This weeks rainfall was double last weeks with 5mm falling mid-week. Maximum and minimum temperatures were almost the same as last week getting up to 29.2ºc and down to 19.2ºc. Humidity was again high, getting up to 94% and a slightly higher minimum than last week, going down to 61%.
There were a few less birds recorded this week than last with 104 seen and 8 heard. 20 mammal and reptile species seen 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 the sighting of at least five Superb Fruit-Dove feeding high up in the canopy of the rainforest on the edge of the orchard plus several other views of a single bird lower down. All these birds were males, so where are all the females? Maybe sitting on nests? A Red-necked Crake called early in the week and was the first time heard or seen for several months.
Other sightings: The Superb Fruit-Dove maybe nesting but several other species have actually been seen on nests or building ones. Pacific Baza were carrying nesting material and started building but have had a break and not done any building for a few weeks, Forest Kingfisher have been attending at least three nests in or around the Lodge grounds high up in termite mounds on the side of trees and both Spotted Catbird and Fairy Gerygone were also seen high up in the rainforest collecting nesting material.
Graceful Honeyeater were seen going into an Arrow Vine (feral weed which we are eradicating) to feed a fledgling. The fledgling was seen on the ground the following day flapping around calling and attracting the devoted parents in to feed it. It could just fly less than 1m before flopping down again. If you find a bird on the ground it is best to leave it as the parents will continue to feed it and the youngster will stand more chance of survival than if you intervene to try and feed it yourself or take it to a wildlife carer. Honeyeaters are not the easiest of birds to raise and quickly become imprinted on the carer as we found out from personal experience.
|Graceful Honeyeater - fledgling|
|Graceful Honeyeater - adult feeding fledgling|
Brown-backed Honeyeater started to build another nest in the same tree as the first two weeks after we saw them feeding young in the nest, which probably means the first nesting attempt was unsuccessful.
White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike have been sitting on their nest, situated in the fork of a tree about 6m off the ground for about a week now.
Cicadabird were seen carrying nesting material to a nest, White-breasted Woodswallow are busy refurbishing an old Magpie Lark nest.
Pale-yellow Robin have been nesting over the last few months and this one has been sitting for nearly two weeks.
Metallic Starling are still building their colonial nests and a pair of Olive-backed Sunbird are attempting to make a nest on a flyscreen on one of our neighbours houses. We should add that these images of birds on nests were taken with a long telephoto lens at a distance so as not to disturb the birds and the images then cropped.
Waterbird numbers were still down around the McDougall Road area but a single Cotton Pygmy-goose was recorded after not being seen for a few weeks. Also late in the week a Black-necked Stork was at one of the lagoons along McDougall Road. All the eight pigeon and dove species which have been seen over the last few weeks are still present. The rufous morph Tawny Frogmouth was seen up until mid-week but not since and the female Papuan Frogmouth only showed at its regular roost site on the edge of the orchard for a single day on Saturday, it was seen in the rainforest in some vines by a guest earlier in the week. Both these frogmouth were heard calling during the week, the tawny with a faster call than the similar papuan call.
Australian Swiftlet have been around in large numbers over several days but a very mobile and disappear as quickly as they appear. Both adult and juvenile White-bellied Sea-Eagle have been around again this week and a Brahminy Kite was seen on a morning walk soaring over a cane paddock. A Grey Goshawk flew over the Lodge grounds at the beginning of the week and Nankeen Kestrel continue to sit on the power poles along the Rex Highway. “Katie” our Buff-banded Rail continues to keep the guests amused and might have some competition as a second rail was seen lurking around in the undergrowth near the units. Double-eyed Fig-Parrot have once again only been see flying over and not stopping despite some very tasty looking figs fruiting around the area. Eastern Koel (female) and Channel-billed Cuckoo are being heard more often than seen with only a couple of sightings for the week. Sooty Owl has been heard but not seen and an Eastern Barn Owl was seen once.
|Eastern Barn Owl|
Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher are still not easy to see but most guests have found them with a bit of effort. Noisy Pitta have proved to be easier to see with at least four birds present, leaving a trail of snail shells (snails are a favourite food) along the pathways. They are calling well and have even been heard during the night at 3.00am. Brown Gerygone were recorded after a few weeks absence along Mt. Kooyong Road in our neighbours garden. 12 species of honeyeater this week with White-throated being a notable absentee, this is normally a common species in the eucalypts of Geraghty Park and at our water bowls in the Lodge grounds. Barred Cuckoo-shrike have been calling all week but not seen. Grey Whistler have been calling and usually the first heard in the morning chorus, only being pipped by a Noisy Pitta one morning which called at five past five. This male Australasian Figbird was foraging along a log on the ground; don't expect to see them foraging on the rainforest floor.
Yellow Oriole has again been heard and Olive-backed Oriole, including an immature, seen. Both Pied Monarch and Yellow-breasted Boatbill have been calling well and seen regularly. A few Grey-headed Robin are still with us and must surely leave soon for higher ground to breed. Our lone Bassian Thrush has been around all week and getting under our feet as it is reluctant to move off the pathways to let us pass.
Further afield at Abattoir Swamp two Spotless Crake were seen in a small pool to the left of the hide. Along the road from Mt. Molloy to Mareeba, near Biboora, two Black-breasted Buzzard were circling, this is an uncommon species in our region. At least four Large-tailed Nightjar were calling along Euluma Creek Road in Julatten one evening and along the same road Doug Herrington reported 17 Little Lorikeet, an unusually high number for our area. Doug also reported a Red-backed Button-quail at Shannonvale (near Mossman) both these sightings can be found on the Eremaea Birds website. Red-winged Parrot are usually found around Mount Molloy as this male was during the week.
Mammals and reptile species numbers were down due to lack of effort! Highlight for the week here was the reappearance of a Leaf-tailed Gecko a species we have not seen since the second week in August this year and only the second sighting in November since we started records in 2005. Boyd's Forest Dragon have been showing around the reception area rainforest. Striped Possum was seen low down in the rainforest adjacent to the reception at the end of the week but no Green Ringtail sightings. Platypus has been showing most days/nights but there were only five frog species seen despite a couple of wet nights.