Sunday, 26 June 2011

26th June 2011 Report

The weather remained sunny and cool this week with a minimum of 9.7ºc and maximum of 20.4ºc and no rain. The last few days of the week clouded over with the prospect of rain looming. We need some rain to keep the dust down and to water over 400 plants we helped put in the ground at the beginning of the week on a nearby property.

Bird species recorded were 105 seen and none heard, which is a good weekly total within the 1.5km radius from the Lodge. Reptiles and mammals seen were 15, slightly up on last week due to more spotlighting effort. The weeks bird list is on the Eremaea Birds website.

Best birds were the Little Kingfisher which returned to the Crake Pool for a few hours on Saturday after not being seen for a few weeks and a Red-necked Crake was seen at the beginning of the week whizzing off through the rainforest alongside the track to Bushy Creek. Despite a few stake outs at the Crake Pool the crake was not seen for the rest of the week. Check out the crake photo at the end of the blog.

Orange-footed Scrubfowl were in fine song, if you can call it that, and a few territorial disputes saw several birds fighting and chasing each other. The lagoons along McDougall Road turned up a few waterbirds including, Wandering Whistling-Duck, Green Pygmy-goose, Pacific Black Duck, Australasian Grebe, Dusky Moorhen and Comb-crested Jacana. Also coming to roost in one lagoon were several Little Black and Little Pied Cormorant. Two Australian Wood Duck were at ponding in a cane field behind the Mt. Kooyong nursing home. 

Australian Wood Duck - female

Brown Cuckoo-Dove were feeding on Tobacco Bush fruits some only a few centimeters off the ground. Small parties of Topknot Pigeon continue to pass over the lodge with over 50 in a half hour period on morning.

Bad news for the week was the death of our female Papuan Frogmouth which was found lying face down in the orchard with its wings spread out. An examination failed to find any obvious signs of injury. So it is now in the freezer as a scientific specimen. So unless another female turns up the male is going to be out of luck breeding for the third successive year.

Australian Owlet-nightjar was again peering out of its daytime roost on two occasions. A Black-necked Stork flew over the lodge grounds one morning and was probably the same bird, a female, seen at  ponding in a nearby cane field. Black Bittern was seen along Bushy Creek and an Eastern Great Egret was at the nearby Barramundi Farm. Cattle Egret became confused this week and thought they were horse egrets! 

Cattle Egret

Both Australian White Ibis and Straw-necked Ibis were around the area. Several white ibis were at the Barramundi Farm and one seen soaring over the lodge grounds whilst a single straw-necked was foraging in a paddock opposite the back entrance to the Lodge. Black-shouldered Kite were again seen chasing off White-bellied Sea-Eagle with the Whistling Kite and a Nankeen Kestrel at the front entrance to the Lodge. A Brahminy Kite flew out of one of the Queensland Blue Gum trees in Geraghty Park, whilst we were spotlighting for Eastern Barn Owl and disappeared down the Rex Highway towards the coast. A Grey Goshawk flew over Geraghty Park whilst we were on a morning walk; it was being pursued by a few Blue-faced Honeyeater and some Rainbow Lorikeet. An Australian Hobby perched in a tree at the rear of our neighbours house was the first for several months.

Mixed flocks of Rainbow and Scaly-breasted Lorikeet have been noisily flying around the area and feeding on a flowering eucalypt in the Lodge grounds. Rainbow Lorikeet are also busy breeding with several tree hollows occupied by pairs, like the one below.

Rainbow Lorikeet

A single Double-eyed Fig-Parrot flew over the orchard and disappeared into the rainforest near the camp ground late one afternoon. Both male and female Little (Gould's) Bronze-Cuckoo have been calling and seen well and appear to be the only cuckoos left at the Lodge. Sooty Owl was heard around the Lodge grounds but seen sitting high up in a tree on the border of the Lodge and our neighbours garden, they did not have to leave their veranda to see it! It would appear that the Eastern Barn Owl do have chicks in their nest as we saw a small face peer out of the tree hollow whilst the two adults were in tree nearby, good news. Azure Kingfisher has been up and down Bushy Creek as well as perching at the Crake Pool and a pair of Forest Kingfisher have been foraging in the orchard all week. Spotted Catbird has been coming to the feeder, mainly early morning. They are becoming fussy as to which banana they eat, as they are turning their noses up at some types of banana like some of the honeyeaters, which don't like Lady Finger bananas. Again the same eleven honeyeaters were seen for the second successive week with the Blue-faced Honeyeater fledgling two chicks from their nest under one of our neighbours carport. The day after this photo was taken one fledged and the following day the second bird did the same.

Blue-faced Honeyeater - nestlings

After saying last week that Cicadabird might have moved on a male popped up this week and was watched for 10 minutes whilst it foraged but did not call. Australian Figbird were around in large flocks, several males were in eclipse plumage with bright yellow breasts still with the immature dark brown streaking showing. Unfortunately they would not stay still long enough for a photo! Yellow Oriole has been around the Lodge whilst an Olive-backed Oriole was along the nearby McDougall Road. Black Butcherbird has been a round with both black and brown birds seen. Northern Fantail has been in the orchard area and coming to bathe at the birdbath outside the units along with Rufous Fantail and Willie Wagtail. Pied Monarch have been active in the rainforest around the orchard with a pair foraging above the Crake Pool an several others seen around the grounds. Yellow-breasted Boatbill have become noisier this week, calling after a quiet spell. The single Bassian Thrush has found a a couple of mates and now the three can be seen regularly around the grounds but more commonly in the mowed orchard. One of them managed to fly into the back of one of our units and looked quite stunned but it appears to have made a full recovery. As well as foraging on the ground they are spending some time perched in trees.

Bassian Thrush

A small flock of Chestnut-breasted Mannikin were high up in eucalypts in Geraghty Park one morning before flying off towards McDougall Road and two Australian Pipit were at the Barramundi Farm.

Our neighbours took the mammal prize this week with two sightings of Striped Possum, good to know they are around. Their favorite tree, South American Sapote in the orchard, is not quite in flower yet but should will be within the next few weeks and hopefully then they will be seen regularly. Platypus was seen on several occasions and this photo was taken at 7.35 one morning at the viewing area along Bushy Creek. It has only taken us six years to get a half decent photo of a Platypus!


Further afield Mt. Lewis turned up trumps with good sightings of female/immature male Golden Bowerbird, Tooth-billed Bowerbird, Chowchilla with Fernwren in tow and Victoria's Riflebird – male and female. Lake Mitchell, between Mt. Molloy and Mareeba has a lone Australian Pelican but lots of Black Swan and flocks of Comb-crested Jacana. Eight Red-tailed Black Cockatoo were circling over Mt. Molloy at the end of the week but not heading our way.

Guest Photos

We thought we would get some of our guests involved in our blog by putting in guests photos of animals taken at the Lodge. To start off Geoff Walker sent us a photo of the Red-necked Crake at the Crake Pool. Geoff was lucky to have the crake come to within a few metres when it appeared at the pool late on the afternoon of 16th June to bathe.

Red-necked Crake - © Geoff Walker 2011
 If any of our guests would like their photo of Lodge wildlife to appear here, email a copy and we can put it in a future blog.

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