Sunday, 7 October 2012

6th October 2012 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

Over the past two weeks we have once again had stunning weather, cool mornings and warm days with a little light drizzle falling over three days at the end of this week amounting to 14mm. The minimum temperature over the two weeks was 15.3ºC which was about the same as the previous two weeks. The maximum temperature was 27.4ºC, which was a degree higher than the previous two weeks. The humidity was still high, up to 91% and a low of 54%.

Bird sightings for the first week were only 81 seen plus 7 heard due to a lower observation effort because there was more work and not enough birding! The second week was more productive with a greater birding effort, 105 seen plus 5 heard. Mammal and reptile species were up on the previous two weeks which co-incided with a longer spell of warmer weather, 22 species were seen and one heard. 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

Birding Highlights:
A male Superb Fruit-Dove was actually seen perched above the road to the reception area, calling, this was after several weeks of hearing them and lots of failed searches. This male was on a nest a few years ago in the Lodge grounds.

Superb Fruit-Dove

An Australian Pelican was in one of the McDougall Road lagoons and seen a second time in another lagoon near Geraghty Park, which is very unusual. Another rare visitor was a Black-breasted Buzzard viewed from McDougall Road. Both the pelican and buzzard records are first sightings for our 1.5Km area around the Lodge in our seven years here. An adult Black-necked Stork was walking down Bushy Creek whilst guests were looking for the Platypus at viewing area late one afternoon. A single Little Friarbird was calling whilst perched on a dead tree branch at entrance to Lodge grounds one morning. This is an uncommon visitor to the Lodge, only 20th record since 2002 with 11 of those records in 2005. Nearly all records are September - December. One record in 2011 on 9th October. A female Satin Flycatcher was seen on a morning walk on the edge of Geraghty Park, another uncommon species around the Lodge.

Other sightings:
Brown Cuckoo-Dove have been feeding on fruits around the edge of the rainforest surrounding our orchard, this one was very obliging taking advantage of a nice sunny morning.

Brown Cuckoo-Dove

Our female Papuan Frogmouth was showing well for most of the last two weeks but went into hiding for the last three days. Australian Owlet-nightjar was seen in its daytime roost whilst on a morning walk which was the first sighting for a month, again we have been hearing the bird calling in the evening without any sightings. A Little Black Cormorant was fishing in Bushy Creek near the platypus viewing area, an uncommon event. Numbers of Australian White Ibis have declined over the last two weeks with only one sighting of nine birds in the second week (previously 20+ regularly), no Straw-necked Ibis recorded either. Still three Royal Spoonbill in the area with sightings at the local fish farm and along McDougall Road. Pacific Baza have been coming and going with two sighted in the rain, perched on an exposed tree branch near the reception area one morning preening. There was a couple of sightings of Brahminy Kite soaring over the Barramundi Farm. Plenty of Black Kite in the area with over 20 riding thermals over the lodge one afternoon. 

Black Kite

An Australian Hobby was perched near a White-bellied Sea-Eagle high in a tree alongside Bushy Creek whilst we were on a morning walk, neither raptor was taking any notice of the other. 

White-bellied Sea-Eagle
Channel-billed Cuckoo were being chased off by two Torresian Crow, which the cuckoos parasitise, early one morning. The pair of Barking Owl that have been around since the beginning of June are still in the area and were seen in the Poinciana trees at the entrance to the Lodge grounds one evening about 9.30. Sooty Owl was heard on several occasions in the evening and once about 5.00am at the rear of the self-contained units when it gave two shrill whistles about five minutes apart, waking us up! Not seen though. Noisy Pitta is still around being seen and calling occasionally. A pair of Large-billed Gerygone have finished building a nest over Bushy Creek and maybe using it as they have been calling nearby. 14 species of honeyeater over the last two weeks including a Lewin's Honeyeater who returned after a two week absence. White-throated Honeyeater have been coming into the Lodge grounds, from Geraghty Park, to bathe and feed on the grevilleas as this one is doing.

