Sunday, 6 May 2012

6th May 2012 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

32mm of rain fell over the last two weeks on 6 rain days. Most of the other days were sunny and very pleasant. The minimum temperature was down to 17.1ºc and the maximum up at 25.4ºc. The humidity was quite high and varied between 74% and 96%.

Bird species were for the week before last were 94 seen and 6 heard, this last week sightings were 87 seen and 3 heard. 23 mammal and reptile species were seen plus and Striped Possum was heard and 1 frog species heard. The last two weeks bird lists are on the Eremaea Birds & Eremaea Birds website and morning walk lists can also be found at this link on Eremaea Birds

A Red-backed Button-quail was rescued from a water trough in one of our neighbours yards, it was looked after overnight and successfully flew off in the morning. This is a very rare sighting in our recording area of 1.5km from the Lodge, there has only been one or two records previously. A Little Kingfisher was in the two pools adjacent to the orchard, first sighting was on 30th April at the Crake Pool and the next was on 2nd May at the other pool at the bottom of the track from the units where it was again on the 4th May. Noisy Pitta were actually showing themselves. At least two are calling regularly mainly in the morning for at least 30 minutes and again in the evening for shorter periods.

A green Tree Snake got a surprise one morning when the branch it was on fell down into the feeding area beside the reception. The snake quickly beat a hasty retreat back into the nearest tree.

We now have a trained Laughing Kookaburra who directs traffic into the Lodge grounds from the Rex Highway!

Laughing Kookaburra - on duty!

Other sightings:
Waterbirds seem to be coming and going in the district and are still in low numbers. McDougall Road lagoons have seen Wandering Whistling Duck (9), Hardhead (2), Australasian Grebe (1), Australasian Darter (2), Little Pied Cormorant (1), Little Black Cormorant (10+), Intermediate Egret (1), Cattle Egret (100's), White-faced Heron (1), Purple Swamphen (2). So you can see very low numbers. 

Brown Cuckoo-Dove have been around feeding on the fruits of the Tobacco Bush

Brown Cuckoo-Dove

and Bar-shouldered Dove have started displaying. 

Bar-shouldered Dove

A few Topknot Pigeon showed up for a day then disappeared and two female Superb Fruit-Dove were seen in the rainforest on the edge of the orchard along with Wompoo Fruit-Dove. Seven species of raptors have been around, once again few in numbers with one Pacific Baza and a Grey Goshawk seen flying over the lodge. An immature White-bellied Sea-Eagle was soaring over the adjacent cane field one morning before heading towards the local fish farm. Red-necked Crake are calling in the evening but still elusive with no sightings but there was a Pale-vented Bush-hen sighting in our neighbours garden as well as regular calls coming from behind their property. Three Bush Stone-curlew have been roosting during the day in the nearby nursing home grounds and have been joining with their mates to call most of the night. Masked Lapwing have been gathering around the cane fields with a group of eight being the most seen together. Rainbow and Scaly-breasted Lorikeet have been seen going into tree hollows in Geraghty Park but it is not known whether they are breeding. Double-eyed Fig-Parrot have only been seen flying over and most of the cuckoos have left the area. We only heard a Channel-billed Cuckoo two weeks ago but there have been regular sightings of Little Bronze-Cuckoo (Gould's) around the Lodge and in Geraghty Park. Eastern Barn Owl have started to call a lot in the evenings which maybe the start of courting behaviour; there has been at least four pairs around the local area. There has been six species of kingfisher in and around the Lodge including one Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher adult who has been see as late as 5th May (this sighting equals the record for a late departure at the Lodge) which has pleased the guests! 

Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher

Blue-winged Kookaburra have also become very vocal lately trying to compete with the more common Laughing Kookaburra mainly early morning. Rainbow Bee-eater are still around and Spotted Catbird have been coming to the reception area feeder. Lovely Fairy-wren have been in our neighbours garden and Red-backed fairy-wren have been along McDougall Road. Striated Pardalote have been very vocal and coming down to the drain they were seen foraging in a few weeks ago; it's possible they are looking to nest in the bank but we have not seen any signs of digging yet. Eleven species of honeyeater were recorded over the last two weeks including Brown-backed who have been absent for a month. Both Barred Cuckoo-shrike and Cicadabird have been heard but not seen. At least two Yellow Oriole have been around and one adult Black Butcherbird has been around the Lodge grounds. At least two Spangled Drongo are still with us and have not headed north yet. Rufous Fantail numbers appear to be increasing and our first Grey Fantail for the season appeared on the 29th April in the Lodge grounds (they had been in the area for a few days before this sighting). Several Northern Fantail have been in the Lodge grounds and Geraghty Park with four seen on one morning walk. 

