouth is still roosting outside the reception area in the rainforest patch and has to put up with Pale Yellow Robin visiting throughout the day and scalding it, the family of three are still roosting in the nursing home grounds but have less vegetation to hide themselves in. Two Black Bittern were seen along McDougall Road in a flooded paddock, obviously enjoying the heavy rain. Comb-crested Jacana are still in the McDougall Road swamp. 

Comb-crested Jacana

Whistling Kite are still around and a Black Kite was attracted to a road kill along the Rex Highway. Two Pale-vented Bush-hen were calling in long grass beside Geraghty Park and the Rex Highway when two chicks flew out and disappeared into a patch of grass further along the road, nice to know they are breeding in the area. A pair of Scaly-breasted Lorikeet flew over Geraghty Park, these were the first we have seen for a few weeks. A male Little Bronze-Cuckoo was foraging in Geraghty Park and several Gould's Bronze-Cuckoo were calling high up in the remaining rainforest canopy. A Juvenile Brush Cuckoo obligingly posed for a few photos when it hopped up onto a fallen branch after foraging on the ground. 

Brush Cuckoo - juvenile

Brush Cuckoo - juvenile

Brush Cuckoo - juvenile

 Rainbow Bee-eater have been around in Geraghty Park perching on the exposed eucalypt branches.

(Lesser) Sooty Owl continued to call evening and early morning and we actually saw one flying over whilst another was calling nearby, great to have two around, hopefully a pair. Eastern Barn Owl was heard most evenings and seen once. Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher continue to be seen foraging on the ground and feeding juveniles when they are not dive bombing Noisy Pitta and a juvenile Orange-footed Scrubfowl. One juvenile Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher took shelter on our veranda when it got waterlogged and could not fly very well. We put it back into the forest near its nest and the adult bird came down to feed it. A few days later we saw one which could have been the same bird perching on the nearby washing line.

Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher - juvenile

The adult Noisy Pitta (female) and two juveniles in tow has been spending more time around the deck eating area and adjacent rainforest patch in front of the units this week. Rather nice to sit down to breakfast and watch them fossick around, the juveniles are starting to gather food for themselves rather than rely on parents. Spotted Catbird have fired up and are calling each morning with occasional forays to the feeder. Numbers of honeyeater are beginning to build up at the feeder as they are finding it hard to get natural food with all the rain and the aftermath of the cyclone. Macleay's Honeyeater are most numerous with many juveniles being fed, then Lewin's, Yellow-spotted, Graceful and Blue-faced. Cicadabird are still around and calling well and Black Butcherbird is also calling well. Leaden Flycatcher are still feeding young and the female Victoria's Riflebird which flew into our neighbours window last week did the same trick this week but no harm done. A pot plant has now been put in front of the window and hopefully stopped this happening again.

Whilst watching the (Lesser) Sooty Owl fly over, a crashing in the trees revealed a Striped Possum leaping from one side of the road to the other near our water tank. Great to see they are still around after the cyclone; it's five weeks since we last saw one. 

Striped Possum
A rather wet Long-nosed Bandicoot was in our neighbours garden during the day and had probably been forced out of its daytime den by the flooding. Once again the frogs are in their element with the Cogger's Frog and Dainty Green Tree Frog competing to see who can make the most noise, the Striped Marsh Frog has no chance! A Major Skink made a rare appearance at the feeder near reception but quickly disappeared under the deck eating area.

Further afield the main interest was around Malanda on the Atherton Tableland where an Eyebrowed Thrush was found, this got the “twitchers” excited. We were flooded in and did not fancy the long trip through Cairns beside we had too much work here getting our water supply fixed after the pump went under water. This is now up and running again. The image below shows the pump with the Orange-footed Scrubfowl mound in the background. This went under water and is now a bit smaller than it was.

Water Pump beside Bushy Creek.

The closest distribution, for the Eyebrowed Thrush, to Australia is the Greater Sundas (including islands of Sumatra, Java, Borneo, and Sulawesi ). Have not heard any reports for a few days as to whether it is still there or moved on. An overnight trip to Cairns earlier in the week to replenish supplies (before we heard about the thrush), allowed us to visit the Cairns Esplanade. Apart from a little sand erosion you would never know there had been a cyclone pass by. The city was looking back to normal apart from the odd branch hanging up in a tree. Not much in the way of birds to report on the mudflats, small numbers of the following:- Red-necked Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Eastern Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwit, Gull-billed Tern, Eastern Reef Egret (grey phase), Silver Gull and Masked Lapwing. A few Varied Honeyeater were foraging in the trees along with Pied Imperial Pigeon and Common Myna were hopping along the footpath. A few Barred Cuckoo-Shrike were foraging at the beginning of the Mt. Lewis Road (no reports about access along this road yet but suspect it is impassable).

This Shield Bug was sheltering from the rain on our kitchen wall. 

Shield Bug sp.

And this Dragonfly, which we have yet to identify was perched on a wet grass head.

Dragonfly sp.


Jeff said...

I think your unidentified dragonfly on the grass head might be a newly emerged Palemouth. Compare with which shows a female. Males develop powder blue colour after emerging.

Keith and Lindsay Fisher said...

Thanks Jeff for your ID. This makes sense as there are plenty of adult Palemouth around in the area.