Sunday, 3 April 2011

3rd April Report 2011

Temperatures ranged from 21.6ºC to a warmer than last week 27.2ºC. Bird species recorded were 98 seen and 7 heard, reptiles and mammals were 19 seen. 24.5mm of rain fell during the week with a few dry days which was enough to dry out some of the camp ground. We now have a limited number of camp site available - pre-book and check conditions in case more heavy rain falls.

Bird numbers were the same as last week but two less seen. The weeks bird list is on the Eremaea Birds site.

The most surprising find this week was a Bower's Shrike-thrush in Geraghty Park, first one we have seen there in nearly six years. It was foraging around in the eucalypts (Queensland Blue Gum) and is not very common at this altitude (450m). We have 14 sightings in the Lodge grounds since 2005, mostly between April and July with the odd sighting in September, October and December They have also been reported at Abattoir Swamp 6km away on the road to Mt. Molloy but we've never seen one at this location. A quick grab shot was managed as the bird was on the move all the time and totally uncooperative!

Bower's Shrike-thrush

Other interesting sightings were a Black Bittern along McDougall Road (1.5km from Lodge), it flushed from the side of the road and flew into a tree and perched beside the swamp on the right hand side of the road over the Bushy Creek bridge. It was also reported from this road last week. Several Australian King-Parrot were heard calling and one female seen in the Lodge grounds early in the week, this is another species which prefers higher altitudes in our area. We've had 19 sightings since 2006 over all months except November, January and February. The most sightings (6) have been in May followed by March and September (3). Brown Gerygone appear to have moved into the Lodge grounds with sightings in various areas throughout the week. Whilst we have not had any sightings in the Lodge grounds before they have been nearby along Bushy Creek and our neighbours garden. They are common along the lower slopes of Mt. Lewis and the nearby Carr Road.

Brown Cuckoo-Dove have taken advantage of fruiting Tobacco Bush around the Lodge grounds, this image shows one taking a break in the early morning light.

Brown Cuckoo-Dove

A Wompoo Fruit-Dove has taken up residence in a tree adjacent to its food source, fruiting palm seeds, opposite the rear entrance to the Lodge. It has been defending the fruiting palm and seen chasing at least one other Wompoo Fruit-Dove. A single Papuan Frogmouth has been roosting in its favorite spot outside the reception area, no sign of the two Papuan Frogmouth reported in the orchard last week. A White-faced Heron was taking advantage of some ponding near the front entrance to the Lodge foraging for displaced insects and frogs. A Pacific Baza landed in a tree as we were talking to some guests, John and Jenny, outside the reception but not seen again. The Whistling Kite pair across the Rex Highway from the Lodge were once again escorting a White-bellied Sea-Eagle out of their territory. This has almost become a daily ritual as the Sea-Eagle returns from the local Barramundi Farm. A Grey Goshawk was once again sighted near the Mt. Kooyong Nursing Home and later in the week seen being harassed by Blue-faced Honeyeater over the Lodge grounds. A Red-necked Crake was heard at the back of our neighbours house in a gully adjacent to our rainforest. White-browed and Spotless Crake were heard calling from the same swampy area that the Black Bittern was in along McDougall Road. Double-eyed Fig-Parrot were seen in several places flying over near and above the Lodge grounds. Three Channel-billed Cuckoo were in trees eying off the ripe palm fruits being protected by the previously mentioned Wompoo Fruit-Dove, but thought better of it and flew away. Sooty Owl was heard throughout the week calling early evening and pre-dawn but not seen. A quick check of the Eastern Barn Owl one evening found one bird emerging from the nest tree but no sign of a second bird or any obvious nesting behavior.

Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher numbers are definitely down with one sighting of an adult on the 30th March along with a juvenile in the Lodge grounds plus another possibly different juvenile in the patch of rainforest between the Lodge and the Rex Highway. If they have all left this will be three weeks earlier than any previous records we have over the last five years. Blue-winged and Laughing Kookaburra have both been performing in Geraghty Park but keeping a distance between themselves, no fights so far! 

Blue-winged Kookaburra
Noisy Pitta have been calling spasmodically during the day and even at 3.50am but still playing hide and seek although one of our guests saw an immature bird near the main entrance to the Lodge standing on a log. Lovely Fairy-wren was seen along McDougall Road which is not usual, it's normally Red-backed Fairy-wren seen here. Ten honeyeater species this week, just the regulars. There are at least two Yellow Oriole around with one calling in the Lodge grounds and one seen at the same time foraging in Geraghty Park. The call of a frog in trouble out the back of the units alerted us to a predator one afternoon and lurking in the rainforest we found two Black Butcherbird, one a black adult the other a brown immature bird.

A pair of Magpie-lark have been taking advantage of the ponding in Geraghty Park to hunt for insects – to look at these birds you would not think that they were monarch flycatchers! Their name is also misleading as they are neither magpies or larks. They also build mud nests like Apostlebird and White-winged Chough which are in a different family. Their head patterns differentiate the sexes, this image is of a female.

Magpie-lark (female)

Pied Monarch and Yellow-breasted Boatbill have both been seen and heard around the Lodge grounds most days.

Reptiles and mammals were fairly quiet with no spotlighting this week to increase numbers seen. A Green Tree Snake was in the Lodges orchard and an Amethystine Python in our neighbours garden. A couple of Northern Brown Bandicoot have been coming to the feeder in the evening, both have quite nasty looking scars on their backs where they have been fighting.

Further afield one of our local birdos reported a pair of Pied Stilt flying over her house in Clacherty Road, Julatten which was somewhat unusual. She also reported a Squatter Pigeon in her neighbours garden. It appeared after Cyclone Yasi and took to roosting at night with the chickens and Peacock! Apparently it is still there in the area.

A few butterflies are managing to continue on during the wet weather including this Ambrax Swallowtail.

Ambrax Swallowtail

Also the Water Lillies on some of the small wetlands have come to life with the rise in water levels.

Water Lillies

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