Sunday, 7 August 2011

7th August Report 2011

The week started off with fine sunny conditions but gradually the cloud came in and by the end of the week there was rain and drizzle, not a lot with only 8.5mm spread over 3 days. The temperatures felt colder due to a wind chill factor with the lowest 13.7ºc overnight getting up to a high of 21.9ºc during the day.

Another good week for numbers of bird species with 111 seen, five more than last week and a further 3 heard. Reptiles and mammals were 20 which was pretty good, this was mainly due to the wet weather bringing out a few more frogs. The weeks bird list is on the Eremaea Birds website.
Morning birdwalk lists are also on the Eremaea Birds site.

The most surprising record for the week was 35-40 Red-tailed Black Cockatoo flying over the Rex Highway heading towards Mount Molloy on the evening of the 6th. This is only the second record in August in six years with most of the previous 23 records being in December to March.

Four Brown Quail were seen crossing the Rex Highway line astern and five over flying Magpie Goose were doing the same. The two male and one female Cotton Pygmy-goose are still along McDougall Road as are Wandering Whistling-Duck, Australian Wood Duck, Pacific Black Duck and a Hardhead. Brown Cuckoo-Dove were out in force in our neighbours garden with up to twelve foraging on green fruits on a small tree. Emerald Dove numbers are back to the level they were at before they disappeared a month ago with at least ten individuals. A Wompoo Fruit-Dove was foraging in a fruiting tree at the entrance to the Lodge grounds late in the week with at least two others heard calling. 

Wompoo Fruit-Dove

Our female Papuan Frogmouth was roosting in the orchard for most of the week but disappeared at the end and probably moved into the rainforest due to the rain. An Australian Owlet-nightjar was seen only once peering out of its daytime roost and a rarity around here at the moment, an Eastern Great Egret was seen several times along McDougall Road and overflying the Lodge. Four Australian White Ibis were flying over heading to the local Barramundi Farm and a lone Straw-necked Ibis was foraging in a paddock along Mt. Kooyong Road just across from the Lodge. A pair of Pacific Baza obligingly perched low down in trees near the entrance to the Lodge whilst on a morning walk, one flew towards Geraghty Park and perched in full sun for excellent views. A Wedge-tailed Eagle was again seen soaring over the area surrounding the Lodge and a Nankeen Kestrel was again guarding it's nesting tree. Katie and William the Buff-banded Rail who are just over three months old now are continuing to keep our guests entertained. An Australian Bustard was behind the Julatten School one morning, not common around the Lodge area with only one other sighting over the last six years.

Scaly-breasted Lorikeet were seen entering a nest hollow in a Queensland Blue Gum and Double-eyed Fig-Parrot were in a tree along McDougall Road at the beginning of the week. Eastern Barn Owl were again seen on nightwalks with up to six perched and flying around. Three Spotted Catbird were chasing and calling at the end of the week in the rainforest at the rear of our units and also visiting the feeder spasmodically. Fairy Gerygone were coming down lower in the rainforest than normal allowing a photo of this immature male (?).

Fairy Gerygone - immature male (?)

Great Bowerbird was again in Geraghty Park feeding on the small bush mentioned last week. The adjacent Callistemon was also attracting eleven species of honeyeater – Lewin's, Graceful, Yellow-faced, Yellow, Brown-backed, Dusky, Scarlet, Brown, White-throated, Blue-faced and Macleay's. Several people have asked who Macleay's Honeyeater was named after, well it was named after Sir William John Macleay (1820-1891) Scottish/Australian politician and naturalist.

The Callistemon was also attracting many insects including the bee shown below loaded down with pollen. Also couldn't resist another Scarlet Honeyeater photo as they are such stunning birds plus the Yellow-faced Honeyeater managed to stop chasing each other around long enough for a photo.

Bee sp.

Scarlet Honeyeater - male

Yellow-faced Honeyeater

In addition Spangled Drongo and Varied Triller were also feeding in the Callistemon. 

A few Barred Cuckoo-shrike are still being seen but they are still scarce in the area. Australasian Figbird were around in small flocks. We thought this bird below was an immature male figbird at first but one anonymous reader suggested it was an Olive-backed Oriole. We reviewed the image and agreed with this ID. We had looked at the plate in HANZAB which did not show the immature as in this image but upon reading the text more closely we realised it fitted the oriole. Always willing to be corrected! So it now has the correct ID.

Olive-backed Oriole - immature

Still only a few Spangled Drongo around with one coming into the feeder and making quite a noise, calling as it tries to get stuck into the nectar feeder. Northern Fantail continues to hang around the edge of the rainforest whilst there have been Grey Fantail along McDougall Road. 

Northern Fantail

The Black-faced Monarch previously mentioned overwintering around the Lodge is still with us and Pied Monarch has been showing well with one seen on a morning walk about 1m off the ground foraging on a tree trunk. An Australian Reed-Warbler was heard and seen along Bushy Creek in some of the last remaining patches of grass since the cane farmer mowed right down to the creek edge. Bassian Thrush have again been in our neighbours garden preferring it to our orchard where they had been. Metallic Starling numbers have built up over the week with a flock of at least 20 seen foraging in the Lodge. Chestnut-breasted Mannikin have started to re-appear at the seed feeder since the return of the rain with at least three visiting.

Reptiles and mammals were good this week with frog species bolstering the numbers, seven species were seen – Jungguy Frog, White-lipped Tree Frog, Northern Dwarf Tree Frog, Roth's Tree Frog, Dessert Tree Frog, Juvenile Cogger's Frog and Cane Toad. A Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko was found at the end of the week after nearly three weeks absence. Northern Blossom Bat and Spectacled Flying Fox were in the orchard along with Green Ringtail and Striped Possum.

Jungguy Frog
Striped Possum

Water Rat was again in Bushy Creek along with several sightings of Platypus which was active during the day. This is not the normal behaviour of our Platypus in the fast flowing creek, they are usually about early morning and early evening/night but have been seen in the afternoon between 2.00-3.30, once two were seen together. It maybe coincidence but the sightings of Platypus during the day have coincided with the appearance of the Water Rat during the night who may be spooking the Platypus.

Further afield Squatter Pigeon was in Mount Molloy as were Pied Currawong who were seen at the end of the week - it is most unusual to find them at this location, they only turn up here every 3-4 years (pers. comm Lloyd Nielsen).  Flowering eucalypts were attracting White-cheeked and Bridled Honeyeater as well as a large flock (up to 100) Double-eyed Fig-Parrot along the highway towards Mount Molloy. Square-tailed Kite have been seen in the Julatten area once last week. 



Anonymous said...

I think the bird identified as an immature Australasian Figbird is an immature Olive-backed Oriole. The shape of the bill in particular suits that of the oriole.

Blue Bird IM said...

The Striped Possum is just beautiful!

Keith and Lindsay Fisher said...

Yes Great mammal but can be difficult finding one at times as they like to get into the tallest trees!