White-throated Honeyeater

Barred Cuckoo-shrike have been around in small mobile numbers, moving around the area in response to fruiting trees and one was collecting lichen for a nest it was building in our neighbours garden. Grey Whistlers are still keeping up their early morning wake up calls – grrrr! Black Butcherbird is being heard but not seen in the rainforest and Spangled Drongo have increased in numbers from the one to at least three around the Lodge and another nine seen heading south late one morning. A few Rufous Fantail are still around and giving guests great views as they bathe in Bushy Creek in the late afternoon, showing off their rufous fanned tail which is quite spectacular. Black-faced Monarch have been calling but staying high in the rainforest canopy with only one sighting for the last two weeks. Pied Monarch have also been regular at Bushy Creek late afternoon bathing. At least one pair of Pale-yellow Robin have finished building a nest on the edge of the rainforest but not yet started to use it. They build such lovely nests with bark and moss decorations. Grey-headed Robin numbers continue to decline with birds leaving to go higher into the mountains behind us. A few Golden-headed Cisticola have been in the cattle paddocks along McDougall Road along with Fairy Martin. No sign of Australasian Pipit for the last two weeks so they may have moved on.

Further Afield:-

A trip to Mt. Lewis was interesting for the number of White-headed Pigeon present with at least 14 present and these two were mating, spent over a minute in this pose!


White-headed Pigeon - mating

One brown Golden Bowerbird was seen along with other endemics, Tooth-billed Bowerbird with at least 12 calling and five showing well, Bridled Honeyeater were common, Atherton Scrubwren were foraging on the ground and 3m up in vines, Mountain Thornbill were calling high in trees but several came down to eye level, at least 3 Bowers Shrike-thrush were calling and seen, both a male and female Victoria's Riflebird were seen and Grey-headed Robin were common. Barred Cuckoo-shrike were calling and seen as were Eastern Spinebill. Full list can be found on the Eremaea Birds site. 


Four Little Lorikeet flew over Mt. Molloy one morning, not common at this end of the Atherton Tableland. Diamond Dove continue to be seen along the West and East Maryfarms Roads at Maryfarms (between Mt. Carbine and Mt. Molloy on the Peninsula Dev. Road, known as the Mulligan Highway). Carol Iles, our neighbour, who was guiding one of our tour groups had a female Red-backed Button Quail walking about under the breakfast tables in the Bayleaf Restaurant then in street side planting at the Bay Village Resort, Lake St, Cairns. Carol also had an adult winter plumaged Common Tern flying and sitting on a post at Hasties Swamp, with the group. Blue-faced Parrot-Finch were last seen near Abattoir Swamp on 27th September when six were present and might have moved towards the lower slopes of the Mt. Lewis area.

Reptiles and Mammals:-
Of note was a 3.4m Australian Scrub Python skin shed near our two bedroom units, did not see the owner but quite a large snake and a Green Tree Snake was swimming down Bushy Creek one afternoon. A Tree Mouse (Prehensile-tailed Rat) was briefly seen running along a vine in the rainforest at the end of this week, not seen very often. Platypus have been putting on a show at the viewing point along Bushy Creek with two seen mating one evening. The male grabbed the female from behind and hung on whilst they did a series of barrel rolls right in front of us. Green Ringtail Possum have been seen several times but Striped Possum are still elusive with only a brief glimpse of one disappearing into the dense rainforest whilst we were on a night walk. A Long-nosed Bandicoot has started to appear at the feeder which is unusual as they normally stay out in the rainforest and orchard.

Long-nosed Bandicoot

Not many frog species around despite the bit of rain we have been getting with only a few species seen.

Other Happenings:-
Last blogs mystery bird was of course a Blue-faced Honeyeater which was presenting an unusual view. It did revert to a more normal view as shown in this image.

Blue-faced Honeyeater 

Here is another mystery bird.

Answer next blog.

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