Sunday, 15 January 2012

15th January 2012 Report

A week with no rain, which must be a record for January, and plenty of sunshine providing great birding weather once again..

The sunny days kept the maximum temperatures up on previous weeks, getting up to 32.4ºc and the minimum was down to 20.3ºc for one day, the rest of the week was 1-3ºc higher. Humidity ranged from a low of 59% to a high of 92%.

There were less birds recorded this week than last due mainly to the lack of waterbirds and raptors, totals were 99 seen, 6 heard and one found dead. 19 mammal and reptile species were seen, 4 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.

Seeing Red-necked Crake three times in one day, 11 Red-tailed Black Cockatoo flying over mid-day and two (Lesser) Sooty Owl flying around one night, one perched. 

(Lesser) Sooty Owl

Three Papuan Frogmouth, two in our neighbours garden whilst the third was calling in the Lodge grounds.

Other sightings:
A juvenile Orange-footed Scrubfowl was hiding in vegetation around the reception area trying to avoid the attention of adult birds who were intent on chasing it away. Waterbird species were down in the McDougall Road lagoons but still a few Magpie Goose, Wandering Whistling Duck, Pacific Black Duck, Hardhead, Australasian Darter, Little Pied and Little Black Cormorant. A Wompoo Fruit-Dove was heard but not seen but a female Superb Fruit-Dove was perched out in the open for good views. A few Pied Imperial Pigeon and Topknot Pigeon are still around. Australian Owlet-nightjar was seen in its daytime roost and also flying through the Lodge grounds one night. A Nankeen Night-Heron was foraging at the Crake Pool one afternoon and a scruffy looking Royal Spoonbill was hanging around the Barramundi Farm. As previously mentioned raptors were scarce this week with only Black-shouldered Kite and Whistling Kite with a late addition, a Grey Goshawk late Saturday evening, which was disappointing after last week when we had eight species. The one sighting of a dead bird was by reported on Birding-Aus by Phil Gregory from Cassowary House who found a Spotless Crake caught on a barbed wire fence along McDougall Road. We have been hearing them call along here quite often but this is the first sighting for well over a year. 

Spotless Crake

Pale-vented Bush-hen was seen along Bushy Creek from the Platypus viewing area late one afternoon, this was the only sighting despite many pairs calling around the area. Bush Stone-curlew were in Geraghty Park calling at night but they did not venture into the Lodge grounds as they had been doing. Double-eyed Fig-Parrot were seen several times in the Lodge grounds, once in a eucalypt tree and calling whilst flying over on several occasions. Cuckoo were again calling and most showing well, good views of Pheasant Coucal, Channel-billed Cuckoo, Little (Gould's) Bronze-Cuckoo and Brush Cuckoo. Eastern Koel was heard only. Eastern Barn Owl were around calling and at least three were seen. Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher are still showing well and calling nearly all day. Several have been seen coming out of their termite nests and are probably sitting on eggs. Laughing Kookaburra have also been noisy this week as they are feeding recently fledged birds, one was seen devouring a Jungguy Frog Litoria jungguy. Blue-winged Kookaburra have also been calling in Geraghty Park but don't appear to have any youngsters. Rainbow Bee-eater actually made it to the Lodge with a small flock flying over, they have been in the area for over a month but not recorded at the Lodge. Dollarbird are getting around with at least one juvenile and Noisy Pitta have retired into the rainforest, hopefully on their second nest attempt. Lovely Fairy-wren have been heard in bamboo along Bushy Creek in the late afternoon and maybe roosting here. 

Large-billed Gerygone
Large-billed Gerygone have built a nest over Bushy Creek at the Platypus viewing area and probably have eggs at the moment. The nest below is made to look like flood debris.

Large-billed Gerygone - nest

Lewin's Honeyeater has also been heard in the grounds which is unusual for this time of year. 

Lewin's Honeyeater

Brown-backed Honeyeater continue to attend a nest in Geraghty Park. A few Barred Cuckoo-shrike are still around and showing well when tracked down from their calls. Cicadabird is also still calling and flying around the grounds. White-breasted Woodswallow have appeared in greater numbers this week with 34 perched on a fence along McDougall Road. One pair of Spangled Drongo are flying around with a juvenile whilst another pair are still sitting on their nest. Leaden Flycatcher were seen feeding a juvenile and that odd Black-faced Monarch (previously mentioned) was found sitting on a nest about 20m up in the rainforest. At the moment we are trying to see its mate the check out the plumage to see if there is any differences. Pied Monarch has started to call and be seen more often this week, two were bathing in Bushy Creek one late afternoon. Yellow-breasted Boatbill is also calling and being seen more often as well. Pale-yellow Robin are also feeding juveniles, this one was awaiting its next feed while the parent was having a rest.

Pale-yellow Robin - Adult and Juvenile

Pale-yellow Robin - Juvenile calling for food
The Olive-backed Sunbird have finished building their nest which is hanging from a safety chain around a gas bottle.

Red-browed Finch are still churning out many juveniles who are coming to the feeder by the reception.

Further Afield:-
The track opposite Sides Road has not had Blue-faced Parrot-Finch there for at least three months but it is still turning up interesting birds. At the end of last week a Barking Owl was found dead along the track and this week the culprit was found, a Rufous Owl which was seen clutching a Striped Possum. Rufous Owl are known for killing other owls so there is a good chance that it did kill the Barking Owl, they also put Striped Possum high on their menu. One reason we are glad we don't have a resident Rufous Owl although we have sightings of birds most years as they pass through. 

Rufous Owl

Mowbray National Park at Julatten is always an interesting area and worth visiting; this week it turned up 100+ Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo and an egg shell outside a Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher nest. This kingfisher is more advanced than ours. Mt. Lewis continues to host good numbers of Blue-faced Parrot-Finch with 20+ reported at the “clearing”, also an Azure Kingfisher was at the miners dam which is at 950m.

Reptiles and Mammals:-
Our neighbours reported a Slaty Grey snake under their house early in the week, not a snake we see very often. A Green Tree Snake was also seen in the orchard, harmless to us but not to the frogs! Only one Striped Possum sighting, again in our neighbours garden in a Banana plant. A Red-legged Pademelon (small rainforest kangaroo) was sitting by the Crake Pool one afternoon, good that this one is staying around. It has been around for a few months now but usually only seen at night. Two Platypus were seen in Bushy Creek late one afternoon and a single one seen most days. Frogs have not been showing but have been calling when they think rain is coming but it did not come this week. Jungguy Frog and Cogger's Frog were the only two species seen. 

Cogger's Frog

Boyd's Forest Dragon have been active and obliging as they have been running around and perching on the side of trees for great views. Major Skink have also been showing but being quite shy and not staying around for prolonged views.

Other Interesting Sightings:
Fungi and Slime Mould, not too many around at the moment with the dry weather. The slim mould looks like the one pictured in Bruce Fuhrer's book A field guide to Australian Fungi P344.

Coprinellus disseminatus. ?

Slim Mould Ceratiomyxa fruiticulosa

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