Sunday, 30 December 2012

30th December 2012 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

Over the past two weeks the weather has been sunshine and hot days with a very rare drop of rain resulting in 7.5mm. No sign of the monsoonal trough coming our way yet. The minimum temperature over the two weeks were cool for this time of year with a minimum of 16.5ºC which was slightly less than the previous two weeks. The maximum temperature was 33.4ºC, which was about 3º more than the previous two weeks. The humidity was still high, up to 92% and again extremely low for us at 41%.

Bird sightings for the first week were 96 seen plus 4 heard. The second week had slightly less sightings due mainly to the Christmas festivities taking away a couple of observation days! There was 91 seen plus 4 heard. Mammal and reptile species were 23 seen and two frog species heard.

Last Two Weeks Bird Sightings:-
The last two weeks bird lists can be found on the Eremaea Birds Website:-

Morning walk lists can also be found on the Eremaea Birds Website.

Birding Highlights:-

Green Pygmy-goose have been seen in the McDougall Road lagoons with up to three pairs. One pair were displaying with the female doing all the work. She was swimming around the male head bobbing as she went, the male was taking no notice and continued feeding, this behaviour makes a change as it is a role reversal to what we normally see. 

Green Pygmy-goose - male and female

Both Superb and Wompoo Fruit-Dove have been seen in the Lodge grounds. Red-necked Crake have been calling and being seen with two making an appearance at the Crake Pool late one afternoon and another seen walking through the rainforest on the edge of the orchard. Congratulations to Gavin, one of our guests, for finding the Red-necked Crake after numerous attempts over many years. Both Buff-banded Rail and White-browed Crake were showing well in one of the McDougall Road lagoons late in the second week. 

White-browed Crake

Pale-vented Bush-hen have also been seen, in the neighbours garden and along Bushy Creek at the Platypus viewing area. Barking Owl have started to appear in the Lodge grounds on dusk, perching in front of the units and behind the bunkhouse before heading off for the night. A (Lesser) Sooty Owl was roosting for a day in leaves and vines along the road to the reception where Gavin found it and many more guests could see it. Some Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher have actually started to dig out their nests in the termite mounds but so far only two pairs out of at least seven are digging. A Blue-winged Kookaburra was seen with a large lizard in its bill but it flew off before the prey could be identified. A Noisy Pitta was near the Crake Pool collecting moss for its nest mid-way through the second week. A Macleay's Honeyeater was also seen collecting nesting material. Leaden Flycatcher females have been active but no sign of males.

Leaden Flycatcher - female

A juvenile Pied Monarch has been foraging around the Bunkhouse area, showing dull grey plumage where the adults are white and also very brown primary wing feathers.

Pied Monarch - juvenile

Further Afield:-
Mt. Lewis has been performing over the last few weeks with one trip seeing all the 12 Wet Tropic endemic birds in four hours. A Tooth-billed Bowerbird was seen displaying 5m up in a tree, spreading its wings and calling, full list for trip. Blue-faced Parrot-Finch have been difficult as the dry weather has stunted the grass growth which has not produced much seed however they are on the mountain if you are prepared to be patient. Sightings over the last two weeks have had up to five birds with three together the most. Chook (David Crawford) from Close Up Birding Adventures reported a Little Eagle at Hunters Creek near Abattoir Swamp.

Local Area:-
McDougall Road gets a fair plug in the blog for many sightings, mainly waterbirds, so we thought a bit more explanation was required. There are two lagoons along the road, one on the left hand side a few hundred metres off the Rex Highway and a second lagoon further down the road across Bushy Creek and on the right. Both these lagoons are on private property and can and should be viewed from the road. This image shows the second lagoon.

McDougall Road Lagoon

This image shows a darter taken this past week at the second lagoon, the previous images of White-browed Crake and Green Pygmy-goose were also taken at the same time.

Australasian Darter

Between the Lodge and McDougall Road is a dam, also viewed from the road (Rex Highway) which often has some good waterbirds, however with the current dry spell it is drying out rapidly, this we call Sparky's Dam.

Sparky's Dam

Other Images:-
Continuing on from the last blog about birds on signs here are a couple more on man made structures. A Laughing Kookaburra on our front entrance light pole and a Pale-yellow Robin on a rather old tree identification sign.

Laughing Kookaburra

Pale-yellow Robin

 This Large-billed Scrubwren was showing off its "large" bill.

Large-billed Scrubwren

Reptiles and Mammals:-

A small Yellow-footed Antichinus has been a regular at the feeder taking banana as has a Major Skink. Striped Possum have been seen several times around the units and in the orchard. Platypus (3) are still showing well in Bushy Creek and Short-beaked Echidna has also been seen twice along the track from the orchard to Bushy Creek, one sighting on a night walk, second sighting was during the day. A Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko was found on a tree adjacent to the cookshed early one evening before we went out on a night walk, unusual to see one so early. Several sightings were had of Australian Scrub Python along with a 4m skin along Bushy Creek.

Guests Photo:-
Neil was in the right place at the right time for this Black-necked Stork who was flying over Mt. Molloy showing some moult in the primary feathers. Great Photo.

Black-necked Stork

Finally we would like to wish all our readers a safe and happy new year and one that brings many great birding experiences.

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