Monday, 15 August 2011

14th August 2011 Report

Firstly apologies for late posting this week but we have been unable to login to our blogger account on our main computer so have had to use an alternative computer. No idea what has happen on the main one yet despite a day and a half trying to find out! Anyway on with this weeks report - hope you all enjoy.

What a fantastic week of great weather, a couple of showers at the beginning bought 3mm of rain, then it was cool mornings down to 10.2ºc and very pleasant afternoon temperatures of up to 22.9ºc. Perfect birding conditions.

Another good week for numbers of bird species with 104 seen, and 3 heard. Reptiles and mammals were 21 which was pretty good despite the drier cool weather keeping the frogs quiet and out of sight. The weeks bird list is on the Eremaea Birds website.

Best record for the week was probably an Australian Hobby perched high in a tree on a morning walk, whilst they are in the area they don't get recorded too often. Five Barred Cuckoo-shrike were a welcome sight after proving difficult to find over the last month or so, however they were only seen on one day before disappearing again. A Cicadabird called late Saturday afternoon, which is unusual as they are not normally here or calling at this time of year.

Barred Cuckoo-shrike

Waterbirds were again increasing in numbers along McDougall Road with Magpie Goose, Wandering Whistling-Duck, Australian Wood Duck, Green Pygmy-goose and a high of four Cotton Pygmy-goose, Pacific Black Duck, Hardhead and Australasian Grebe. Also present at the lagoons were Australian Darter, Little Pied and Little Black Cormorant, Eastern Great , Intermediate and Cattle Egret and Dusky Moorhen. Brown Cuckoo-Dove were again in good numbers (20+) around the Lodge foraging on the fruits of the Bleeding Heart tree Homalanthus populifolius, along with Great Bowerbird, Lewin's Honeyeater, Australasian Figbird, Silvereye and Metallic Starling. 

Brown Cuckoo-Dove

Some of the over flying Topknot Pigeon have decided to land in a few of the local trees but have not yet been seen feeding on any fruits. Our female Papuan Frogmouth has been in the same roost spot all week but not seen on any night walks. Two juvenile Black-shouldered Kite have been in trees opposite Geraghty Park all week crying out for food and a pair of Brown Goshawk were in Geraghty Park chasing each other around one morning.

Unfortunately our tame Buff-banded Rails have had to be split up with William proving to be a nuisance with the guests, attacking them and drawing blood and complaints so he has been relocated to a nice area along a creek well away from any human contact. He was becoming more and more independent and not coming for food as often as he used to so hopefully he will survive in the big wide world. Katie, the other one, is so far behaving herself and not attacking anyone but if she does she will be off to join William.

Our Eastern Barn Owl numbers dropped this week with only four seen, hopefully some of the juveniles have moved off to find new territories. Azure Kingfisher has been at the Crake Pool and along Bushy Creek whilst a Blue-winged Kookaburra was seen entering a tree hollow along the Rex Highway. The flowering Callistemon in Geraghty Park that has been attracting many honeyeaters has quietened down this week but has still attracted a few new birds to it including Bridled Honeyeater and Mistletoebird. A pair of White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike have been foraging around in Geraghty Park all week and were visiting the fruiting Bleeding Heart tree but not appearing to eat the fruits. 

White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike

An adult Black Butcherbird has been around the Lodge grounds and was seen at the end of the week near the main entrance to the Lodge lurking around in the edge of the rainforest. Spangled Drongo has been coming to the feeder to get some sugar water and Northern Fantail are still around the grounds. Black-faced Monarch was again around this week and seems to favour the area of rainforest near the main entrance to the Lodge. Pied Monarch and male Yellow-breasted Boatbill continue to call and be seen regularly. A female Victoria's Riflebird was seen once foraging high in the rainforest canopy one day and Lemon-bellied Flycatcher are perching on fences and in trees at Geraghty Park. Welcome Swallow numbers have increased over the last week and the two Bassian Thrush continue to forage in the orchard. Metallic Starling numbers have also increased and they have started to investigate their nesting tree in Geraghty Park but have not started to build yet. A few Chestnut-breasted Mannikin continue to come to the seed feeder at first light to join the Red-browed Finch. This Red-browed Finch was displaying with a grass seed head in its bill whilst it hopped sideways along a branch and vertically up and down this vine.

Red-browed Finch - displaying

A different mix of reptiles and mammals this week with two snakes seen, Green Tree Snake and Amethystine Python the first for several weeks. A Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko was seen once, this was the first for three weeks as was a Tree Mouse Pogonomys sp. which was seen high up in a coconut palm checking out the flowers, this is a difficult species to find. The Water Rat in Bushy Creek was seen regularly at night and the Platypus has been seen most days, early morning and late afternoon, one afternoon at 5.15 the Platypus put on a show for about 20 minutes. Bush Rat Ratus fuscipes numbers increased this week with at least eight appearing at the feeder, not quite plague proportions yet!

Bush Rat
Further afield male Golden Bowerbird were seen on Mt. Lewis in two different locations, one in a restricted area. White-browed Robin was reported from Big Mitchell Creek, which is a well known location but in recent times it has not been reported here. Atherton Scrubwren was reported from Julatten at an unusually low altitude of around 450m, they are normally above 600m. One fruiting fig tree in Julatten has been attracting many Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, Australasian Figbird and Metallic Starling. Blue-faced Parrot-Finch and Lovely Fairy-wren were also around the Julatten area. Del Richards from Fine Feather Tours reported Latham's Snipe around Port Douglas which is an early return.

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