Sunday, 17 April 2011

17th April 2011 Report

Wow what a week of fantastic weather! The best we have had all year with beautiful sunny dry days and a temperature range of 17.2ºC to 26.5ºC, ideal. At last it has started to dry out with only 2.5mm of rain at the beginning of the week. This means we have been able to open up the camp ground but unfortunately the bunkhouse is still closed with renovations required to get it back up and running. Bird species recorded were 98 seen and 4 heard, reptiles and mammals were 16 seen.

The weeks bird list is on the Eremaea Birds site.

Victoria's Riflebird - female

This week certainly saw a movement in bird species with a first for the Lodge grounds, a Northern Fantail was foraging around in the rainforest! Normally an open forest dweller in the dryer areas out towards Abattoir Swamp and occasionally in Geraghty Park. An Eastern Osprey was reported near the Barramundi Farm, this species was fairly regularly seen in the area up until about 6-7 years ago but no sightings since then until this one. The Bower's Shrike-thrush reported in Geraghty Park two weeks ago was seen there again this week. A V-formation of Ibis flew high over the Lodge grounds towards the coast, whilst we were looking at a Pacific Baza which was perched on top of the rainforest canopy. The formation consisted of 12 Australian White Ibis and two Straw-necked Ibis, the first we have seen this year. In fact Ibis have been few and far between this year as presumably they have been inland breeding in the flooded wetlands. A female Victoria's Riflebird was pulling back bark on a rainforest tree whilst we were looking at the Northern Fantail, thanks to David and Michael for drawing our attention to the fantail. A Tawny Grassbird was heard in the cane field near the Mt. Kooyong Nursing Home and was the first for the year.

The fruiting palm tree in our neighbours garden reported last week was still attracting good birds including a Superb Fruit-Dove. A lone Papuan Frogmouth was seen once in the orchard perched at the edge of the rainforest. The regular pair of White-bellied Sea-Eagle were seen flying past with a fish from the Barramundi Farm early one morning before perching in a tree across the Rex Highway and devouring it. A Grey Goshawk was around at the end of the week in our neighbours garden. Red-necked Crake and Pale-vented Bush-hen were heard but not seen. The female Eastern Koel reported last week in a palm tree on Mt. Kooyong Road stayed there until the end of the week when the supply of fruits was exhausted. The (Lesser) Sooty Owl continued calling well over the week but again not seen and a quick check of the Eastern Barn Owl in Geraghty Park found what looked like a juvenile barn owl perched on the edge of the roost tree. This bird had a very dark facial disc but was too small to consider Masked Owl. We are not sure if the barn owl are using the roost tree at the moment as a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo was peering out of the hole one morning with a second bird perched nearby, we will try and check it out one evening in the coming week. An Azure Kingfisher was foraging in a small pond on the edge of the orchard and flew past within 1m. The last sighting of a Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher was on the 14th when an adult flew across the road at the rear of the bunkhouse. A Sacred Kingfisher was in Geraghty Park for one morning and could have been the one reported last week from nearby McDougall Road. This Rainbow Bee-eater was foraging from a barbed wire fence adjacent to the neighboring cane field in the late afternoon and was joined by several others before heading off to roost for the night. 

Rainbow Bee-eater - female

Still at least one Dollarbird around during the week and a Noisy Pitta was seen once in the Lodge grounds as well as being heard on several occasions. Brown Gerygone continue to stay in the Lodge grounds and hopefully will become resident. Eleven species of honeyeater this week including this Yellow Honeyeater in one of the African Tulip trees in Geraghty Park. Note that the bird has pierced the base of the flower to get the nectar out.

Yellow Honeyeater

At least two Bridled Honeyeater continue to seek nectar in the tulip trees. A pair of White-throated Honeyeater were seen pulling pieces of bark of a paperbark tree in Geraghty Park and flying off with it, presumably building a nest nearby. A Yellow Oriole was heard and seen foraging along the edge of Geraghty Park and in the Lodge grounds. Rufous Fantail numbers appear to have increased during the week with several pairs seen in the rainforest of the Lodge grounds. A male Leaden Flycatcher was foraging along the edge of the neighboring cane field and perching in the cane.

Leaden Flycatcher - male

A very juvenile Grey-headed Robin was foraging on the road into the Lodge before flying back into the rainforest one afternoon. 

Grey-headed Robin - juvenile
The African Tulip trees in Geraghty Park were also attracting a pair of Olive-backed Sunbird and both Red-browed Finch and Chestnut-breasted Mannikin were seen carrying nesting material.

Olive-backed Sunbird
A Long-nosed Bandicootrainforest after raiding one of the fruit trees in the orchard. A least three Boyd's Rainforest Dragon have been around the units; one has taken a liking to eating banana. Major Skink are being seen infrequently with one appearing to be living under the eating area decking.

Further afield an overnight stay on a property along Euluma Creek Road, Julatten proved very rewarding with species seen including a family of Lovely Fairy-wren, one male and at least four female/immature male foraging through the undergrowth. 

Lovely Fairy-wren - male
Above them were a couple of Black-faced Monarch foraging through the mid-upper canopy. 

Black-faced Monarch

A full species list can be found on the Eremaea Birds website. At the end of the week a Large-tailed Nightjar was heard on this property making its distinct chop-chop call, first heard for the season. A male Golden Bowerbird flew across the Mt. Lewis road about 14km from Bushy Creek, this has become a rare sighting over the last few years. Two Spinifex Pigeon were seen at Granite Gorge Nature Park 12km west of Mareeba on 7th April, this record with image can be seen on the Eremaea Birds website. This is the most easterly record we have heard of, the closest they normally occur is further west in the Mt. Surprise-Georgetown region.

Dragonflies were again spotted around the district, two shown below are a Blue Skimmer and a Sapphire Flutterer which is normally seen fluttering around the upper canopy, this one was enjoying the sunny weather.

Blue Skimmer

Sapphire Flutterer

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