Sunday, 9 October 2011

9th October 2011 Report

Minimum temperatures at the beginning of the week were down to 15.3ºc but for the rest of the week they were around 17-18ºc mark. The maximum temperature was 31.4ºc at the beginning of the week with one overcast and cloudy day only getting up to 24.8ºc, it even tried raining this day but the sprinkle was dry before it hit the ground. The lowest humidity was 52% and highest 90%.

Another good week for numbers of bird species with 107 seen, and 11 heard. Reptiles and mammals were down on last week but still good with 22 seen and one 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 first Dollarbird for the season at the end of the week, several Wompoo Fruit-Dove showing well foraging on Blue Quondong fruits plus a male and female Lovely Fairy-Wren along Bushy Creek at the Platypus viewing area.

Other sightings:

The Lagoons along McDougall Road were once again producing good numbers of waterbird species including Grey Teal which is a species we have not seen in the Lodge area since the beginning of December 2009. The Cotton Pygmy-goose were still present with a maximum of five, also present were Green Pygmy-goose This image was taken late in the afternoon with the sun reflecting off the ripples caused by the wind.

Green Pygmy-goose - female

Pigeons and doves were again good this week with Brown Cuckoo-Dove, Emerald, Peaceful and Bar-shouldered Dove, Wompoo Fruit-Dove plus Pied Imperial and Topknot Pigeon. Superb Fruit-Dove was only heard. Our female Papuan Frogmouth was visible all week roosting and also heard calling at night but still not able to attract a mate. Australian Owlet-nightjar was seen once at its daytime roost tree and heard on several nights
Australian Swiftlet were around for a couple of days in big numbers with hundreds hawking low over the Lodge and adjacent areas.

The two Pacific Baza reported last week were again near last years nest site calling and seen carrying some small twigs for their nest. This one was spooked by a dive bombing Forest Kingfisher.

Pacific Baza

A single Nankeen Kestrel was again seen once perched on a power pole alongside the Rex Highway.

Katie” the Buff-banded Rail continues meeting the guests and cleaning up the spiders in the rooms, tents and caravans and seems settled at the moment. No doubt the wander lust will kick in and she will be off again. We did see an adult Buff-banded Rail along Bushy Creek foraging at the edge which might tempt “Katie” to head down there. Both Australian Spotted Crake and White-browed Crake were heard in the McDougall Road lagoons but not seen. Black-fronted Dotterel were seen at the Barramundi Farm and also at one of the McDougall Road Lagoons.

Eastern Koel have been calling but not showing but at least three Channel-billed Cuckoo have been seen flying around together. (Lesser) Sooty Owl was not seen this week, only heard and only two Eastern Barn Owl were seen although several others were heard. Blue-winged Kookaburra were heard only and don't appear to be crossing the Rex Highway into Geraghty Park at the moment so they may possibly be nesting. A pair of Forest Kingfisher have been taking an interest in a termite mound high up in the rainforest canopy on a bare tree. They have been calling and making lots of clicking sounds around the mound. One day whilst the Forest Kingfishers were calling a Large-billed Scrubwren fired up and began mimicking the kingfishers call, it was a near perfect rendition. 

Forest Kingfisher - male & female
Brown Gerygone was heard on the edge of the rainforest on the border with our neighbours which was the first time for several weeks. Not so many honeyeaters this week with only eleven species. At least five Barred Cuckoo-shrike have been around the area, more often heard than seen. Cicadabird was also heard but not seen unlike the normally secretive Olive-backed Oriole which were seen on several occasions foraging in a fruiting fig tree along with a flock of Australasian Figbird. Several Spangled Drongo appeared on the scene mid-week and at least one Rufous Fantail is still around. Black-faced Monarch have been vocal again this week and seen bathing in Bushy Creek. This male Mistletoebird was active collecting nectar from a flowering Bottlebrush (Calistemon). 

Mistletoebird - male

An Australian Pipit was foraging at the nearby Barramundi Farm which is a location they are not seen at very often.

Further afield a small flock of White-headed Pigeon were foraging just off the highway from Julatten to Mt.Molloy near Abattoir Swamp in a patch of rainforest, White-winged Triller have been seen at Mowbray National Park, an unusual location and also at Lake Mitchell a more usual location. Mt. Lewis has been regularly turning up ten out of twelve of the Wet Tropics endemic species with Tooth-billed and Golden Bowerbird (M & F), Fernwren, Atherton Scrubwren, Mountain Thornbill, Bridled Honeyeater, Chowchilla, Bower's Shrike-thrush, Victoria's Riflebird and Grey-headed Robin. 

Chowchilla - male
Hundreds of Spangled Drongo were seen migrating southwards along the coast at Newell Beach, just north of Mossman and two Grey Fantail were in Churchill Creek Road off the Mt. Lewis Road. These are the first seen for several weeks and one of few sightings this year. Also along Churchill Creek Road, on a private property, a large flock of Double-eyed Fig-Parrot were seen to come into roost on dusk, probably about 80 birds. We used to get about 120 roosting opposite our house in Cairns about 10 years ago.

Mammals were good with a positive identification of a bat species we regularly see along Bushy Creek, Large-footed Myotis. A Giant White-tailed Rat was spotted in a coconut palm biting its way into a coconut husk. Striped Possum was heard several times but not located as it fed high up in the canopy on a Pink Mahogany tree. Platypus was regularly seen in Bushy Creek throughout the week and a Water Rat was also seen here once. Frog numbers were well down with only four species seen, Jungguy Frog, White-lipped Tree Frog, Roth's Tree Frog and Dessert Tree Frog. This White-lipped Tree Frog is doing what frogs do best and that is to sleep!

White-lipped Tree Frog

Talking of frogs we now have the latest revised edition of the “ Field Guide to the Frogs of Australia” available in our shop for $49.95 plus postage. This revised edition contains four more new species, which have been described, one name change and one more (Neobratrachus centralis) has been suppressed. Two recently described frog species, which are not in the book, have been found near Lockhart River on Cape York, you can read about them on the Cairns Post website .

Boyd's Forest Dragon were around at the beginning of the week but hiding towards the end and several Eastern Water Dragon have been regulars along Bushy Creek. An Amethystine Python was checking out the amenities block in the camping area one evening late in the week.

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