Sunday, 19 May 2013

19th May 2013 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

Weather Report:-
Mixed weather over the past two weeks with a few wet rainy days, some drizzly cool days and some lovely sunny weather with temperatures ranging from 18ºC to 28ºC. Rainfall for the two weeks was 56mm.

Past Two Weeks Bird Sightings:-
Bird sightings for the first week were 95 seen and 6 heard, second week sightings were 98 seen and 7 heard. The last two weeks bird lists can be found on the Eremaea Birds Website:- May 5th – May 11th and May 12th - May 18th

Birding Highlights:-
Our last Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher left on the 8th May setting a record for latest departure by one day. Always sad to see them go as they are such an iconic and beautiful bird to have around the Lodge. Two species, Varied Triller and Black-faced Monarch, have bred very late this year with a pair of trillers feeding a youngster near the nursing home and an adult monarch feeding a begging juvenile. Both these species are about 6-8 weeks beyond normal breeding season. Waterbird numbers have been increasing at the nearby Barramundi Farm with mainly Pacific Black Duck and Hardhead with up to five Royal Spoonbill, eight Australian White Ibis, several Intermediate Egret and one Eastern Great Egret. Little Black Cormorant turn up but are quickly chased off! Cattle Egret numbers are still increasing with an estimated 2000 along McDougall Road one evening as they came into roost. A bit different to the lone Eastern Great Egret that has been hanging around with them. This bird has been around the area since last year and has a damaged leg which dangles down when flying but seems to be ok when it is walking.

Eastern Great Egret with Cattle Egret

Eastern Great Egret

At least one Wompoo Fruit-Dove has been coming into bunches of palm fruits outside the accommodation units usually early morning or late afternoon and a single Topknot Pigeon was in our neighbours garden for one day. Papuan Frogmouth have not been seen in the Lodge grounds for several weeks but they have been found near the local nursing home but they are not our ones, they are a pair with a first year juvenile. Raptors have been around with a Collared Sparrowhawk being seen along McDougall Road several times and Pacific Baza have been around the Lodge. An Australian Hobby was around the back of the nursing home along with a Black-shouldered Kite who were eyeing each other off from adjacent perches. Red-necked Crake have been heard around the Lodge grounds and seen in our neighbours bird bath! A juvenile Pale-vented Bush-hen was seen at the beginning of the first week in our neighbours garden but not since, so they have probably left the area. A Black-fronted Dotterel was at the Barramundi Farm for a few days. A female Double-eyed Fig-Parrot at the front entrance to the Lodge on a guided morning walk was a great sighting as it clung to the side of a dead tree branch in the sun. Barking Owl were heard during the early part of the second week but not for the last four days but Sooty Owl was heard during the Barking Owl absence. Blue-winged Kookaburra continue to show well in Geraghty Park as do several pairs of Forest Kingfisher. Rainbow Bee-eater have been around the Lodge in big numbers with several hundred passing over on northward migration, they have been in the area for the last two weeks. 

Rainbow Bee-eater

A Noisy Pitta has been heard but not seen unlike Spotted Catbird who are very vocal and have been seen. Lovely Fairy-wren have been seen several times in our neighbours garden, usually late afternoon as they move to roost in bamboo along Bushy Creek. Eleven honeyeater species were seen and one, Black-chinned Honeyeater heard. The odd Barred Cuckoo-shrike has been seen but no Cicadabird over the last two weeks. At least one Yellow Oriole has been around the Lodge grounds calling but only one, of the usually more common, Olive-backed Oriole was heard. A Black Butcherbird caught and ate a Cogger's Frog along our main driveway about the same time that we heard a White-lipped Tree Frog crying out as it had been caught by something, probably a Green Tree Snake – hard life being a frog. A few Rufous Fantail are still here and are being joined by Grey Fantail (sub-species alisteri) who have migrated from southern parts. Pied Monarch are coming down to bathe late afternoon in Bushy Creek and one was foraging at the back of the accommodation units one morning with a female Victoria's Riflebird. 

Victoria's Riflebird -  female

At least 12 Golden-headed Cisticola were calling and foraging in a grassy paddock behind the nursing home with two Tawny Grassbird whilst on a guided morning walk. The cisticolas were in breeding plumage and the two grassbirds were sitting up on the grass stems showing well for over five minutes which is quite unusual as they are usually skulking around in the dense lower stems. A Bassian Thrush was seen along McDougall Road which might mean that a few are coming down the mountains to lower altitudes. A few usually make it to the Lodge grounds each year. Australasian Pipit have been seen in the fields behind the nursing home and at the local Barramundi Farm.

Australasian Pipit

Further Afield:-
Two White-browed Woodswallow were perched on power lines at West Mary Road, Maryfarms (between Mount Molloy and Mt. Carbine), not often reported this far east. At least two Black-throated Finch were seen nesting along the Hurricane Station Road north of McLeod River. Red-backed Kingfisher was seen at Mt. Carbine by our bird guide Carol Iles

Red-backed Kingfisher

An Azure Kingfisher was at Brady Road Swamp just north of Mareeba, not a normal place for this species out in the dry open woodland but they do turn up in odd places, we had one in the rainforest at 950m on Mt. Lewis! Speaking of Mt. Lewis it proved good for one couple who saw a male Golden Bowerbird fly across the road, always a difficult bird to see. Two Pacific Baza have been around Euluma Creek Road, Julatten circling and calling over the past two week, maybe going to nest in the area? A Square-tailed kite was circling over the Peninsular Highway on the northern outskirts of Mount Molloy on Saturday 18th before gliding on upswept wings over the treetops adjacent to the highway. Here it encountered a flock of Sulphur-crested Cockatoo who noisily escorted it out of their territory.

Reptiles and Mammals:-

17 species of reptiles and mammals were seen, which was again down on previous weeks due to a lesser effort in looking, especially at night due to unfavourable weather. A few frogs were tempted out of hiding by the drizzly weather with Jungguy Frog, White-lipped Green Tree Frog and Cane Toad seen, Cogger's Frog was heard. 

Jungguy Frog

A Green Tree Snake took up residence in our neighbours property when it made a home in a flowerpot. The pot was disturbed and the snake leapt out much to the surprise of our neighbour! The fishing bat, Large-footed Myotis also made its roost under the same neighbours house. A Striped Possum was coming to a flowering banana tree each night to get the nectar and a Northern Brown Bandicoot made occasional visits to the seed feeder by the reception area.

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