Sunday, 20 February 2011

20th February 2011 Report

This week was relatively dry with only 16.5mm of rain which was good for the continuing clean up. There were plenty of storms in the area but we managed to miss them for a change. Temperatures ranged from 21.2ºC to 29.8ºC with plenty of sunshine. Bird species recorded were 72 seen and 9 heard, reptiles and mammals were 16 seen.

The weeks bird species list is here

Brown Quail were calling from a paddock opposite Geraghty Park but not seen, not unusual with this species. Wompoo Fruit-Dove was again in the Golden Cane Palm behind the units and Superb Fruit-Dove were back calling after being absent since the cyclone. Papuan Frogmouth continues to roost in front of the reception area and the Pale Yellow Robin has not given up harassing it. An Australian Owlet-nightjar was heard calling from a Queensland Blue Gum in Geraghty Park at 7.30 one morning but not located. At least 10 Fork-tail Swift were soaring over the Lodge ahead of a storm front on the 18th. One Little Black Cormorant was fishing in Bushy Creek near the Mt. Kooyong Road bridge but no sign of any others. Whistling Kite, Black Kite, White-bellied Sea-Eagle and Nankeen Kestrel were raptors seen this week plus another unidentified small falcon like raptor was seen being chased off by two Sulphur-crested Cockatoo. One Red-necked Crake was seen foraging around on the edge of the rainforest near the rock wall along the path to the orchard early one morning. Rainbow Lorikeet have been see going in and out of a hollow in a Queensland Blue Gum and possibly nesting. 

Rainbow Lorikeet

Both male and female Eastern Koel have been in the Golden Cane and several Channel-billed Cuckoo have been flying around, probably getting ready for their migratory journey north. (Lesser) Sooty Owl and Eastern Barn Owl were both heard calling in the evening and early morning but not seen. Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher continue to fly around, the adults finding food for their youngster and some of the youngsters starting to feed for themselves. They juveniles are at various stages of development as this image shows, this one is more advanced than the one in last weeks blog (noticeably the longer tail).

Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher - juv

Blue-winged Kookaburra have been in Geraghty Park all week along with a pair of Forest Kingfisher seen going into a termite mound high up on a Queensland Blue Gum. Lets hope they are nesting. A few Dollarbird have been see this week after disappearing after the cyclone, they are probably getting ready to return north on migration. The Noisy Pitta adult was around with the two youngsters at the beginning of the week but became less conspicuous later on with only the odd sighting of the adult. Spotted Catbird continue to call and have been visiting the feeder near reception as well as our neighbours feeder. Cicadabirds are still calling and a male was seen foraging on the edge of Geraghty Park. A Rufous Fantail was foraging in the Lodge grounds which is the first for 11 weeks and Leaden Flycatcher are still feeding juveniles. Black-faced Monarch are still around and calling but will probably start migrating north soon with reports they have turned up north of us at Cooktown during the week. Probably the same female Victoria's Riflebird, we have previously reported flying into the neighbours windows, turned up in the Lodge grounds. A Grey-headed Robin was seen mid-week and heard calling, this is the first to return this year. Last year the first bird did not return until the 17th March and the only other year (in the last six) they returned in February was 2009 about the same time as this one. We presume the birds come down off the mountain range behind us, this includes Mt. Lewis. A few Metallic Starling including juveniles are still around and feeding in our Golden Cane Palm. Mistletoebird has been busy in his patch of mistletoe feeding and preening.

Mistletoebird - male

Reptiles and mammals were fairly quiet with sighting mainly confined to the area around the units. At least two Boyd's Forest Dragon have taken up residence in front of the units and one was seen taking some of the birds banana. One of the dragons chased a Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher when it pounced down too close in grabbing an insect; the kingfisher had its revenge when it bombed the dragon a short time later. Also a Major Skink has been making forays out from under the decking of the eating area to pick up any banana dropped by birds. A family of Bush Rat was at the feeder with two adults and at least three juveniles. An unidentified small snake was disturbed whilst cutting up a log and shot out from under the bark and disappeared very quickly.

Further afield the Eyebrowed Thrush returned after a few days absence to the flower farm in Malanda. We took the opportunity to head over and look for it and were rewarded with excellent views within two minutes of arriving. We spent 1½hrs watching it as it pounced down onto the ground in search of worms for which it was very successful. It spent its time resting in the orchard trees before spending about 10 minutes foraging on the grassy understory. The bird was wary of movement so we stayed at a distance and waited for it to approach us but it did not come any closer than 8-10m but that was good enough to get a few images. 

Eyebrowed Thrush

Eyebrowed Thrush

Also here was a few Pied Currawong availing themselves of the Persimmon fruit.

Pied Currawong

A full list of the species seen at the flower farm can be found here .

The nearby Hasties Swamp turned up two adult and one juvenile Cotton Pygmy-goose, this species has been declining on the Atherton Tableland over the past few years and is becoming increasingly difficult to find. A full species list for this visit can be found here. The road up to Mt. Lewis has been cleared and is accessible to 4WD vehicles as far as the 10km “clearing” where the track to the dam is located. However the track is covered in fallen trees, some quite large so this walk is probably not an option at the moment.

This interesting wasp was foraging around on a dead log.

Wasp sp.

Also in the same area as the wasp were a few dragonfly.

Pale Hunter - mating

Pygmy Wisp

Common Bluetail
If anyone is thinking of  moving up this way to Julatten the property opposite the lodge is for sale, details are on this link 


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