Sunday, 21 April 2013

21st April 2013 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

Weather Report:-
Weather over the last two weeks has been drizzle and rain for the 1st week then sunny with some cloud and a little rain for the start of the 2nd week but towards the end of the second week the weather was glorious. Rainfall for the 1st week was 124.5mm and second week 5.5mm. Temperatures ranged from 17.2ºC to 28.4ºC. No humidity figures as our humidity sensor broke, this is the 3rd one to break so we are looking for a more reliable one!

Past Two Weeks Bird Sightings:-
Bird sightings for the first week were 96, 95 seen and 1 heard, second week sightings were 115, 111 seen and 4 heard. The last two weeks bird lists can be found on the Eremaea Birds Website:- April 7th – April 13th and April 14th - April 20th

Birding Highlights:-
The news from the Lodges Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher is that some have left during the last few days of the second week leaving some juvenile birds and just a few adults behind. Several of the juveniles seen probably have another 2-3 weeks development before they can head off. Reports from the Daintree indicate that most if not all their kingfishers have left the area. This image of one of our juvenile birds was taken by Ed Pierce as he was leaving on the 19th April - looking rather sad as if  his parents have left him.

Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher - juvenile about 6-7 weeks old

A female Superb Fruit-Dove was seen in the orchard during a morning walk but they have been even more difficult to find as they have not been calling for several weeks. Topknot Pigeon are quite spasmodic at the moment with odd sightings, there was only one sighting of ten birds flying over the Lodge. There have been two Papuan Frogmouth in the Lodge grounds for most of the two weeks due to a male turning up during the 1st week. He was in the orchard and our resident female was roosting near the reception area, but on a few days the female was in the orchard and the male disappeared. One day the female who normally roosts about 5-6m off the ground, decided to roost in front of the units about 3m off the ground which is very unusual. This is her on the 3m roost.

Papuan Frogmouth - female

Waterbirds have been thin on the ground apart from Pacific Black Duck and Hardhead who are spending most of their time at the local Barramundi Farm. A few Australian White Ibis have joined them some days and Straw-necked Ibis have been sharing the cattle paddocks with Cattle Egret. The Straw-necked Ibis are interesting as there were over 30 one day which is a contrast to last year when we hardly saw one all year around the Lodge although there were plenty along the coast last year. A Pacific Baza was a first sighting for over twelve weeks, let's hope they are back to nest in the area. Other raptors around include Grey Goshawk, Spotted Harrier, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Nankeen Kestrel after five weeks away, two White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Black-shouldered Kite and both Whistling and Black Kite. Red-necked Crake has been showing occasionally at our neighbours house along with Pale-vented Bush-hen. Double-eyed Fig-Parrot are around but only when a pair has flown over. Channel-billed Cuckoo were last seen on 17th April when four juveniles were along Bushy Creek so it maybe they have all headed north to Papua New Guinea. A Shining Bronze-Cuckoo was seen one day which may mean that a few are coming down from higher altitudes in the mountains behind us. The two Barking Owl which have been around the area for nearly a year now have been coming into the Lodge and have been seen several times, once on a night walk and again when one was perched on our entrance sign as this image by Ed Pierce shows. (BB Paradise-Kingfisher don't really have such a thick short bill, it's just the angle of the photo!).

Barking Owl

A (Lesser) Sooty Owl was found one morning roosting in dense foliage along the road to the reception area which was a great sighting as they have not been calling for a few weeks or seen for nine weeks. Eastern Barn Owl have been calling and three individuals were seen on a night walk plus three more heard. An Azure Kingfisher was seen zipping along Bushy Creek whilst on a morning walk as well as Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher, Forest Kingfisher, Blue-winged and Laughing Kookaburra – not bad five kingfishers on one morning walk, that does not happen too often. These two Laughing Kookaburra were perched at the entrance to the Lodge waiting  for breakfast to appear.

Laughing Kookaburra

Rainbow Bee-eaters have been around in small flocks and the odd Dollarbird was still around mid-way through the second week. In the first week of April a Noisy Pitta was seen in the orchard and one was heard during the second week but they are very shy at the moment. A female Lovely Fairy Wren was seen on the edge of the orchard on the 16th April, this is a rare sight in the Lodge grounds. 13 species of honeyeater for the last two weeks including a few Bridled Honeyeater which are down from the mountains, however the most numerous at the moment are Dusky Honeyeater who are feasting on the Blue Quandong blossom. Barred Cuckoo-shrike and Cicadabird are making a few appearances as are Varied Triller with seven on one morning walk. This included a female feeding a very young juvenile which appeared to have streaking down the upper breast; this is a late breeding record. Grey Whistler are calling all over the grounds and being seen rather than just heard which has been the case lately. A Yellow Oriole was along Geraghty Park Road, Julatten, feeding on the seeds of a Bats Wing Coral Tree Erythrina verspertillio, seen on a morning walk.  

