Sunday, 18 September 2011

18th September 2011 Report

No rain this week and very dry. Overnight temperatures were again slightly cooler than last week going down to 12.7ºc at the beginning of the week which was 2ºc cooler than last week. The afternoon temperatures were up to 25.7ºc which was about a degree cooler than last week.

Another good week for numbers of bird species with 105 seen, and 5 heard. Reptiles and mammals were 16 which was one less 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.

Highlights for the week were an increase to three pairs of Cotton Pygmy-goose along McDougall Road, a pair of Pacific Baza starting to nest, Grey Goshawk carrying a prey item across Bushy Creek, Red-tailed Black Cockatoo flying over one afternoon, first Fan-tailed Cuckoo since 17th April 2011, this one was seen along McDougall Road. A female Eastern Koel was perched in our orchard one morning calling and Brown-backed Honeyeater was building a nest in Geraghty Park.

Brown-backed Honeyeater

Other sightings:
Still plenty of waterbird species in the McDougall Road lagoons including Green Pygmy-goose, Australasian Grebe and six Comb-crested Jacana. Wompoo and Superb Fruit-Dove have been heard only but there were four Pied Imperial Pigeon and at least ten Topknot Pigeon feeding in a Blue Quondong Eleocarpus grandis tree on the edge of the Lodge grounds. Our female Papuan Frogmouth has been showing all week but not heard calling as in previous weeks. Large flocks of Australian Swiftlet have been around in the latter part of the week but Cattle Egret numbers have declined, maybe some have moved off to their nesting areas as a few were starting to colour up into breeding plumage.

Raptor numbers were down this week but we did manage eight species including Brown Goshawk, Brown Falcon and Australian Hobby. “Katie” our Buff-banded Rail continues to clean up around the place and has just learnt to chase off one of our Major Skink (180mm+ in length), which appeared on the veranda by our units. We saw a pair of Rainbow Lorikeet entering a nest hollow in a tree one morning, shortly afterwards a pair of Scaly-breasted Lorikeet flew in to investigate the same tree hollow and tried to go in. The Rainbow Lorikeet looked out in surprise and the Scaly-breasted Lorikeet retreated to a nearby branch looking equally surprised, the pair of rainbows then flew out. Both pairs sat nearby looking at the hollow whist we tried to make out who actually owned it – we did not find out as both pairs flew off! 

Rainbow Lorikeet
(Lesser) Sooty Owl was heard several times during the week but not located unlike Eastern Barn Owl who were calling and at least two seen. Four species of Kingfisher were seen, Azure, Laughing and Blue-winged Kookaburra plus Forest Kingfisher. Spotted Catbird has been around the Lodge grounds and Great Bowerbird and Red-backed Fairy-wren were along McDougall Road. 13 species of honeyeater were seen including Lewin's, Yellow-spotted, Graceful, Bridled, Scarlet (M & F) and Macleay's. Barred Cuckoo-shrike showed well at the end of the week feeding in a fig tree along Mt. Kooyong Road and a juvenile brown Black Butcherbird has been skulking around the orchard. 

Black Butcherbird - juvenile
Northern Fantail continue to hang around our neighbours garden but no sign of Grey Fantail who have rarely been seen around the Lodge grounds this year which is unusual. The overwintering Black-faced Monarch has been foraging in the orchard area and probably looking forward to meeting his mates who should be returning from Papua New Guinea soon. Pied Monarch and Yellow-breasted Boatbill have been seen most days, often late afternoon around the Platypus viewing area on Bushy Creek. Lemon-bellied Flycatcher have been active in Geraghty Park whilst the Pale-yellow Robin have at least two nests under construction in the Lodge grounds. Bassian Thrush was around at the beginning of the week but not at the end, which seems to becoming a pattern as this is the third week in a row that this has happened. Metallic Starlings seem to have stalled with their nest building efforts in Geraghty Park during the week, but are still around as they have been coming into our water bowls to bathe. Still three Chestnut-breasted Mannikin coming into the seed feeder along with 50+ Red-browed Finch.

Further afield a Painted Snipe was reported from Mareeba and two male Golden Bowerbird were seen on Mt. Lewis, these are chance sightings with birds flying across the road. 

Painted Snipe
Also on Mt. Lewis two pair of Fernwren were seen building nests. North of Mt. Carbine Del Richards from Fine Feather Tours reported Black-throated Finch and Banded Honeyeater both adults and juveniles. He also reported six Australian Pelican on Hasties Swamp near Atherton which is unusual. We have seen them here before when one was present on 26/6/2002 and again on 17/9/2008. Striated Pardalote are nesting near Abattoir Swamp, this appears to be a second nesting as they were using the same nest two months ago. 

Striated Pardalote

Blue-faced parrot-Finch are still in the area but are becoming harder to find and maybe starting to retreat back into the mountains.

Mammals and Reptiles this week were a bit quiet but we did see a Green Ringtail Possum, Spectacled Flying-fox, Platypus, Long-nosed and Brown Bandicoot on a night walk. A native Giant White-tailed Rat has started to appear at the feeder for the first time in several months, this is a tree rat who nest in tree hollows.

Giant White-tailed Rat
A few Major Skink are still coming out to enjoy the warmer weather and a few Eastern Water Dragon are along Bushy Creek. Only White-lipped Tree Frog and Roth's Tree Frog seen which reflects the extremely dry weather.

Giant White-lipped Tree Frog

Some people say rainforests are dull and different shades of green but this is not true as this image of rainforest leaves proves.

Rainforest leaves

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