Sunday, 24 April 2011

24th April 2011 Report

Another glorious week with a glitch in the middle when we had 10mm of rain, this was all we had. Again sunny dry days and a temperature range of 18.5ºC to 26.2ºC. The views across to the Mt. Lewis area were spectacular as this image shows. For the month of May we have a special rate for our unit accommodation and you can come and enjoy this view and our wildlife, the rates can be found on the Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge specials page.

Looking toward Mt. Lewis behind the Lodge

Bird species recorded were 95 seen and 7 heard, reptiles and mammals were 21 seen.

The weeks bird list is on the Eremaea Birds site.

Bird movements continued this week with the first arrival of a Grey Fantail from down south on the 23rd April. Previous years have seen them arrive in 2010 on 7th March, 2009 an odd one arrived on 1st March with the rest arriving on 22nd March, 2008 4th May, 2007, 2006 and 2005 30th April. So there is a two month window for them to arrive with most coming in April. Good to see them back. Shining Bronze-cuckoo were calling around the area; this is a species that is normally found at higher altitudes, such as Mt. Lewis. A White-necked Heron was seen along McDougall Road and signals the return of this species to the area.

Wandering Whistling Duck numbers have increased over the last week with at least 20 in ponding amongst the cane field behind the Mt. Kooyong Nursing Home. Brown Cuckoo-dove are calling with numbers increasing but only one Wompoo Fruit-Dove seen perched high in a Queensland Blue Gum tree. Two Papuan frogmouth have been seen around the Lodge grounds, one outside the reception area on four occasions and one in the orchard twice. An Australian Owlet-nightjar was heard calling from the patch of rainforest between the Lodge grounds and the Rex Highway, this is the first we have heard for several months. 

Australian Owlet-nightjar

Black Bittern has become a regular along McDougall Road and was seen again this week. A White-faced Heron was seen flying over Geraghty Park one morning heading for Bushy Creek. Raptors were out in force with ten species in the area including Black-shouldered Kite, Pacific Baza, Brown and Grey Goshawk and Brown Falcon. Red-necked Crake was heard calling one night in the Lodge grounds but not seen and a pair of Pale-vented Bush-hen were also heard calling with movements in the grass giving away their location but no views. A juvenile Eastern Koel has taken up residence in a fruiting palm tree in our neighbours garden and hunts out any intruders. At least two Channel-billed Cuckoo were calling during the week but not seen and a Chestnut-breasted or Fan-tailed Cuckoo was also heard. (Lesser) Sooty Owl was again heard and two Eastern Barn Owl seen. No Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher to report this week which means the last sighting was on 14th April of a single adult. There were however four other kingfisher sightings, Azure and Forest Kingfisher plus Laughing and Blue-winged Kookaburra. One juvenile Dollarbird is still around and Noisy Pitta has been out and about the Lodge grounds showing off to the guests. Spotted Catbird has been vocal and active with frequent visits to the feeder as well as skulking around in the orchard. Eleven species of honeyeater were around including the three meliphagas honeyeaters with the yellow ear patch, Lewin's, Yellow-spotted and Graceful; this gave everyone a chance to compare the three side by side. These species seem to cause the most confusion amongst our guests but help is at hand as you can download an identification guide from the Birds Queensland website . This Lewin's Honeyeater has its head turned around distorting the crescent shaped ear-patch which can cause more ID problems.

Lewin's Honeyeater

Other honeyeaters included Bridled, Yellow, Blue-faced and Macleay's. 
This Bridled Honeyeater was foraging in an African Tulip tree in Geraghty Park adjacent to the Lodge grounds.

Bridled Honeyeater

Cicadabird have also been very busy foraging around low down in the trees with both male and female seen well. Several Spangled Drongo have been actively hawking insects along with Rufous Fantail foraging in the rainforest. Pied Monarch and Yellow-breasted Boatbill were both seen well and calling a lot. Lemon-bellied Flycatcher have been busy hawking insects in Geraghty Park 

Lemon-bellied Flycatcher

and Grey-headed Robin have started to come out of the rainforest around the grounds, probably due to the grass being cut shorter. A Tawny Grassbird was hiding in swampy vegetation in the adjacent cane field and calling one evening. A small flock (20-30) Chestnut-breasted Mannikin were also in the cane field and adjacent grassy vegetation getting seeds.

A few more reptiles and Mammals this week helped by a spotlighting trip which turned up some goodies like Feather-tailed Glider and Striped Possum along with a Long-nosed Bandicoot in the rainforest. Northern Broad-nosed Bat was roosting under our neighbours house during the day and Eastern Horseshoe Bat was flying up and down the veranda collecting insects. Despite the dry weather a few frogs were around they were Striped Marsh Frog, Jungguy Frog, White-lipped Green Tree Frog, Northern Dwarf Tree Frog, Dessert Tree Frog (Red Tree Frog), Cogger's Frog and Cane Toad. Boyd's Forest Dragon and Major Skink made a few visits outside the units.

Further afield the highlight was a Southern Cassowary with a chick along Carr Road (about 2.5km from the Lodge). This is most unusual as they are normally up on the ranges behind but suspect food is in short supply and they came down to forage in the orchard here. White-necked Heron was reported in Port Douglas which is uncommon and Atherton Scrubwren was seen on Mt. Lewis collecting and carrying nesting material. This is very unusual as their normal nesting season is August to December. White-necked Heron and Atherton Scrubwren sightings were courtesy of Del Richards from Fine Feather Tours. The Spinifex Pigeon reported a few weeks ago at Granite Gorge west of Mareeba were still there during the week.

This butterfly obligingly posed for a photo, it has two common names Brown Soldier or Chocolate Argus Junonia hedonia (depending on which book you read) its usual host plant is Hygrophilia angustifolia which grows in moist swampy areas. This one was along the edge of a cane field but not far from a swampy area. 

Brown Soldier or Chocolate Argus Junonia hedonia

The Ulysses Butterfly is one of the more spectacular butterflies to occur in our region and can be see around the edges of the rainforest in the Lodge grounds or as this one is, feeding on an exotic Ixora in our neighbours garden. Unfortunately they rarely open their wings fully.

Ulysses Butterfly

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