Sunday, 20 November 2011

20th November 2011 Report

The weeks rainfall was only1.5mm. Maximum and minimum temperatures were slightly higher than last week getting up to 30.7ºc and down to 19.5ºc. Humidity was again high, getting up to 93% and going down to 54%.

There were slightly less birds recorded this week than last with 104 seen and 9 heard. 20 mammal and reptile species were seen.

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 a pair of Lovely Fairy-wren on the edge of the rainforest in the orchard. This year has been the best for sightings with eight around the Lodge, previous years have seen none in 2005, 2006 or 2009, one in 2007 and 2010 and two in 2008. They have not been recorded in January, February, April, June and November. 

Lovely Fairy-Wren - male

A Rufous Fantail was high up in the rainforest canopy foraging which was the first one recorded for a month and only the forth sighting in November over the past six years.

Other sightings: Good selection of waterbirds along McDougall Road including Magpie Goose, Wandering Whistling-Duck, Green Pygmy-goose, 

Green Pygmy-goose - female and male

Pacific Black Duck, Hardhead, Australasian Grebe, Dusky Moorhen and Comb-crested Jacana. Pied Imperial Pigeon have started to display and look like they might nest in the area again after last years nesting attempt was foiled by Cyclone Yasi. Tawny Frogmouth was around at the beginning of the week but not towards the end. The female Papuan Frogmouth was seen on a nightwalk but only twice in the normal daytime roost tree. Australian Owlet-nightjar was seen twice in its daytime roost tree after several weeks of being absent. About 30 White-throated Needletail flew over late afternoon about 5.30 on the 19th mixed with a few Australasian Swiftlet ahead of a few storm clouds. The immature White-bellied Sea-Eagle that has been around for a few months was seen again at the end of the week flying past the entrance to the Lodge grounds. Red-necked Crake started to call during the week and hopefully they will start to show soon. Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo were heard flying over mid-week and Double-eyed Fig-Parrot were feeding in a Cluster Fig. Channel-billed Cuckoo were calling and seen as were Brush Cuckoo who were calling all night. (Lesser) Sooty Owl was only heard this week mainly in the early morning before going to roost. Little Kingfisher was seen at the beginning of the week and the Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher have been pairing up and calling as well as coming down lower to be more easily seen. This one was pouncing on the ground to feed.

Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher - male

Blue-winged Kookaburra have also been calling well and are being seen in Geraghty Park. Noisy Pitta have been very vocal and showing well but not seen with any nesting material this week. Spotted Catbird have also been vocal and feeding juveniles around the grounds. It would appear that the Lewin's Honeyeater have all left as there has been no sightings or calls heard during the week, so the identification decision is easier with only Yellow-spotted or Graceful to choose from! 12 honeyeater species were seen including Noisy Friarbird who are still around in small numbers. White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike, Barred Cuckoo-shrike,Cicadabird and Varied Triller were all seen and heard. Grey Whistler have still been firing up early in the dawn chorus but very little calling for the rest of the day. Both brown and Black Butcherbird were around for most of the week with the brown immature bird seen carrying off a White-lipped Green Tree Frog. Leaden Flycatcher are back with many birds calling as this male was.

Leaden Flycatcher

Spectacled Monarch are sitting on nests as well as having juvenile birds around and both Pied Monarch and Yellow-breasted Boatbill are being seen and heard well. At least one Grey-headed Robin is still around and Golden-headed Cisticola have been calling and seen along Bushy Creek. Silvereye were seen on the ground picking up the aril (fleshy growth arising from the seed base) of the Pink Tamarind Toechima erythrocarpum seeds and then flying off with a beak full. Not sure if they were going to eat the aril or use it for decoration on their nest. 

Pink Tamarind - showing aril

Metallic Starling are still adding to their nests and coming into the Lodge grounds to pull off thin vine tendrils. At least one pair of Olive-backed Sunbird are nesting; the nest on our neighbours flyscreen has the female sitting.

Further afield two Grey Wagtail were reported (Eremaea Birds), one at the Dinner Falls track at Mt. Hypipamee (The Crater) National Park south of Atherton on the way to Ravenshoe. The other was at Lake Mitchell between Mount Molloy and Mareeba, neither birds have been seen since. A search on the day for the one at Lake Mitchell failed to find the bird but this was not surprising in such a large body of water. Plenty of other birds to be seen including two Brolga, hundreds of Australasian Darter and Wandering Whistling-Duck plus three Pelican and a Pied Cormorant which is not common in this region. The outstanding sighting for the visit was a Water Python eating what we decided was an Australasian Darter. The head was already ingested when we saw it and the body was wrapped in the coiled python so it was quite difficult to identify the prey especially as the python kept going under water and doing barrel roles! 

 Water Python - showing bulge in body, probably head, whilst body of prey is yet to be devoured

 Water Python - after barrel roll showing wing and feet of prey

Great Bowerbird were active at their bowers in Mt. Molloy, this one was standing guard over the bower.

Great Bowerbird

20 Mammals and reptiles for the week which included a Striped Possum in a flowering Black Bean tree, an adult male Agile Wallaby foraging at night in the orchard, a Water Rat and Platypus in Bushy Creek along with Eastern Water Dragon and at least two Boyd's Forest Dragon hanging around the restaurant area.

Fungi are still appearing, this was one of the latest.

Fungi sp.


Doug said...

Great pics of the Water Python (Liasis makloti ?)

Keith and Lindsay Fisher said...

Hi Doug it is Liasis mackloti,
thanks for your comment. Keith & Lindsay.