Sunday, 30 October 2011

30th October Report 2011

This weeks rainfall was a complete contrast to last weeks with only 2.5mm falling on the first two days of the week. Maximum and minimum temperatures were about the same as last week getting up to 30.2ºc and down to 19ºc. Humidity was high, getting up to 94% and slightly lower than last week going down to 58%.

There were a few more birds recorded this week than last with 106 seen and 11 heard. 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 around the Lodge grounds were the return of Noisy Pitta on the 23rd after being away since mid-May, at least two have been seen and are calling throughout the day. Welcome back.

Noisy Pitta

An Eastern Osprey was flying over the Rex Highway heading towards the Barramundi Farm, this was the 14th record in six years, so they are not very common here. The first year Bassian Thrush returned and stayed all week showing well around the grounds. A Great-billed Heron was seen one afternoon walking along Bushy Creek and presumably the same bird was seen later in the week along the same creek at McDougall Road. At least two Superb Fruit-Dove were seen and many more were calling.

Other sightings: Waterbird numbers were again down with only one Green Pygmy-goose seen and fewer Hardhead around. Pigeons and doves were again in evidence with 8 species seen and one heard. The Superb Fruit-Dove have been calling for at least six weeks but it has only been this week that we have seen more than one when two males were foraging high in the rainforest canopy. The rufous morph of the Tawny Frogmouth was around for a second week, it was seen roosting and spotlighted one night. The Papuan Frogmouth female was roosting on the edge of the orchard apart from the last two days of the week and was calling most nights. A single Fork-tailed Swift was seen on the 29th late evening flying over an adjacent cane field. Two White-necked Heron, an adult and an immature, were seen on a morning walk flying over Geraghty Park, not a common species in our area. The previously reported Juvenile Nankeen Night-Heron was still along Bushy Creek. The Pacific Baza continue to be in the area and have been seen soaring overhead but still no action at the nest they started building a month ago. Both a juvenile and two adult White-bellied Sea-Eagle were seen, the two adults were on the ground at the Barramundi Farm and the juvenile soaring over the Lodge grounds. A Wedge-tailed Eagle was over the cane fields one evening and Nankeen Kestrel were perched on the power poles along the highway most days. A snipe sp. was in a small lagoon in the cane field near the nursing home and presumed to be a Latham's. Double-eyed Fig-Parrot were only seen flying over despite several suitable fig trees being in fruit around the Lodge. An immature Eastern Koel was foraging in the orchard showing patchy black feathers through the juvenile brown plumage. Azure Kingfisher was again flying up and down Bushy Creek after a period of several week without being seen. Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher are still proving difficult to see but most guests have seen them by being patient and putting in the time.

Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher

Forest Kingfisher are still fiddling around with their nest in the rainforest and Dollarbird are flying around Geraghty Park checking out suitable nest hollows. Spotted Catbird has been spotted carrying nesting material and appearing at the feeder to grab some fruit. 13 species of honeyeater were taking advantage of the numerous flowering trees in the Lodge grounds with a few Lewin's still around and an increasing number of Noisy Friarbird appearing. Yellow Honeyeater has started to come back into the Lodge grounds over the last few weeks after ignoring us for at least 18months. They have been in the area but out in the more open woodland habitat of Geraghty Park and surrounds. 

Yellow Honeyeater
White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike are sitting on a nest in the fork of a tree and both Barred Cuckoo-shrike and Cicadabird have been very vocal and seen. Yellow Oriole have returned with at least one calling and a juvenile Olive-backed Oriole has been seen in the orchard. Black-faced Monarch are extremely vocal calling for most of the day and showing well but always out of reach of the camera lens! Yellow-breasted Boatbill are all very vocal, mainly early morning and there is still a female Victoria's Riflebird getting around the grounds. Pale-yellow Robin are at various stages of nesting with some birds sitting whilst others are feeding recently fledged birds. A few Grey-headed Robin are lingering on reluctant to head to the higher ground of the nearby mountains. Metallic Starling are nearing completion of their nests and providing seeds for the local tree planting group who have a catcher under their colony to collect regurgitated seeds. This one is eying off its next meal to help the tree planting group.

Metallic Starling

Further afield at Mt. Molloy the Noisy Friarbird has been chasing off the Blue-faced Honeyeater gangs from flowering grevilleas, which is no mean feat. 

Blue-faced Honeyeater
Also feeding in the grevilleas was this immature Olive-backed Oriole; note the dark tear drop streaks on the breast which are different to the female Australasian Figbird streaking, which is more parallel and more brown in colour.

Olive-backed Oriole

Mammals and reptile numbers were again good this week with a few unusual sightings; A 1m Lace Monitor was seen heading up a tree near the reception area and was the first seen since December 2010. A Rough-scaled Snake, which are venomous, was seen in the rainforest near the Crake Pool and serves as a warning to wear sensible shoes and clothing when wandering around and that it is possible to come across snakes anywhere in the forest. In general snakes are rarely encountered on the property and if they are they are relatively harmless Green Tree Snake or Amethystine Python. Agile Wallaby have been on and around the Lodge grounds and are the only kangaroo we have on the property.

Agile Wallaby

Giant White-tailed Rat have been actively chasing each other around and making a lot of noise which probably indicates breeding season. A Striped Possum was heard on a night walk calling and tracked down in a dead tree for all the guests to get good views. Long-nosed Bandicoot have been coming out of the rainforest to forage in the orchard where three were seen one evening. 

Long-nosed Bandicoot
The Platypus have also been showing well with most guests seeing them in Bushy Creek where there is at least two. A film crew were filming their underwater activities whilst above water a friend of ours from our Darwin days was trying to photograph bats in flight. Seven species of frog this week, they got excited at last weeks rain but most had disappeared by the end of the week. Boyd's Forest Dragon and Eastern Water Dragon were showing most days whilst the Major Skink were playing hide and seek!

The rain of the previous week triggered off a flurry of activity with the fungi, this one is growing out of a crack in a tree trunk.

Fungi sp.

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