3mm of rain this week but still very dry. Overnight temperatures were slightly cooler than last week going down to 14.8ºc in the middle of the week which was 2ºc cooler than last week. The afternoon temperatures were up to 26.9ºc which was about a degree warmer than last week.
Another good week for numbers of bird species with 102 seen, and 8 heard. Reptiles and mammals were 17 which was one more than last week.
The weeks bird list is on the Eremaea Birds website and morning walk lists can also be found at this link on Eremaea Birds.
Main highlights for the week were great views of a preening (Lesser) Sooty Owl perched behind our cook shed at the end of an evening walk. It spent at least 10 minutes perched and calling in between its preening. A Little Kingfisher made an appearance at the Crake Pool late one afternoon and both Eastern Koel and Channel-billed Cuckoo were heard on the morning of the 9th, first returns here for the year.
Magpie Goose were heard flying over one evening, probably heading to the lagoons along McDougall Road. Once again these two wetlands retained a good collection of waterbirds including two pairs of Cotton Pygmy-goose and a few Comb-crested Jacana.
Superb Fruit-Dove were heard on several days but not seen and some of the hundreds of overflying Topknot Pigeon landed in the rainforest adjacent to the orchard for good views. Again the female Papuan Frogmouth has been calling every night and seen most days roosting on the edge of the orchard. Black Bittern was seen along McDougall Road which is the first time for 10 weeks. White-bellied Sea-Eagle were seen flying past the entrance to the Lodge grounds several times carrying fish and also seen displaying overhead. A Grey Goshawk was heard and both Nankeen Kestrel and Australian Hobby were seen. Katie our Buff-banded Rail continues to entertain our guests cleaning up spiders and crumbs in their rooms or inside their caravans, she is very efficient!
Bush Stone-curlew have been very vocal during the week calling all night, sometimes quite close to the buildings or along Mt. Kooyong Road. We have also been hearing them fly over making a different call to the ones they do on the ground.
A pair of Rainbow Lorikeet have been coming around with two whinging juvenile birds who are constantly begging food and Scaly-breasted Lorikeet have been seen again entering a hole in one of the Queensland Blue Gums. An adult male Little Bronze-Cuckoo (Gould's sub-species) has been foraging around the entrance to the Lodge grounds, calling and giving good views. Eastern Barn Owl numbers still seem to be low with only two seen during a spotlighting trip on one night. A pair of Spotted Catbird have been around with one adult feeding another adult at the feeder one day and another day they were seen in the orchard with one bird chasing the other with a small Candlenut fruit in its bill. We presume this is the male chasing the female and giving her presents before copulating.
Lovely Fairy-wren were in some bamboo alongside Bushy Creek near the nursing home at the end of the week. A good week for honeyeaters with 13 seen, which was one more than last week, plenty of flowering trees and shrubs to attract them. Scarlet Honeyeater were coming down low to feed on the flowers of the Macadamia which is a member of the family Proteaceae, (the same as grevilleas which are known for their bird attracting flowers). Macadamia's are native to Australia and among only a handful of commercially cultivated endemic Australian plants; it is grown for its edible nuts. The White-tailed Rats get most of our nuts! Graceful Honeyeater is a resident in the Lodge grounds and this one was calling as it was photographed making identification easy (if you know the call). It is twisting its head, distorting the yellow ear patch and making it look more like the crescent shape of the Lewin's Honeyeater, adding to the difficulty in identifying it. Graceful Honeyeater are much smaller than Yellow-spotted and Lewin's Honeyeater but in an image you don't get to see the relative size or the more nervous wing flicks that the Graceful tend to do. These three meliphagas honeyeaters with the yellow ear patches prove to be the most difficult honeyeaters for visitors to identify. The best identification article for these birds was written by David James in the September 1995 edition of the Birds Australia magazine Wingspan.
Barred Cuckoo-shrike have been around calling and at least five seen perched beside Bushy Creek high up in a Blue Quandong tree. Black Butcherbird have been calling and seen with both the black plumaged adult and juvenile plumaged brown bird sneaking around in the rainforest. The brown bird was seen attacking an Olive-backed Sunbird.
Pied Monarch and Yellow-breasted Sunbird have both been calling and seen throughout the week. A female Victoria's Riflebird was seen once at the bird feeder by the reception area. Two Bassian Thrush were seen at the beginning of the week but had disappeared by the end, same behaviour as last week.
Further afield a male Golden Bowerbird was seen on Mount Lewis along with good views of Superb Fruit-Dove. Three White-headed Pigeon were a few kilometres away in a patch of rainforest off the Rex Highway. Blue-faced Parrot-Finch have not been seen in the area for most of the week and the habitat is looking unsuitable as there is very little seed and it is very dry. A Barking Owl was seen roosting in a patch of rainforest near Abattoir Swamp and is the closest we have had one to the Lodge this year.
The best mammal for the week was a Short-beaked Echidna seen by our neighbour, Carol the local bird guide, at the back of the Mt. Kooyong Nursing Home, which first one seen for about 3 years. They used to be resident around the Lodge an seen fairly regularly, lets hope they are making a come back. You can just see the black bill at the front of this Echidna digging into the ground.
A Green Ringtail Possum was seen opposite the platypus viewing area across Bushy Creek whilst on a nightwalk, not a place we would expect to see one as it is low down and very sparse vegetation alongside a cane paddock. Platypus have been regularly seen in Bushy Creek with at least two performing; one was seen about 7.30am whilst on a morning walk and swam up and down for over five minutes putting on a good show.