Sunday, 13 November 2011

13th November 2011 Report

The weeks rainfall was 17mm falling mainly at the beginning of the week. Maximum and minimum temperatures were slightly higher than last week getting up to 30.2ºc and down to 19.5ºc. Humidity was again high, getting up to 94% and going down to 60%.

There were more birds recorded this week than last with 113 seen and 7 heard. 22 mammal and reptile species were seen and I 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 Little Kingfisher with one at the Crake Pool late in the week. A White-winged Triller was along McDougall Road which is very unusual as they are normally out in the drier country. A Satin Flycatcher was foraging in bamboo along Bushy Creek for most of the week. Most surprising was three Double-barred Finch foraging high in a Poinciana tree at the entrance to the Lodge. Over the last six years we have only had one record of a single bird near the Mt. Kooyong Nursing Home at the beginning of December 2010. They are more common in the drier country around Mount Molloy, Lake Mitchell and Mt. Carbine areas.

Other sightings: Nesting continues with Noisy Pitta seen carrying nesting material and a Little Shrike-thrush nest 1m off the ground was predated by a Brown Tree Snake. The snake was found coiled up in the nest with one egg and a large bulge in it, the next day it was gone along with the other egg. 

Brown Tree Snake in Little Shrike-thrush nest

Little Shrike-thrush

Another pair of Graceful Honeyeater were sitting on a nest and a pair of Olive-backed Sunbird were trying to nest on our neighbours flyscreen. The nest fell off twice so our neighbour intervened and tied the nest to a piece of string which has worked so far with the birds nearly completing their nest. A Willie Wagtail is nesting in a machinery shed in the adjacent cane paddock.

Waterbirds are still a bit patchy with Magpie Goose and Cotton Pygmy-goose making an appearance for a few days along McDougall Road. A one Green Pygmy-goose has also been at this location along with a few Hardhead. Again the eight pigeon and dove species which have been present over the last few weeks are around with all seen apart from Wompoo Fruit-Dove which was only heard. The rufous morph Tawny Frogmouth moved down into our orchard area during the week and was found in various locations. It was sitting out in the open on the edge of the rainforest on a broken branch one day but moved onto a log on the ground where it was found by the Pale-yellow Robin. The frogmouth took up a defensive pose with head up and beak open whilst uttering a strange hissing sound.

Tawny Frogmouth on a stick
Tawny Frogmouth - defensive pose

The Papuan Frogmouth was found in a new location high up in the rainforest on the edge of the orchard early one morning but moved by mid-morning and was not seen again. Both species of frogmouth were calling most nights. On 9th three Fork-tail Swift and one White-throated Needletail were over the Lodge heading west. Pacific Baza are calling but still no sign of continuing nest building and Brahminy Kite were at the nearby Barramundi farm. A single Black Kite was flying above the Rex Highway and a Wedge-tailed Eagle was over the cane paddocks. Several Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo were also seen flying over the cane paddocks late one afternoon which is unusual at this time of year. A male Double-eyed Fig-Parrot was feeding in a Cluster Fig along Mt. Kooyong Road and was the first seen feeding for a few months. A female Eastern Koel was seen around the orchard area and Channel-billed Cuckoo are still flying over most days calling. Other cuckoos around were Little (Gould's) Bronze-Cuckoo and Brush Cuckoo who were calling low down in trees around the orchard as this one was.

Brush Cuckoo

(Lesser) Sooty Owl was again seen by one of our tour groups and heard calling most days. Azure Kingfisher were flying up and down Bushy Creek in a section they have nested in before so they maybe nesting again. Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher have just started to pair up and are calling from territories, they have also become more visible and are being seen more often now. There is no sign that they have started digging out their termite mounds but that can't be far off. Blue-winged Kookaburra have started to make appearances in Geraghty Park after a few months hiding across the Rex Highway and are also calling a lot. Dollarbird have been calling and perching out in the open but no sign of nesting yet.


There are at least two pairs of Noisy Pitta calling around the grounds and they are usually showing well. Spotted Catbird have been seen feeding an immature bird and probably a different pair to the ones seen building a nest over the last few weeks. 14 species of honeyeater this week including Bridled and Brown-backed who have been coming down to Bushy Creek to bathe like this one who is looking a bit wet.

Brown-backed Honeyeater

White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike are still sitting on their nest and Barred Cuckoo-shrike have been feeding on fruiting trees in the Lodge grounds. Grey Whistler has been calling for a few hours in the morning and is usually the first heard in the dawn chorus. Black Butcherbird has been heard around the grounds but not seen. Black-faced Monarch are calling throughout the day and pairing up so breeding must be close now. 

Black-faced Monarch

Pied Monarch are around but not easy to see and Yellow-breasted Boatbill are still continuing to be very vocal. Pale-yellow Robin have been seen feeding immature birds and still sitting on nests. No sign of the Bassian Thrush this week so it must surely have gone back up into the mountains - famous last words again!

Further afield an Eastern Yellow Wagtail was seen on a drying lagoon about 4km from Mareeba on the Peninsula Road towards Mount Molloy on two occasions, this location also had Glossy Ibis, both Wandering and Plumed Whistling-Duck plus Snipe sp. (either Latham's or Swinhoes). A Grey Goshawk was seen carrying a large lizard near the Julatten school and maybe nesting in the area. Brush Cuckoo were also very vocal around Mount Molloy and this one was perched near the school. 

Brush Cuckoo

Also here were a pair of Eastern Koel feasting on a fruiting fig tree.

Mammals and reptile species numbers were quite respectable with 22 seen and a Dainty Tree Frog heard. Another Leaf-tailed Gecko was seen during the week in a new location in the camping ground but the one reported last week could not be located. Giant White-tailed Rat are more active and being seen regularly. Striped Possum was seen on several occasions feeding in the orchard and again the Platypus have been showing most days/nights but again there were only five frog species seen despite a couple of wet nights. Interestingly one of our guests photographed a male Jungguy Frog in its yellow breeding colour which is something we have not seen here in six years. We have photographed one in Cairns many years ago when they were called Lesueur's Frog. Boyd's Forest Dragon have been found most days as have the Water Dragon along Bushy Creek. Also along the creek late one afternoon was a Water Rat.

More fungi are appearing like this one in the rainforest. Thanks to Gaye for identifying last weeks fungi.

Fungi Sp.

Also due to the wetter conditions insects are appearing such as this locust, which looks like a Spur-throat Locust.

Spur-throat Locust

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