Northern Fantail

Spectacled Monarch have been very active and showing well and even posing for a photo occasionally. They are a very common species around the Lodge but flit around and don't stay still for very long making them difficult to photograph. 

Spectacled Monarch

Pied Monarch have been active and showing well as have the Yellow-breasted Boatbill. Grey-headed Robin numbers have continued to increase which is always nice as they have a great range of calls, usually to wake us up in the morning with! Metallic Starling are still around and appear to be all juvenile birds, flocks of around 20 have been flying around. Red-browed Finch continue to add to several nests around the Lodge.

Further Afield:-
A fruiting fig alongside Rifle Creek in Julatten provided a feast for many birds over the last two weeks. Those recorded in the tree included, Wompoo Fruit-Dove, at least 8 Superb Fruit-Dove, 20+ Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, Spotted Catbird, Satin Bowerbird, Lewin's, Yellow-spotted, Yellow-faced and Macleay's Honeyeater, White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike, 30+Barred Cuckoo-shrike, Varied Triller, Golden and Grey Whistler, Little Shrike-thrush, Australasian Figbird, Yellow Oriole, Grey and Northern Fantail, Willie Wagtail, Black-faced Monarch (1), Spectacled Monarch, Yellow-breasted Boatbill (2 males + 1 female), Pale-yellow Robin, Silvereye, Metallic Starling and Olive-backed Sunbird - quite an impressive list. 

Barred Cuckoo-shrike

Like most fig trees it is impossible to guess when they are going to fruit, in 2009 this tree fruited in September. Some trees fruit each year but usually not at the same period whilst others fruit spasmodically and not every year. Del Richards from Fine Feather Tours reported an Australian Bustard on the corner of the Rex Highway and Euluma Creek Road in Julatten which is an unusual location, he also reported Topknot Pigeon and a Pied Heron at Port Douglas which are uncommon here. Radjah Shelduck were again at the Wonga Beach Barramundi Farm which is becoming a regular spot for these birds. This is private property with no access into the farm but it maybe viewed from the road alongside it. 

Radjah Shelduck

Brady Road Swamp near Mareeba had some interesting birds including good numbers of returning Australian White and Straw-necked Ibis, Glossy Ibis and a juvenile Black-necked Stork. The full list can be found on the Eremaea Birds website.

Mt. Lewis has again excelled with an adult Southern Cassowary sighted on the road about 200m past the Bushy Creek bridge, it did not hang around and took off into the forest at a rapid rate of knots! Blue-faced Parrot-Finch have become difficult to find with no sightings in the past two to three weeks which may mean they have left the higher ground and are coming off the mountain however there has been no sightings at lower altitudes yet. There were at least two sightings of male Golden Bowerbird along the road and on the track to the old miners dam. A Large-tailed Nightjar was calling one evening along Euluma Creek Road, Julatten (not far from Mowbray National Park). We only have three records of calling Large-tailed Nightjar in May, 1998 at Kaban on the Atherton Tableland, 2000 at Redden Island in Cairns and at Euluma Creek Road in 2011. Our other 39 records from the region are nearly all from August to December.

Reptiles and Mammals:-
A Leaf-tailed Gecko was seen high up in the canopy whilst on a night spotlighting trip. It turned around whilst we were watching it and raised its tail into the air so we got good looks at the underside which is something that does not happen very often, this is usually a threat posture to another gecko but we only saw one. A Feather-tailed Glider (about the size of a House Mouse) was seen on several nights in a Coconut Palm feeding on some of its flowers. A Yellow-footed Antichinus (small placental mammal a bit bigger than a House Mouse) returned to the veranda outside the units after being absent for several months. It tried setting up camp under one of the chair covers but was soon returned to the rainforest. Unlike most of the other small mammals we have (Fawn-footed Melomy's and Bush Rat) the antichinus are quite active during the day.

Other Happenings:- 
It's amazing what you see when looking skywards for birds, this is just one example.

Qantas Jet overflying Lodge

No comments: