Sunday, 10 February 2013

Weather over the last two weeks has been very warm, up to 35.5ºC and down to 20.2ºC. Humidity ranged from an extremely low 36% which must be a record, up to 92%. Rainfall was non existent until the last day when we had 14.5mm.

Bird sightings for the first week were 104, 92 seen and 8 heard, second week sightings were 93 seen and 8 heard.

Past Two Weeks Bird Sightings:-

The last two weeks bird lists can be found on the Eremaea Birds Website:-

Birding Highlights:-
At last all seven Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher nests around the lodge have 3 eggs each with the last laying nearly 3 weeks after the first. By the end of the second week we had found egg shells outside three nests and heard chicks calling from within. Good news. Other notable sightings were a snipe, presumed to be a Latham's Snipe and a Sacred Kingfisher in one of the lagoons along McDougall Road, it was chased off by two Forest Kingfisher. This is only the second record for the lodge list in seven years. Other sightings included juvenile White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Red-necked Crake and Pale-vented Bush-hen most days also a few Lewin's and Bridled Honeyeater along with a White-throated Honeyeater feeding a juvenile. 

White-throated Honeyeater

Cicadabird have been calling well with both male and female seen hawking insects.

Further Afield:-
With a bit more ponding from rain over two weeks ago there has been a thinning of waterbirds apart from Pink-eared Duck, “Chook” from Close Up Birding Adventures reported 6 in Mt. Molloy which were the first he had recorded here and Phil Gregory from Cassowary House had one on the coast at the Wonga Beach Barramundi Farm, others were reported from Brady Road lagoon near Mareeba and Hasties Swamp near Atherton. Unusual for this time of year are the number of Black Kite in the area, 24 were circling just outside Mareeba one day with several others attracted to road kill back towards Mt. Molloy. Normally these birds disappear in the wet season, presumably they go inland to breed. The Mount Lewis Road is still blocked but the lower 1.5km of the road is still open, here Victoria's Riflebird has been seen regularly with a few of the wet tropic endemic bird such as Chowchilla, Pied Monarch and Grey-headed Robin. Wetherby Station, along the alternative road to Mount Molloy from Julatten, proved to be very rewarding with 35 species seen in the Wetherby Station lagoon and adjacent woodland whilst on a morning trip with the BirdLife Northern Queensland group. A pair of Brown-backed Honeyeater were building a nest 

Brown-backed Honeyeater - building nest

and an Olive-backed Oriole gave us good views as it foraged in a fig tree were highlights, a full species list can be found on the Eremaea Birds site.

Reptiles and Mammals:-
23 mammal species seen plus two frog species heard over the two weeks. A Large-footed Myotis has been roosting on our neighbours veranda on several occasion, this is a bat that does not mind fishing in the creek for small fish, one of which it dropped onto the neighbours balcony! A few Keelback Snake have been seen around the area, this is a harmless fresh water snake.

Keelback (Freshwater Snake)

Keelback (Freshwater Snake)

The drier weather has resulted in less mammal activity with virtually no sightings of Northern and Long-nosed Bandicoot around the lodge, only one sighting of a Northern Brown; we think they go into the cane fields at this time of year.

Definitely last blog for a few weeks as we will be on holiday! As we mentioned before the
Lodge will remain open in the very capable hands of our friends Kath & Dave from Cooktown.

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