Sunday, 27 February 2011

27th February 2011 Report


This week started off dry and ended up wet, we had two dry sunny days before 170mm of rain fell in 24hrs. We ended up with 202.5mm of rain for the week but managed to mow the camping area before it turned back into a mud bath. No hope in our orchard  getting mowed despite trying; the mower got bogged after traveling 3m! Temperatures ranged from 21.5ºC to 30.1ºC. Bird species recorded were 75 seen and 8 heard, reptiles and mammals were 20 seen.

The weeks bird species list is here

Wompoo Fruit-Dove disappeared this week but Superb Fruit-Dove continued calling but not seen. Papuan Frogmouth was again roosting in front of the reception area most days. Cattle Egret returned after being away for 10 weeks, three were in the paddock across the Rex Highway mid-week with another absentee, White-faced Heron who had been away for 12 weeks. Few sightings of Whistling and Black Kite which were only seen once as was Nankeen Kestrel. 

Nankeen Kestrel

Two Red-necked Crake were seen and heard foraging around on the edge of the creek where it crosses the path to the orchard one afternoon. Eastern Koel, male and female, are still around the Golden Cane Palm behind our units feasting on the palm seeds. A cuckoo, either Chestnut-breasted or Fan-tail, was calling from the hills opposite the Lodge across the Rex Highway, it was a fair way off and not able to be separated into species. (Lesser) Sooty Owl was again calling in the evening and getting quite frantic at one stage flying over and around the grounds, despite searching we only caught sight of it as it flew over. An Azure Kingfisher flew past the Geraghty Park hall whilst our neighbours were taking their dog for a walk. Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher juveniles continue to grow and prosper and seem to be having a successful breeding season. Rainbow Bee-eater and a few Dollarbird have been flying around and calling. The Noisy Pitta adult is still calling and appears to have stopped feeding the two juveniles as they have been seen fending for themselves. 

Noisy Pitta - juvenile

Spotted Catbird has been coming to the feeder, mainly in the morning and heard in the orchard at other times of the day. Red-backed Fairy-wren were across the Rex Highway opposite the Geraghty Park tennis courts. Scarlet Honeyeater returned at the beginning of the week after being absent for nine weeks. Blue-faced Honeyeater are also insect eaters and this image shows one busily foraging under the paperbark trying to prise one out.

Blue-faced Honeyeater

Cicadabird are still here and calling, they usually stay until May and return in October although in 2010 we had an early return on 19th September. Little Shrike-thrush have been seen feeding a juvenile, this image of the adult shows it foraging for insects.

Little Shrike-thrush

Black-faced Monarch are another migratory species which are still calling, they usually depart in April and return in September but we do have the occasional birds which stay and over-winter. Both Pied Monarch and Yellow-breasted Boatbill have been very active and calling around the rainforest by the units. The numbers of Grey-headed Robin have been increasing this week with many more calling early morning/late afternoon. 

Grey-headed Robin
A few Metallic Starling continue to stay around but the majority seem to have headed out of the area. They normally leave March/April to head back to Papua New Guinea.

For the second week running reptile and mammal sightings were fairly quiet. The highlight was a Green Ringtail Possum encountered along the path to the orchard early one afternoon. It was at eye level on a vine before scurrying up it to the more substantial branches of a tree where it sat and watched. This is the first one we have seen since Cyclone Yasi three weeks ago. Frogs were again enjoying the wet weather with seven species seen. A Yellow-footed Antechinus (small rat like mammal with a pointed nose) decided to try and make a nest under one of our chair covers on the veranda one morning but was quickly chased out.

Further afield the Eyebrowed Thrush at Malanda was seen on Sunday 20th February and no reports that we know of since. A juvenile Black (brown) Butcherbird was seen eating a cane toad in our house garden in Julatten. The bird had the toad flipped over on its back and was eating the underside, amazing how quickly they learn the good parts of the toad avoiding the poison glands on the top of the body, anyway it is better eating toads than baby birds or frogs

Black Butcherbird - juvenile
The road up Mt. Lewis was navigable at the beginning of the week even by 2WD vehicles but all the rain since has probably made it impassable now. The track to the dam from the parking area has a huge fig tree across it but you can clamber over it. Once you have achieved this the track is relatively clear well beyond the dam where there is a communications tower.

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