Sunday, 5 June 2011

5th June 2011 Report

The weather remained sunny and cool throughout the week with a minimum of 11.2ºc and maximum of 22.5ºc, Saturday only had a maximum of 19.3ºc.

Bird species recorded were 88 seen and 6 heard, reptiles and mammals were 14 seen which was fewer than normal, probably due to the even colder weather of late and no spotlighting trips. The weeks bird list is on the Eremaea Birds website.

Wandering Whistling-Duck were heard twice in the early evening flying over and a rarity at the moment, a Hardhead was seen foraging in one of the McDougall Road lagoons. Also the Dusky Moorhen which has also been present there for the last few weeks was still on its own again this week. Papuan Frogmouth female has been outside the reception area all week but still no sign of the male. Australian Owlet-nightjar was seen once peering out of its daytime roost hole enjoying the morning sun. A single Intermediate Egret flew across the Rex Highway early one morning and was probably the one seen at the Barramundi Farm last week. A Black-shouldered Kite was being mobbed by White-breasted Woodswallow above a paddock across the Rex Highway from Geraghty Park, first sighting after a few weeks absence. A Pacific Baza was heard one morning calling but not seen and a White-bellied Sea-Eagle was being chased by a Nankeen Kestrel as it flew close to the Kestrel's nest tree. 

White-bellied Sea-Eagle
A commotion in the rainforest one afternoon resulted in a Grey Goshawk flying off but no view of its prey which sounded like an Orange-footed Scrubfowl. About 7.20am Tuesday morning a Red-neck Crake was seen crossing the bridge at the end of the units and disappearing into the rainforest. It then crossed one of the Lodges internal roads before disappearing again into the forest only to emerge on the opposite edge and fly across Mt. Kooyong Road into thick grass, not to be seen again for the week.

A male Double-eyed Fig-Parrot was foraging on an acacia in Geraghty Park along with a Yellow Oriole and an immature Little (Gould's) Bronze-Cuckoo. Shining Bronze-Cuckoo are still around with several calling but not seen. Note incomplete tail pattern on this bird.

Little Bronze-Cuckoo
(Lesser) Sooty Owl was heard on several occasions in the Lodge grounds but stayed high up in the canopy and out of view. Azure Kingfisher has been regularly seen along Bushy Creek or at the Crake Pool but no sign of the Little Kingfisher. Spotted Catbird has been coming to the feeder in front of the units most mornings and gulping down large quantities of very expensive bananas! (Actually we can buy them from a local grower for $4 a kilo). After mentioning last week that Fairy Gerygone were staying high in the canopy this week some came down to 0.5m off the ground to forage. Scarlet Honeyeater was heard but not seem but they should start to build up in numbers as some of the eucalypts have started to flower. Barred Cuckoo-shrike were around at the beginning of the week but numbers dropped off as the week progressed and none heard calling or seen at the end. Yellow Oriole was seen in Geraghty Park on several occasions looking very smart as it sat in the sunlight trying to warm up. A brown plumaged Black Butcherbird was also seen in Geraghty Park along with a single Spangled Drongo. We have been experimenting with a photography friendly bird bath with rocks and perches to create a more natural look, it did not take long for the birds to find it. This Spangled Drongo was one of the first to try it out. 

Spangled Drongo

Northern Fantail continue to commute between our water bowls, Geraghty Park and our neighbours garden whilst Grey Fantail have started to appear in greater numbers. Willie Wagtail numbers have also increased and they have been ganging up on the Northern Fantail.

Willie Wagtail

Pied Monarch have been active both in the forest and bathing in Bushy Creek and the Crake Pool. Male Yellow-breasted Boatbill have been calling in the Lodge grounds and posing for good views plus a female Yellow-breasted Boatbill has been regularly seen in Geraghty Park. The first year Bassian Thrush has made itself at home appearing on all grassy areas around the Lodge grounds and an Australian Pipit flew across the entrance to the Lodge before alighting on a fence post opposite Geraghty Park.

Mammals and reptiles were again hiding due to the cooler dry weather but both Long-nosed and Brown Bandicoot were very active digging up the grassed areas. Tree Mouse was seen coming and going from a tree hole near the cookshed. Agile Wallaby were beside and also in the adjacent cane field seen on a morning walk and a Giant White-tailed Rat was in our neighbours garden. An Amethystine Python was disturbed during the day whilst weed clearing but soon slithered off onto a crevice in a rock wall to take refuge.

Due to weed clearing, which also removed a few vines, our South American Sapote Quararibea cordata tree in the orchard became isolated. It is an important tree when it is flowering as it has flowers all along the branches attracting honeyeaters and other birds by day and mammals such as Striped Possum and Tree Mouse by night. So to assist the mammals getting to the tree we have put up a bamboo walkway between it and a Langsat Lansium domesticum tree; this should help them get to the sapote, which has buds on at the moment and should start to flower in the next few weeks through to about August. This image shows the bamboo walkway with the sapote on the left and the Langsat on the right.

Possum Walkway

Further afield Red-winged Parrot were seen near the Julatten school and good looks were had of Red-backed Fairy-Wren and Scarlet Honeyeater at Abattoir Swamp car park. In the swamp some Australian Reed-Warbler were heard. Del Richards from Fine Feather Tours reported Grey Teal in Port Douglas which was a first for some years. Also along the coast between Port Douglas and Mossman there have been a few reports of Australian Bustard.

How many of us try finding a bird only to be confronted with a rear view? Seems to happen frequently and with no field guide to rear ends of birds (we wonder why!) it makes it quite difficult to identify. This image is a typical example, can you guess what it is? Answer next week.

Mystery Bird

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