Yellow Oriole

A Northern Fantail was around the local Barramundi Farm on several occasions but have not been back to the Lodge grounds since last year. Willie Wagtail have been back a few weeks now and this one was looking for some guidance at our neighbours house!

Willie Wagtail

A very young dependent Black-faced Monarch was being fed in Geraghty Park one morning; this is a very late breeding record. Both Pied Monarch and Yellow-breasted Boatbill have started calling more frequently allowing them to be tracked down more easily. A Victoria's Riflebird turned up in the orchard during the first week and has been calling ever since but nobody has seen it yet, this is another occasional visitor from the mountains behind us. Several Tawny Grassbird Olive-backed Sunbird have started sitting on a nest on our neighbours veranda, a location they have bred from before. This female is enjoying a flowering ginger plant in our grounds. 

Olive-backed Sunbird - female
Further Afield:-
Definite highlight for the last two weeks was a White Wagtail at McIvor River north of Cooktown (about 3hrs north of the Lodge) found by Kath Shurcliff and Dave Houghton, further information and an image is on the Eremaea Birds site.  The most bizarre sighting was one of a juvenile male Superb Fruit-Dove which flew from the coast out to sea to land on the Ocean Spirit (tour boat) at Michaelmas Cay some 18Km from Cairns.  Who knows where it was heading or why it took off over the sea when its normal rainforest habitat is the opposite direction.

Superb Fruit-Dove - juvenile male    © Nathalie - Ocean Spirit Cruises 2013

Lake Mitchell (between Mt. Molloy and Mareeba) has been getting a few good birds over the past two weeks, Cotton Pygmy Goose (4), White-browed Crake, Grey-crowned Babbler and Tawny Grassbird, all viewed from the causeway. A Tooth-billed Bowerbird was along Pinnacle Road, Julatten on the way to Mowbray National Park, this is an interesting and lower than normal altitude record which is not too unusual as they have been seen here before. Yellow-billed Spoonbill and Restless Flycatcher have been seen at Brady Road Swamp, Mareeba.

Reptiles and Mammals:-
A good few weeks with 27 species of reptiles and mammals seen, probably because we and a few guests did more looking due to favourable weather. Red-legged Pademelon (small rainforest kangaroo) have been seen in the orchard early morning or late at night. Bats identified were Eastern Horseshoe, Northern Broad-nosed and Little Bentwing plus Spectacled Flying Fox. Bandicoots have started to show but only one or two, a Northern Brown has been coming to the feeder and a Long-nosed was seen near the entrance to the Lodge being eyed off by a nearby Barking Owl! A few frog experts went out one night and added to the frog list, those seen were (Brown) Striped Marsh Frog, Jungguy Frog, White-lipped Green Tree Frog, Northern Dwarf Tree Frog, Peron's Tree Frog, Desert Tree Frog, Dainty Green Tree Frog, Cogger's Frog and Cane Toad. Boyd's Forest Dragon continue to be around the feeder near reception but one was also seen in the orchard on the edge of the rainforest. Eastern Water Dragon have been in Bushy Creek seen clinging to a few exposed logs, An Australian Scrub Python (Amethystine) was in our neighbours garden and a Green Tree Snake went past the units in an overhanging tree escorted by several honeyeaters who were trying to see it off. 

The picture below is of a Carpet Python found in Julatten (thanks to John Weigel for correcting our initial wrong ID!).

Carpet Python - juvenile
Thanks to Ed and Ocean Spirit for the use of their photos in this weeks blog.


Greg Roberts said...

Keith & Lindsey
Hi there. Hope all is well with you both. I've only just hooked up with your blog. Nice work. I'll be keen to keep an eye on how things go.
I'm here if you're interested in things down this way:

Keith and Lindsay Fisher said...

Thanks Greg,
Good to know someone is reading our blog! Will keep up with your blog and hopefully get down your way in the not too distant future. K & L

Anonymous said...

Great site! Looking forward to our stay there in June.
Carla and Ian

Keith and Lindsay Fisher said...

Thanks C & I,
Looking forward to your visit - will try to arrange some good birds for you!
K & L.

Peter and Jan Grenfell said...

Always love your photos, hope to return to your area again,last time you were fully booked so stayed at Red Mill and Cassowary house.

Keith and Lindsay Fisher said...

Hi Peter and Jan,
Sorry you missed out last time hopefully better luck next time when we will look forward to your visit. Thanks for the nice comment about the photos.
K & L

Peter and Jan Grenfell said...

You may be interested in some of my blogs. Birds a little different to yours.