Sunday, 31 July 2011

31st July 2011 Report

Cloudy conditions and sunshine were with us all week with only 1.5mm of rain, hardly worth mentioning! The overnight temperatures were slightly warmer this week, the lowest being 11.1ºc overnight and highest 22ºc during the day.

Another good week for numbers of bird species with 106 seen and a further 5 heard. Reptiles and mammals were 20 which was pretty good as frog numbers were well down with the dry weather. The weeks bird list is on the Eremaea Birds website.

The first Metallic Starling were seen for the season when 3 flew over the entrance to the Lodge on the 26th July heading towards Geraghty Park, they normally arrive in August, however they arrived on 11th July last year which was the earliest we have in six years. Welcome back!

Metallic Starling

McDougall Road Lagoons again turned up the waterbirds with three Cotton Pygmy-goose present at the beginning, then they disappeared until the end of the week when a male and female were seen. Magpie Goose moved in and were probably the same ones reported previously in a nearby swamp which is drying up. Wandering Whistling-Duck, Green Pygmy-goose, Hardhead and Australasian Grebe were in the lagoons in small numbers. Brown Cuckoo-Dove numbers were increasing during the week due to the availability of a few more fruiting trees and we still only have 2-3 Emerald Dove around the Lodge grounds where we normally have 10-20. Wompoo and Superb Fruit-Dove were both heard but not seen. Our female Papuan Frogmouth has been behaving this week and could be found roosting in the same place for most of the week. Australian Owlet-nightjar was seen several times peering out of its daytime roost but not calling this week. A Black-necked Stork was soaring over the cane field behind the Mt. Kooyong nursing home one afternoon and a single Intermediate Egret was flying over Geraghty Park. Cattle Egret numbers have increased dramatically at their roost site along McDougall Road with over 2000 counted one night, quite a spectacle seeing them coming in to roost.

Pacific Baza was around the Lodge at the beginning of the week picking insects and frogs from the tops of trees but had vanished by the end of the week, still with no sign of nesting yet. Two Whistling Kite were soaring over Geraghty Park trying to chase off a Black Kite who refused to leave the Whistling Kite territory wanting to enjoy the same thermal they were riding. A Wedge-tailed Eagle was seen overhead near McDougall Road and a Nankeen Kestrel has taken up guard duties at the top of a eucalypt near its nest site. 

Nankeen Kestrel
The two Buff-banded Rail who were raised by our next door neighbours have taken up residence in the Lodge grounds, Katie made her own way here but her brother William came via the Mt. Kooyong Nursing home where he had ended up. He was becoming a nuisance hopping up onto beds and getting under peoples feet. Now they are here acquainting themselves with our guests by getting into their caravans and having a communal shower with the campers! 

Little Bronze-Cuckoo was showing well in Geraghty Park as it collected caterpillars from the trees, the upper rufous neck band identified it as race (Gould's Bronze-Cuckoo). (Lesser) Sooty Owl was only heard this week on at least 3 days but the Eastern Barn Owl were out in force with at least seven individuals seen. Two Great Bowerbird were seen on a morning walk foraging in a small bush with orange fruits in Geraghty Park. Adjacent to this bush a flowering Callistemon, mentioned last week, had ten different species of honeyeater in it during the week, they were Graceful, Yellow, Brown-backed, Dusky, Scarlet, Brown, Black-chinned (Golden-backed form), White-throated, Blue-faced and Macleay's. The images below show a few of them.

Brown-backed Honeyeater

Macleay's Honeyeater

Scarlet Honeyeater-male

Barred Cuckoo-shrike were heard but not seen as was Cicadabird on two occasions which was a surprise as they are not normally here at this time of year and certainly not calling. A single Spangled Drongo has been coming to the feeder and is probably the same one who has been coming for the last few years, no other Spangled Drongo has been seen in the area. Northern Fantail has been around the grounds, especially in the orchard and many Rufous Fantails have been active chasing each other around the rainforest areas. Pied Monarch have been around like the Yellow-breasted Boatbill but both have been hard to see. Tree Martin which are not common around our area now were over the cane fields behind the nursing home in small numbers. The Bassian Thrush which were in the Lodge grounds a few weeks ago have resurfaced in our neighbours garden with two, an adult and a juvenile, spending most of the week in their front garden. A couple of Chestnut-breasted Mannikin have been making an appearance early morning in the seed feeder by the reception area.

Reptiles and mammals were quite good considering the dry weather restricting frog sightings. An Amethystine Python around 3.5m was seen in the orchard one morning and is the first seen in the Lodge grounds for nearly a month. The South American Sapote tree was still attracting Striped Possum with two in it one night, this obviously male one was in it on another night with a large tick on the side of its neck - it looked like it has three eyes at first! The tick looked like the same ones that the bandicoot get from time to time.

Striped Possum - male

Other species seen in the tree were Spectacled Flying-Fox and Northern Blossom Bat. Twice we saw Water Rat Hydromys chrysogaster in Bushy Creek swimming along before climbing up onto the bank, this is a species we have not seen since November 2010. Platypus was seen a few times, mainly in the morning between 6.30-7.00am. Six species of bat were identified, Eastern Horseshoe (flying along the units veranda), Diadem Leaf-nosed Bat (along Bushy Creek), Northern Broad-nosed Bat (under neighbours house), Little Bentwing Bat (roosting in our electrical shed) and the previously mentioned Blosson Bat and Flying-fox.

Further afield there were two possible Elegant Imperial Pigeon sightings which came to our notice via Queensland National Parks staff, one was on 1st February 2011 at Mt. Molloy and the other on 5th February 2011 in the Kennedy Valley near Cardwell a day after Cyclone Yasi. Neither of these sightings has been verified but the possibility of them turning up must not be discounted. This species has turned up in Australia as a vagrant in Darwin. Another vagrant from the north, Collared Imperial Pigeon has also been recorded on Fantome Island south of Cardwell on 27th January 2001. Mt. Lewis has again been showing off the “Wet Tropic” endemics apart from the Golden Bowerbird.

Whatever you do round here, you seem to end up birdwatching, which can't be bad. A visit one morning to the Mount Molloy Service Center to have a new battery fitted ended up with a list of 18 species and that was without binoculars! A row of flowering grevillea and callistemon at the entrance was a hive of activity with nine species of honeyeaters seen. 15 Red-tailed Black Cockatoo also flew over. Mount Molloy is a very small township of about 300, but has a varied habitat which attracts many species of birds in particular Great Bowerbird and Squatter Pigeon. Bird list is on the Eremaea Birds site.

Great Bowerbird - at bower


Andy said...

Love reading your reports all the way over here in Bristol, UK. One thing you may not have noticed is that Google Reader has suddenly started running some of your words together. Still, it had the effect of bringing me actually to the site!

Keith and Lindsay Fisher said...

Not sure what that is all about Andy, changed nothing at our end. Glad you found the site, maybe you will find us one day!