Sunday, 3 July 2011

3rd July 2011 Report

Well what a difference a week makes! We got our wish for rain this week with a few drizzly days bringing 20mm. The overnight temperatures warmed up a minimum of 15.6ºc and the maximum during the day was 20.6ºc.

Bird species recorded were 94 seen and 2 heard. Reptiles and mammals were 19 which was up on previous weeks mainly due to the wet weather bringing out a few more frogs.
The weeks bird list is on the Eremaea Birds website. Morning walk bird lists can also be found on the Eremaea Birds site here.

Despite the weather there were plenty of opportunities to get out and do some birding. After last weeks low-light of a dead Papuan Frogmouth in our orchard (now deposited in the Queensland Museum in Townsville and may become a display specimen), this weeks highlight saw the return of what we believe to be our regular female Papuan Frogmouth to its favourite daytime roost outside the reception area, not sure where last weeks dead one came from, possible one of a pair in the nearby nursing home grounds. Lets hope this one finds a mate as we have not seen the male for sometime. 

An introduced species, the Nutmeg Mannikin is not common around our area so seeing six on a morning walk was a surprise. We have only had 18 sightings since 2005 with the last one in July 2010.Still no Emerald Dove for the third week. We have heard reports of them down on the coast and on Mt. Lewis so they maybe having a holiday! Still hundreds of Topknot Pigeon flying over in the mornings heading south. Large flocks of Australian Swiftlet (est.100+) were overhead ahead of rain showers on several days. One Little Pied Cormorant flew over on a morning walk while five Little Black Cormorant were perched in a tree across the Rex Highway from the Lodge on a different morning walk. Eastern Great, Intermediate and many Cattle Egret were also perched in the same tree as the cormorant. This Cattle Egret was showing signs of breeding plumage on its forehead.

Cattle Egret

White-faced Heron was seen beside some ponding opposite Geraghty Park and at least six Australian White Ibis were foraging at the nearby Barramundi Farm. The Black-shouldered Kite, mentioned last week, along with the Whistling Kite which are busy building a nest, continue harassing the White-bellied Sea-Eagle on its morning forays to the local Barramundi Farm for a breakfast fish.

Black-shouldered Kite

A Grey Goshawk was along Bushy Creek and an Australian Hobby flew over the same area one morning. The two eight week old Buff-banded Rail (reported last week) have moved out of our neighbours garden and were seen across Bushy Creek at the Platypus viewing area one afternoon. They soon flew over to us when we were spotted and walked around us making their little contact calls before heading back into the rainforest, hope they both survive. The four Bush Stone-curlew at the nursing home were present all week and another one was spotlighted in Geraghty Park. Again one Double-eyed Fig-Parrot flew over the Lodge grounds calling but not stopping. (Lesser) Sooty Owl was again calling on a couple of nights but not seen this week. Eastern Barn Owl were seen in roost hollow and nest hollow but no sign of any nestlings. Another pair were in the area calling and getting quite exited as though they were ready to mate. Azure Kingfisher has been perching along Bushy Creek and in the Crake Pool but no sign of last weeks Little Kingfisher. Spotted Catbird has been continuing to come to the feeder and has had a treat this week as we have had a Soursop from our orchard which catbirds love. Great Bowerbird has been in Geraghty Park feeding on the fruits of a small shrub and nearby were two Red-backed Fairy-wren, one pictured below could be a female, juvenile or immature male as they are almost impossible to tell apart but our guess is a female. 

Red-backed Fairy-wren

The same 11 species of honeyeater that have been with us for the last month are still here with an increase at the feeder of Lewin's Honeyeater due to the weather making food resources harder to get. Australasian Figbird have been around but fewer than the last few weeks, this male managed to find its breakfast.

Australasian Figbird

Both Yellow and Olive-backed Oriole have been around as have Black Butcherbird. A pair of Shining Flycatcher have been along Bushy Creek viewed from McDougall Road. Pied Monarch have been performing with one foraging only 1m. above the ground and putting on a display for us on a morning walk. Yellow-breasted Boatbill have been calling but difficult to see as they are keeping high up in the canopy. A female Victoria's Riflebird was lured into the feeder by the catbird's soursop and was also seen picking at bark along the road to the reception area. An Australian Reed-Warbler was heard calling from the cane field across the Rex Highway but not seen during a morning walk. A flock of at least 50 Silvereye were foraging in eucalypts on the edge of Geraghty Park, this one was hanging upside down trying to winkle out a spider. 

The numbers of Bassian Thrush swelled to four foraging in the orchard during the week but by the end of the week we could only find one.

Good week for reptiles and mammals with a perfect Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko found on a night walk, this was the first sighting for the year. Also a Green Ringtail Possum was seen on the same night. The rain bought out a few frogs with Cogger's Frog and Jungguy Frog the first sightings for a few weeks. Also a Dainty Green Tree Frog was seen but unfortunately it was being eaten by a Little Shrike-thrush. A Northern Dwarf Tree Frog insists on hiding under our freezer lid and has survived getting squashed or frozen so far.

Northern Dwarf Tree Frog

Further afield a Male Victoria's Riflebird was seen at the 9 Mile in Julatten and two Australian Pratincole were seen at Kairi by David “Chook” Crawford from Close Up Birding Adventures follow the link to his website. This is an unusual time of year to see this species. “Chook” also found a dead Masked Owl along the highway near Abattoir Swamp, it had fully feathered legs and the feathering continued onto the toes, unfortunately the bird was squashed badly but good to know they are/were still in the area.

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