Sunday, 19 June 2011

19th June 2011 Report

The weather remained sunny and cooler this week with a minimum of 9.7ºc and maximum of 20.3ºc and 1mm in the rain gauge at the beginning of the week. Absolutely brilliant birding weather.

Bird species recorded were 100 seen and 5 heard, reptiles and mammals were 13 seen which was fewer than normal, probably due to the even colder weather this week and only one spotlighting trip. The weeks bird list is on the Eremaea Birds website.

The most surprising bird to turn up this week was an Australian Reed-Warbler in a patch of cane near the front entrance to the Lodge grounds. Previously we had four records in the last six years all in June to October 2007. Other sightings of reed warblers recently have been in more likely places such as Abattoir Swamp. However we know that reed warblers utilise cane fields to migrate through as we have helped in studies around Tully (south of Cairns) many years ago to check the movements of them passing through. Unfortunately this weeks bird stayed in the cane field and did not pop out for a good image,  however this image does give an idea of what they look like.

Australian Reed-Warbler
Also of note was four Australian King-Parrot flying over Geraghty Park; in the last six years this is the second sighting we have had in June, the other was in 2007. This sighting is the 20th in six years with May being the most frequent with six sightings and January, February and November the only months with no sightings.

What else happened over the week? Orange-footed Scrubfowl have been noisier than normal and have been seen on their nest mound but no sign of digging.

Orange-footed Scrubfowl

Two Australian Wood Duck were sitting at the edge of drying ponding opposite Geraghty Park and the first seen here this year and a flock of Wandering Whistling-Duck flew over whilst on a spotlighting trip. Three White-headed Pigeon flew over Geraghty Park heading south and small flocks of Topknot Pigeon continue to fly over the Lodge grounds but not stopping. Peaceful Dove were seen mating, probably not surprising as they are always at it! However there were no Emerald Dove seen during the week. The dry weather has obviously driven them off to find wetter areas but where? Australian Owlet-nightjar was seen several times peering out of its daytime roost enjoying the sun.

A White-bellied Sea-Eagle was making its usual way back from taking a fish from the local Barramundi Farm when it was ambushed by three kites, Black-shouldered, Whistling and Black who dive bombed it in the air space opposite Geraghty Park. A Nankeen Kestrel heading in the opposite direction took no notice of this commotion but had been harassing the Sea-Eagle last week. A pair of Brown Falcon have been along McDougall Road for a while now and maybe breeding somewhere in the vicinity. A Red-necked Crake was seen bathing at the Crake Pool late Saturday afternoon by one of our guests who photographed it, hopefully it will become more regular here as it is drying out elsewhere. This image is one we took several years ago.

Red-necked Crake

Our neighbours have hand reared two Buff-banded Rail who were abandoned and are now six weeks old.They are now roaming free and becoming more independent, as well as looking more like adults day by day. 

Buff-banded Rail - 6 weeks old

There have been four Bush Stone-curlew roosting during the day in the nursing home grounds under the shade of some bushes. Not sure if they ever sleep as they are out all night calling and foraging.

Bush Stone-curlew (4)

Scaly-breasted Lorikeet have been increasing in numbers with small flocks noisily flying around enjoying the flowering eucalypts. Shining and Little Bronze-cuckoo have been calling well as has the (Lesser) Sooty Owl but none have been seen. Eastern Barn Owl have been seen coming out of both roost and nest hollows so we are still not sure if they are actually nesting. Azure Kingfisher has been perched along Bushy Creek several times during the week, once with a fish in its bill. Spotted Catbird is still coming to the feeder and polishing of grapes and banana. Striated Pardalote was actually seen this week whilst we were on a morning walk. It was foraging around in a Queensland Blue Gum quite low down in full sunlight for excellent views, great little birds. Eleven Honeyeater species during the week with Yellow and Scarlet showing well in the early morning sun. 

Yellow Honeyeater
Cicadabird was only heard at the beginning of the week so they might have moved on. Black Butcherbird was still around the Lodge grounds as was a Spangled Drongo who was foraging for insects well after dark one evening. Northern Fantail was foraging in the orchard on one occasion and both Grey and Rufous Fantail were seen often in small foraging parties. One Black-faced Monarch was seen again this week and Pied Monarch has been active near the Crake Pool all week. Female Victoria's Riflebird has been visiting the feeder whilst an immature male has been foraging around the grounds. Up to six Lemon-bellied Flycatcher have been getting around together in Geraghty Park foraging from ground level up to 20+m in the Queensland Blue Gum. Quite large flocks (50+) of Fairy Martin plus a few Tree Martin have been over the Lodge and the 1st year Bassian Thrush is still doing the rounds of the grounds. A single Chestnut-breasted Mannikin appeared at the seed feeder once and promptly disappeared.

Mammals were pretty quiet with the cool weather, one spotlighting trip failed to find any possums but as one of their favourite trees is about to come into flower we hope they will be more regular over the coming weeks. One Yellow-footed Antechinus was around along with the regular Fawn-footed Melomys and some rather large Bush Rat. Both Brown and Long-nosed Bandicoot have increased in numbers but the cooler dry weather has caused the frogs to go into hiding. We did see one Peters Frog Litoria inermis and the usual White-lipped Tree Frog who are doing much as the image below shows, just hanging about! A Green Tree Snake was in our neighbours garden and the only reptile seen during the week.

White-lipped Tree Frog

Further afield along Euluma Creek Road in Julatten we had a bird wave with 15 species in it – Lovely Fairy-wren, Graceful Honeyeater, Yellow-spotted Honeyeater, Macleay's Honeyeater, Fairy Gerygone, Large-billed Gerygone, Varied Triller, Grey Whistler, Little Shrike-thrush, Grey and Rufous Fantail, Spectacled and White-eared Monarch, Silvereye and Red-browed Finch. Best birds were the Lovely Fairy-wren with at least two males in the party and a single White-eared Monarch. Another image with a bird hiding in the undergrowth, this time with a stick in front of it but hey it is such a great bird it had to be in the blog!

Lovely Fairy-wren - male

Lake Mitchell between Mt. Molloy and Mareeba appears to be getting a few more waterbirds over the last week including a flock of Comb-crested Jacana which lifted off together and flew a short distance before landing on the water. Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo was seen along Churchill Creek Road (off Mt. Lewis Road). 

No comments: