Sunday, 1 July 2012

1st July 2012 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

This is our 200th blog posting -  a big thank you to all our loyal followers for encouraging us to keep going with it and all the positive feed back..

The first week was dry and the second week was wet with annoying drizzle resulting in 9mm. The top temperature was 22.2ºC with the majority of days around the 21ºC mark and the minimum was 10.8ºC – brrr! The humidity was high up to 97% and down to 76%.

Bird sightings for the first week were a high 107 seen plus 2 heard only. The second week had slightly less sightings due mainly to the inclement weather, 96 seen plus 3 heard. Mammal and reptile species were slightly more than the last two weeks – 26 species were seen over the two weeks. The last two weeks bird lists are on the Eremaea Birds Website for Week1 and Week2 plus morning walk lists can also be found at this link on Eremaea Birds

A few this past two weeks. How could you beat the Noisy Pitta who turned up at the reception area feeder and promptly ate a piece of banana that the honeyeaters dropped! We gave him/her a bit more and later on it hopped up onto the feeder to help itself. The pitta then jumped up onto the water bowl for a drink. It became a regular visitor for over a week, but once the rain/drizzle set in this week it left and we have only heard it calling from the rainforest, so it must be finding enough food in the natural world. 

Noisy Pitta

A rufous morph of the Tawny Frogmouth turned up for three days and was probably the same bird which has shown over the past two years for a short period. An adult Papuan Frogmouth was spotlighted in the orchard whilst on a night walk which was the first sighting for at least three months. A Red-necked Crake appeared at the crake pool late one evening, but was not seen again. This is the first sighting since mid-February. A male Yellow-throated Scrubwren was seen foraging in the rainforest on the edge of the orchard, this was the first for the year. We normally get one or two each year who migrate down from the mountains behind the Lodge. A Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike was along McDougall Road which is uncommon, they are more common back towards Mt. Molloy in the drier woodlands.

Other sightings:
A Wompoo Fruit-Dove appeared for a few days, decided there was not enough in fruit and disappeared, but the returning Brown Cuckoo-Dove found plenty to stay for over the two weeks. Australian Owlet-nightjar was seen on one day peering out of its daytime roost which was the first time for several months. The adult and juvenile Black-necked Stork are still around and have been seen flying over the Lodge on several occasions. Carol Iles, our next door neighbour and bird guide, reported that the two Black-shouldered Kite nesting along McDougalls Road now have two fledglings begging for food which is great news. Other raptors in the area have been White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Whistling and Black Kite, Brown Goshawk, Collared Sparrowhawk, Nankeen Kestrel and Australian Hobby which is quite a good collection. The Barking Owl pair reported in the last blog are still with us and heard most days calling during the night and just before dusk and dawn, even one of our neighbours heard them and complained they had woken him up! Azure Kingfisher was once again seen along Bushy Creek after no sightings for a month. The pair of Spotted (Green) Catbird reported last blog are still coming into the feeder, but not regularly. 

Spotted Catbird

Red-backed Fairy-wren were seen along McDougall Road after a month of no sightings. Brown Gerygone have been venturing into our orchard area which is quite unusual, normally we just see the Fairy Gerygone. Once again we have recorded 12 species of honeyeater for each of the past two weeks plus we have been hearing Black-chinned Honeyeater in several locations adjacent to the Lodge. Lewin's Honeyeater continue to arrive at the feeder showing off their distinctive crescent shaped yellow ear patch and blue eye.

Lewin's Honeyeater

A Golden Whistler was see at the local Barramundi Farm this week which was an odd habitat for it and Bowers Shrike-thrush was along McDougall Road. Grey and Rufous Fantails are still around in good numbers, this one was foraging on the ground in the camping area.

Rufous Fantail

White-eared Monarch are still around as we have been hearing them, but unable to track them down for views. Pied Monarch and Yellow-breasted Boatbill are still very active and showing well. This Pied Monarch was in the orchard checking out the fruit trees.

Pied Monarch

Both Fairy and Tree Martin were seen this week and several Australian Pipit are still around.

Further Afield:-

Carol Iles, (who guides in areas away from the Lodge for us) reported at least 40 Diamond Dove along West Mary Road at Maryfarms between Mount Molloy and Mt. Carbine. This is very unusual both in location this far east and in numbers; whilst we have recorded them in this area before, there has only been one or two birds and few sightings. This prompted a trip to the area the following day. There were at least 16 Diamond Dove along the West Mary Road along with 16 Australian Bustard for which this area is a regular sighting spot.

Australian Bustard

A juvenile Brown Falcon was along this road perched in a tree before it swooped onto the ground and returned to the perch clutching a stick. It played with the stick for several minutes before flying off and dropping it, then returned to the tree where it had trouble getting balanced as it flew into the wind. Not sure what it was doing with the stick. 

Brown Falcon - juvenile

Brown Falcon - with stick

Brown Falcon - trying to land into the wind
A Black-shouldered Kite was also along the road perched in a tree preening and surveying the surrounding area. 

Black-shouldered Kite

Further back towards Mt. Molloy at Luster Creek there were many Bridled Honeyeater and a male Cicadabird which was a surprise as over seven years we have had less than 10 sightings around the Lodge in June/July. Red-tailed Black Cockatoo and Pale-headed Rosella were seen in Julatten just outside our 1.5km lodge area.

Del Richards from Fine Feather Tours had a few interesting sightings on his travels, Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo and White-eared Monarch near the Julatten school, a Red-backed Button-quail on the Lake Mitchell causeway (between Mt. Molloy and Mareeba), Little and Black-faced Woodswallow north of Mt. Carbine and a Fan-tailed Cuckoo at Luster Creek. Brown-backed Honeyeater were near Abattoir Swamp after an absence of nearly two months and a Tawny Grassbird was also in this area. At the swamp were Bridled Honeyeater.

Reptiles and Mammals:-
Highlights for this blog were a Green Ringtail Possum with a half grown baby on its back, great to see they are breeding in the Lodge grounds and Striped Possum have been showing occasionally. 

Green Ringtail Possum - with baby

A Short-beaked Echidna (large spiny animal like an overgrown Hedgehog but an egg laying Mammal) was digging in the camp ground near one of our guests tents one night. This is the first sighting for about 18 months in the Lodge grounds. Platypus was seen in Bushy Creek one morning at 7.50, this is the first sighting since early February. Yellow-footed Antichinus was seen emerging out of a hole in one of the support poles for the cookshed roof and later seen during the day stealing banana from the birds, who were going crazy trying to chase it off. A few frogs came to life with the damp weather, Jungguy Frog, White-lipped Tree Frog, Roth's Tree Frog and Cogger's Frog along with a few Cane Toad. Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko have been appearing with at least four different individuals seen and at least one Boyd's Forest Dragon has been active and appearing around the feeder. The dragon showed up one morning on a chair leg outside the reception area making the most of a shaft of sunlight hitting it. 

Boyd's Forest Dragon

Other Happenings:- We put together a display of photos with the theme "Birdscaping Your Garden" for the Birdlife North Queensland group

Birdlife NQ display

This was part of a display put on at the Trees for Evelyn and Atherton Tablelands (TREAT) nursery at Lake Eacham to celebrate their 30 years of planting trees on the tablelands, quite an achievement. They now plant over 30,000 trees a year. There is a connection to Kingfisher Park B.L. as Joan Wright was a founder member of TREAT and also part of a group called The Koorawatha Society who had ideas to convert the grounds of what is now Kingfisher Park B.L.  In the late 1960's this is what their vision was:

Luckily for us there was not the finance to carry this through and some of the rainforest has been preserved.


Madeline said...

Congratulations and thank you for 200 blogs and all you do!

Now I will stick my neck out ... to me it looks as if the young possum is in its parent's lap, not on its back. This assumes the parent is the one facing the camera ...

Thanks again for the great blog!

Keith and Lindsay Fisher said...

Hi Madeline,
Thanks for your comment. You are correct, the published image was of another Green Ringtail Possum with its baby. The one we saw was about 30m up in the canopy and as we knew we already had an image of mother and baby we did not want subject it to any potential stress.

Madeline said...

Hi Keith and Lindsay,
Thanks! I keep looking at the photo and try to convince myself that the bigger animal was the young one on its mother's back!

And, would that all photographers were as considerate as the two of you!