Sunday, 15 May 2011

15th May 2011 Report

The great weather still continues with the coldest week so far this year and still sunny dry days and more great birds for the week. Temperatures ranged from 12.9ºC to 24.4ºC. Only a trace of rain this week, not enough to record in the rain gauge.

Bird species recorded were 94 seen and 5 heard, reptiles and mammals were 19 seen.

The weeks bird list is on the Eremaea Birds

The best sighting for the week was Pallid Cuckoo. The Pallid Cuckoo was seen by guests, Tom and Claire, in woodland at the rear of Geraghty Park and only the third sighting since 2005,. Previous sightings were 25/11/2007 and 20/1/2008. 

Pallid Cuckoo - juvenile.

Australasian Grebe have returned to the swamps along McDougall Road after being absent for 27 weeks, they were last seen mid October 2010. About 30+ Topknot Pigeon were seen along McDougall Road on the 8th May plus four were also seen on a morning walk on the 11th flying over the Lodge grounds. This is the earliest record of returning birds in five years, previously we have two records later in May, two in June and one in July. The two Papuan Frogmouth have been roosting in the orchard most days of the week but have had a couple of days hiding somewhere else. An Australian Owlet-nightjar was seen perched on the edge of its regular roost hole which was the first time for several months when a Lace Monitor was seen peering into the hole. Pacific Baza are calling most days and flying around the orchard 

Pacific Baza

and Black Kite numbers have increased with at least four around the area. Red-necked Crake was seen one morning at about 7.20 bathing in ponding on the edge of the orchard with a Bassian Thrush and again at the same ponding in the late afternoon. Given the ongoing discussions regarding the status of Bassian and Russet-tailed Thrush in our area of the "Wet Tropics" we've included two images of the juvenile bird currently in the Lodge grounds. There is some lighter coloured fringing on the secondary coverts and scapular feathers of the wing and lighter colouring on the forehead and crown than adult birds have. The upperparts have paler centres to the feathering giving a more mottled look than adults. When this bird flew it had no white in the outer tail feathers.

Bassian Thrush - juvenile

Bassian Thrush - juvenile

Channel-billed Cuckoo are still with us with at least seven seen on a morning walk at the entrance to the Lodge grounds perched in a Queensland Blue Gum. It is getting late in the season for them to still be here, previous years 2006-2009 have seen them stay until at least 24th May but in 2009 the last sighting was 25th April. Little Bronze-Cuckoo have been active and showing well, all seen were sub-species russatus Gould's Bronze-Cuckoo. (Lesser) Sooty Owl has again been heard but not seen. One Eastern Barn Owl appeared at the entrance to their nest hollow and a second bird was sighted sitting above the roost hollow before flying to the nest tree and entering. The first bird was still perched at the nest hollow when the second bird entered, so they might be breeding after giving us a few false starts.

Azure Kingfisher has been seen several times flying along and perched beside Bushy Creek and Forest Kingfisher have been putting on great displays to each other. Noisy Pitta has been heard twice in the evening but not seen. Spotted Catbird has been coming to the feeder infrequently and not every day. A Great Bowerbird was taking some red fruit off of a small bush in Geraghty Park near the tennis courts early one morning. 11 honeyeater species this week including Bridled and Dusky, this one was foraging in a grevillea in the morning sun.

A Brown Honeyeater in our neighbours garden was a bit of a surprise as they don't normally come this close to the rainforest, more common along McDougall Road or Abattoir Swamp in the drier country. A few Barred Cuckoo-shrike are still around and Cicadabird are still calling. Australian Figbird numbers fluctuate daily with some days none and others flocks of 20+. A single Spangled Drongo has been visiting the feeder early in the morning and noisily announcing its arrival before taking in some nectar. The Northern Fantail reported last week moved into Geraghty Park and was trying to forage around a flowering wattle but was constantly being chased by four Willie Wagtail who did not like the intruder in “their” territory. The fantail did get a respite every now and then as this image shows. 

Northern Fantail

Only one sighting of Grey Fantail but Rufous Fantail are quite common, this one was trying to keep warm in the early morning as it went about foraging on the edge of the rainforest.

Rufous Fantail

Yellow-breasted Boatbill are calling in earnest at the moment, mainly during the morning and Victoria's Riflebird also continue to call but not seen often.

An Amethystine Python was draped around a tree on the edge of the orchard early one morning trying to get some sun and was the only snake sighting this week. Striped Possum have quietened down this week with only a little calling at the beginning of the week. One was heard in the rainforest adjacent to the orchard scratching into the bark of a tree late one evening before being seen. A Tree Mouse (Prehensile-tailed Rat) was found foraging in the inflorescence of a Coconut Palm at the end of the week, quite a rare sighting. A medium sized White-tailed Rat has been a regular visitor to the feeder over the last few weeks but is very shy.

Further afield several Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo were heard and seen on the lower slopes of Mt. Lewis. An unidentified crane was at Maryfarms and both Sarus Crane and Brolga are being reported on the Atherton Tableland. A few Australian White Ibis and Straw-necked Ibis have been seen in the area which might signal the return of the waterbirds. A Black-necked Stork was at Lake Mitchell and two guests also reported seeing two at the Cattana Wetlands in Cairns.

Butterflies are out in force at the moment including this very common Orange Bushbrown

Orange Bushbrown

We have just updated the butterfly and moth page on our website adding more sightings and a couple of images, check it out. 

This mystery bug was seen whilst chasing dragonflies and butterflies.

Bug sp. (?)

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