Sunday, 8 May 2011

8th May 2011 Report

The great weather still continues with cool (for our standards) sunny dry days and again great birds for the week. Temperatures ranged from 15.1ºC to 25.3ºC, the maximum for three days was only 22ºC – Brrr! No rain for the week despite a few threatening dark clouds one day.

Bird species recorded were 97 seen and 5 heard, reptiles and mammals were 18seen.

The weeks bird list is on the Eremaea Birds

Firstly we would like to welcome those members of Birds Queensland who might be checking out the blog for the first time due to our appearance in your newsletter (hope you have read it from cover to cover!), where we had a review of our web and blog site – thanks to John Holt for that very good report. We would also like everyone to know we have now got several bunkrooms available in our bunkhouse after a period of it being closed.

Lots of good bird sightings during the week starting off with Brown Cuckoo-Dove which have been taking advantage of a few fruiting trees.  

Brown Cuckoo-Dove

A Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove was foraging on palm seeds in front of the units in full sun, what a stunning bird and one which has sneaked into the area this year from their normal range along the coastal areas and nearby ranges as well as out on off-shore islands where they breed. There has been other reports of them on the Atherton Tableland further south from us. Red-necked Crake was hiding in the rainforest on the edge of the orchard near the rock wall path and both male and female Victoria's Riflebird were also along the edge of the orchard rainforest. A White-throated Gerygone was calling in Geraghty Park one morning which is unusual as they are normally found further out in the drier country areas of Mt. Molloy, Lake Mitchell, Mareeba and north to Mt. Carbine and beyond. First sighting for the year of a pair of Bassian Thrush was alongside the crake pool in the orchard, they make altitudinal migrations from the mountains behind us in the cooler months.

Bassian Thrush

Some of the other bird happenings around the area were a pair of Papuan Frogmouth roosting in the orchard for most of the week, lets hope they have got together for good and breed this year after two years of non-breeding. An Australian Owlet-nightjar was seen perched in a tree in the camping area and heard calling in Geraghty Park. A rarity at the moment was an Eastern Great Egret which was hanging around one of the ponds at the nearby Barramundi Farm. Pacific Baza continue to fly around the Lodge grounds calling as do White-bellied Sea-Eagle. Channel-billed Cuckoo are lingering on this year with at least four seen on several occasions during the week, this one was foraging around in a Queensland Blue Gum tree in Geraghty Park.  

Channel-billed Cuckoo
A pair of Eastern Barn Owl were seen and (Lesser) Sooty Owl heard around the Lodge grounds. Noisy Pitta is not so noisy at the moment with only a few calls heard mainly in the late afternoon and no sightings as they are keeping to the rainforest at the moment. Spotted Catbird has been calling and making a few forays to the feeder in the morning. An Eastern Whipbird was heard calling from rainforest across the Rex Highway from the Lodge which is another signal that the weather is cooling down, they rarely occur in the Lodge grounds. 

Eastern Whipbird

A few Barred Cuckoo-shrike are still around along with at least one pair of Cicadabird. Australasian Figbird numbers have increased this week as has their calling, mainly in the morning. After last weeks viewing of an adult Yellow Oriole we had a juvenile bird this week, almost in adult plumage but it still had a black bill instead of red. Still a few Spangled Drongo around and also a few Grey Fantail from down south, still waiting for the main migratory birds to appear. The Northern Fantail reported a few weeks ago in the rainforest is still with us, this week it was foraging around outside the units and posing in the sunlight before using the birdbath. It would appear that this bird is commuting between us and our neighbours garden, it's quite a novelty to have one around rather than go chasing them in the drier woodland country. A Shining Flycatcher was in McDougall Road near Bushy Creek, not common but have been seen along Bushy Creek before at several locations. Pied Monarch have been calling and foraging around in the rainforest as well as making appearances at Bushy Creek in the late afternoons to take a bathe. 

Yellow-breasted Boatbill - male

Yellow-breasted Boatbill have continue to be very vocal as have both male and female Victoria's Riflebird which have both been seen in the rainforest on the edge of the orchard.

A Platypus sighting in Bushy Creek one morning at 7.20 was the first for the year, we now know they survived the floods and hopefully will stay around. Surprisingly with the cooler weather snakes seem to be more active with two sightings of Amethystine Python, a large black snake shot off the path to the orchard and could have been a Red-bellied Black Snake, two sightings of Green Tree Snake and a small dead snake on our driveway which someone said was a Small-eyed Snake which we have never seen in the grounds before but have seen on Mt. Lewis in the mountains behind us. Frogs were also about but only a few odd sightings of White-lipped Tree Frog, Jungguy Frog, 

Jungguy Frog

Roth's Tree Frog (1st for a long time), Desert Tree Frog and a few Cane Toad. Striped Possum were seen several times crashing around in the rainforest and calling a lot, must be mating time again! Bush Rat have been coming to the feeder with two juveniles. Other sightings at the feeder have been Fawn-footed Melomys, Giant White-tailed Tree Rat and Northern Brown Bandicoot.

Further afield we managed to spend a night at Yungaburra where we attended the Birds Australia North Queensland groups AGM and visited nearby Curtain Fig National Park early in the morning before the hordes arrived. Great little patch of rainforest with lots of good birds and a roosting Green Ringtail Possum 2.5m off the ground over the boardwalk. 

Green Ringtail Possum

A full list of birds seen on this visit is posted onto the Eremaea Birds website. On the way over to Yungaburra we stopped for lunch at Rocky Creek Memorial Park between Mareeba and Atherton. As it was the middle of the day it was fairly quiet for birds but there was Scarlet and White-naped Honeyeater feeding in some flowering callistemons which were nice to see especially at eye level. Just south of Mareeba we had a Wedge-tailed Eagle flying over the highway, this species seems to be more common now than a few years ago. Later in the week another Wedge-tailed Eagle was perched in a tree beside the highway and Lake Mitchell between Mareeba and Mt. Molloy. A Square-tailed Kite was circling low over the highway also between Mareeba and Mt. Molloy near “Kelly's Place” (banana selling stall at side of road). Two visits to Lake Mitchell during the week did not turn up many waterbirds, plenty of Black Swan with cygnets, a pair of Green Pygmy-goose, several Comb-crested Jacana and that was it apart from an Eastern Osprey. Quite a few bush birds including White-throated Gerygone, Great Bowerbird and Tawny Grassbird. The full list of birds seen can be found on the Eremaea Birds website. 

Lake Mitchell

A Southern Cassowary has been seen several times at the top of the range near the lookout on the way up (or down!) to Mossman which is not a good place to be hanging out. It was encouraged to go back into the rainforest where hopefully it will stay. Yellow-throated Scrubwren have been in Churchill Creek Road which branches off the Mt. Lewis Road before the Lewis road crosses Bushy Creek. This is yet another sign of cooler weather as some of them come down off the mountain and a couple usually make it into the Lodge grounds.

The reason for two visits to Lake Mitchell during the week was to check out the myriad of Dragonfly that occur here and to take a few images of them. As always with dragonflies we are open to any corrections in ID as we are still learning -  pity they don't make calls!

Common Glider

Common Bluetail

More information and images will be posted onto the Wildiaries Dragonfly website in the next few days and a link put here. Dragonflies Galore at Lake Mitchell, Far North Queensland

No comments: