Sunday, 26 February 2012

Birdwatchers Lodge in Far North Queensland, Australia.

56.5mm of rain fell during the week with one 24hour fall of 33mm being the best. This time last year we had over 1300mm, so far this year we have had 335mm so we have had a massive 1m less rain! Most rain fell in the late afternoon and into the night so once again sunny warm days with the minimum temperature slightly less than last week at 21.2ºc and the maximum also slightly cooler at 30.3ºc.

Birds recorded were 95 seen and 7 heard. 16 mammal and reptile species were seen and three frog species 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

Rufous Owl has to be top of the list this week, thanks to our neighbour Carol who found one roosting alongside Bushy Creek one afternoon. It was a light coloured bird and probably a juvenile. This is the first one we have seen around the Lodge since 21st August 2011; this record might account for the lack of Striped Possum sightings recently as they are favourite food for these owls. 

Rufous Owl - adult

The three Red-necked Crake juveniles are still foraging with the parents and are starting to get a bit of red on their necks which is another good sign that they might all make it to adults. Only one nest of the Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher have chicks in as one of the two nests left with chicks in fledged at the beginning of the week. As they get a little older they start to come down to the ground to supplement the adults offerings.

Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher

Plenty of juveniles around being fed by the parents making it one of the most successful years over the last six.

Other sightings:
Brown Quail were along McDougall Road with a few more waterbird seen in the wetlands along here as well, nothing out of the ordinary though. Again plenty of Superb Fruit-Dove calling from the rainforest surrounding the orchard but only one glimpse of a bird flying off. Still have at least six Pied Imperial Pigeon and 20+ Topknot Pigeon around the Lodge grounds. No sign of our Papuan Frogmouth this week and heard Australian Owlet-nightjar on three occasions but could not find it in its usual daytime roost hollow. A Black-necked Stork was near the Julatten School and the first for a few months. Five Cattle Egret flew over the grounds but none seen on the ground. Only two raptors this week, White-bellied Sea-Eagle and Whistling Kite very disappointing. White-browed Crake was again heard along McDougall Road but failed to show but Pale-vented Bush-hen did show several times in a gully between the Lodge grounds and our neighbours garden. A few Red-tailed Black Cockatoo flew over the Lodge mid week and a pair of Double-eyed Fig-Parrot were seen in McDougall Road. 

Double-eyed Fig-Parrot - female

A female Eastern Koel was feeding in a tree alongside Bushy Creek just in the Lodge grounds and a few Channel-billed Cuckoo were flying about, still no sign of any build up of numbers. Two Eastern Barn Owl were seen in Geraghty Park and an Azure Kingfisher flew along Busy Creek, first one for a few weeks. Juvenile Forest Kingfisher are still whinging for food but are increasingly being left to fend for themselves. A small group of Rainbow Bee-Eater (5-6) were over the Lodge on Saturday afternoon and a single adult Dollarbird was in the grounds for two days calling. Spotted Catbird have quietened down but still lurking around in the rainforest. Lovely Fairy-wren have been along Bushy Creek near our neighbours garden and have been seen several times whilst Red-backed Fairy-wren are regularly seen on the fence posts of McDougall Road. Ten species of honeyeater plus one heard and Macleay's Honeyeater was seen feeding a juvenile, still not found one of their nests. Brown-backed Honeyeater have started to come into the orchard are which is quite uncommon, they prefer paperbark swamps such as Abattoir Swamp normally. 

Brown-backed Honeyeater

Cicadabird are still around but only heard and Grey Whistler are still very vocal. A Little Shrike-thrush, juvenile, was caught flapping its wings and begging for food from the parent birds who were higher up in the tree searching out food.

Little Shrike-thrush - juvenile

An adult Black Butcherbird was around all week calling and skulking through the rainforest. Black-faced Monarch are still with us and calling well and trying to fool us with black primary wings. Pied Monarch are around but difficult to see but Yellow-breasted Boatbill have been out and about calling and being seen. Lemon-bellied Flycatcher are still around in good numbers as are Australian Pipit with at least ten seen on the edge of the cane field near the Mt. Kooyong nursing home.

Further Afield:-

A Brown Falcon was perched on powerlines between Mareeba and Mt. Molloy, this is the first we have seen this year along here. A Pale-vented Bush-hen with three chicks was seen, after much hanging around to see them scurry across the driveway, on a private property along Euluma Creek Road in Julatten. Also here five White-headed Pigeon flew low over the house heading towards the coast, not a common bird around here and two Sooty Owl called out just before dusk and continued for at least 30 minutes.

Reptiles and Mammals:-
One of our Boyd's Forest Dragon has found out how to steal the birds banana by climbing up the feeder and grabbing more than a mouthful as this image shows. 

Boyd's Forest Dragon - stealing banana

Frogs were the most obvious this week with Jungguy Frog, White-lipped Tree-Frog, Roth's Tree Frog, Cogger's Frog and Cane Toad seen, Striped Marsh Frog, Northern Dwarf Tree Frog and Dainty Green Tree Frog heard. A Green Ringtail Possum was seen on the edge of the orchard late in the week and was a first for six weeks.

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