Sunday, 20 March 2011

20th March 2011 Report

Temperatures ranged from 23.5ºC to a warmer than last week 28.6ºC. Bird species recorded were 79 seen and 7 heard, reptiles and mammals were 19 seen. 104.5mm of rain fell during the week but we did have a couple of dry days at the end which was the first for several weeks.

This weeks bird list is on the Eremaea Birds site

Bird numbers were less than last weeks but that is not surprising due to us being back on deck and spending less time birding than our house sitters. Nothing outstanding in the bird world this week but we suspect some of our Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher have left to go north. We are not hearing or seeing as many adult and juvenile birds and if some have gone north this is extremely early for them. They normally don't go until mid April but they did arrive a month earlier than last season. It will be interesting to see if any more go this coming week.

Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher

Wompoo Fruit-Dove was heard but not seen and the two Papuan Frogmouth in the orchard continued to make appearances. A pair of White-faced Heron have been seen near the McDougall Road swamp in an area where they nested last year so they maybe nesting again, one was also along Mt. Kooyong Road. 

White-faced Heron

A pair of White-bellied Sea-Eagle have been flying over on dusk calling and a pair consisting of an adult and a sub-adult was seen flying over early one morning. A pair of Brown Falcon, one brown and another very white plumage have also been seen along McDougall Road. Red-necked Crake have been calling in the evening but hiding during the day. Bush Stone-curlew have been vocal as usual and four have been camping behind the Mt. Kooyong Nursing Home near a cane paddock during the day. Eastern Koel are still around and calling during the night and a few Channel-billed Cuckoo are also still around. A possible (Lesser) Sooty Owl was seen flying across Geraghty Park whilst watching some Eastern Barn Owl. The bird was flying at eye level, had broad wings, was dark and smaller than Barn Owl but difficult to positively ID at a distance in the dark. Rainbow Bee-eater numbers have been increasing over the week as have White-breasted Woodswallow who have been gathering in small groups on the powerlines. A single Dollarbird was seen flying south-east over Geraghty Park early in the week and none seen since. Noisy Pitta has been calling with at least two birds vocalising in the rainforest but not coming out to be viewed. Spotted Catbird is still coming to the feeder and being very vocal in the dawn chorus. For the second week running a Great Bowerbird has been in the Lodge grounds and is not very popular with the other birds who were mobbing it. Fewer honeyeater species were recorded with the scarlet being the most notable absentee. Grey Whistler are still very vocal along with Little Shrike-thrush who are calling throughout the day. Several Australasian Figbird have been visiting a fruiting palm tree in our neighbours garden and polishing off the very ripe fruits.

Australasian Figbird - male

The Yellow Oriole from last week was still around the Lodge grounds this week along with a Black Butcherbird who was catching frogs. Northern Fantail was seen along McDougall Road and further afield along Wessel Road near Abattoir Swamp. Black-faced Monarch, Pied Monarch and Yellow-breasted Boatbill have all been active this week showing and calling well. Chestnut-breasted Mannikin are still carrying nesting material.

Chestnut-breasted Mannikin

Plenty of bat action during the week with several of the smaller species hanging around the buildings and roosting under eves and sinks in the amenities block. Little Bent-winged Bat and one of the broad-nosed bat, either Northern or Eastern are the ones seen. Spectacled Flying Fox have been around in small numbers trying to make a living in the orchard which has little fruit at the moment. Nine species of frog this week including Rocket Frog Litoria nasuta which is one we don't see very often, in fact twice in five years although guests have occasionally reported it. A Yellow-footed Antechinus has been active during the day and insisting on trying to make a nest between the cover and seat on one of our veranda chairsit has been chased out several times, and feeding on fruit put out for the catbird one morning.  A small Brown Tree Snake has taken up residence on our neighbours veranda, good if it lives on mosquitoes!

Dragonflies were again around and images taken, identification is again problematic due to our inexperience with them however we are learning a few!

Pygmy Wisp

Green Skimmer

Small Reedling

A Spiny Spider Gasteracantha sp. took up residence outside our kitchen for a week before moving on. Interesting spider which has a hard shell and bright colours to attract prey.

Spiny Spider Gasteracantha sp.

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