Two weeks without any rain with some cloudy days, but mostly great weather with cool nights and warm sunny days – ideal! Temperatures ranged from 13ºC to 27ºC.
Past Two Weeks Bird Sightings:-
Bird sightings for the first week were 102, 98 seen and 4 heard, second week sightings were 103 seen and 2 heard. The last two weeks bird lists can be found on the Eremaea Birds Website:- 16th June - 22nd June and 23rd June - 29th June
Australian Owlet-nightjar was heard and then seen at the entrance to a roost hollow on the edge of Geraghty Park whilst on a guided morning walk and presumably the same bird was spotlighted the same evening in the vicinity of the day roost. White-faced and White-necked Heron returned to the lagoons along McDougall Road and up to three Eurasian Coot are still present here as well. Raptors have been good with sightings of Black-shouldered Kite, Pacific Baza, White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Whistling, Brahminy and Black Kite, Grey Goshawk, Spotted and Swamp Harrier, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Nankeen Kestrel, Brown Falcon and Australian Hobby. This image shows the distinctive "W" pattern on the wings and rounded tail of the Whistling Kite.
A Red-necked Crake was seen walking along path to Bushy Creek from the orchard at 5.45 one afternoon but no other sightings. At least 20 Double-eyed Fig-Parrot have been feasting on a fruiting fig tree at the end of Mt. Kooyong Road along with many honeyeaters, Barred Cuckoo-Shrike, Australian Figbird and Silvereye. Barking Owl have been calling and seen several times, mainly at the entrance to the Lodge and often on our Lodge sign, but not when we had the camera with us! Eastern Barn Owl have been seen in their nest hollow and are possibly starting to nest as it is the right time of year. Little Kingfisher has been fishing in the Crake Pool on several occasions late in the afternoon. Spotted Catbird has started to come to the feeder by reception and a Great Bowerbird was foraging on fruits in Geraghty Park. Lovely Fairy-wren have been seen along McDougall and Mt. Kooyong Roads. Large-billed Scrubwren do not appear to have returned to the nest reported in the last blog, but they maybe sitting. Plenty of honeyeaters around including three Black-chinned (Golden-backed form) foraging and calling in a Queensland Blue Gum at the entrance to the Lodge grounds. A pair of Macleay's Honeyeater were found on the ground locked together having a fight for over 20 minutes, they ended up exhausting each other and lay prone on the ground recovering, still locked together. One was playing dead in the first image but soon came alive when disturbed and flew off looking none the worse for the ordeal!
Both Yellow and Olive-backed Oriole have been calling and seen in the area. A Northern Fantail was foraging around the Bushy Creek bridge one morning whilst on a guided morning walk. Pied Monarch have been seen around the grounds and at Bushy Creek late afternoon bathing. Yellow-breasted Boatbill have been calling and see around the Lodge grounds along with a female Victoria's Riflebird who came into the reception area feeder one morning. Lemon-bellied Flycatcher were taking advantage of freshly mown grass in Geraghty Park with six of them pouncing onto the ground to pick up exposed insects.
Tawny Grassbird have been heard in the adjacent cane paddocks but are likely to get moved on soon as the cane is being harvested.
A trip to Cairns afforded us the opportunity to call into the Cattana Wetlands to look for the reported Cotton Pygmy-goose which we did not see.
There were plenty of other birds found here in a great little wetland area, the full list can be found here: http://www.eremaea.com/Lists.aspx?List=183541
Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo seen near Bushy Creek at the bottom of the Mt. Lewis Road, Blue-faced Parrot-Finch was heard at the same location. Fan-tailed Cuckoo were along Sides Road, Julatten, a Pacific Baza showed at the Mt. Lewis clearing 10km up from Bushy Creek and a Red-backed Kingfisher was at Maryfarms, south of Mt. Carbine. Flocks of several hundred Budgerigar were along the Kondaparinga Road north of Mt. Carbine. The budgies were resting in the heat of the day in the shade.
Also here were at least eight Black-throated Finch. These ones were preening after having a bathe in the dam.
In the same trees were Diamond Dove and many Brown Treecreeper. The Brown Treecreeper occurring here is in a broad intergrade zone between the Cape York sub-species melanotus and the nominotypical picumnus, which occurs in much of Queensland (except South-East), inland New South Wales and Victoria west of the Great Divide. This intergrade zone extends across the Burdekin-Lynd divide from about Cooktown and Croydon further north - west and about Hughenden and Townsville further south.
Also in the dam were these water lillies.
Four Australian Shoveller were reported at Hasties Swamp by several observers. A Diamond Dove was seen in Mt. Molloy, another unusual sighting. A Radjah Shelduck was standing beside the Mulligan Highway (Peninsula Road) opposite Lake Mitchell between Mareeba and Mt. Molloy on the afternoon of the 29th, which was not the place we expect to see one. Also on the 29th at Port Douglas on a cut cane paddock there was a Peregrine Falcon and an Australian Hobby standing on the ground 5m apart before they took off and went their separate ways. It was a good opportunity to view these two species and compare the obvious differences, don't think we'll see that again! Researchers on Mt. Lewis came across a Southern Boobook owl race lurida which is not often seen. Thanks to Eridani Mulder who kindly let us use her image of the S. Boobook.
|Southern Boobook - Race lurida|
Reptiles and Mammals:-
Quite a few sightings of Platypus, especially in the second week. One sighting at about 7.45am had the Platypus swimming to the bank of Bushy Creek and climbing up onto a log where it started to preen and scratch itself. A Tree Mouse Pygonomys sp. was another good sighting as this elusive mammal is not often seen, it was only first recorded in Australia in 1974. Striped Possum have been seen infrequently and both Long-nosed and Northern Brown Bandicoot have been in short supply with only one or two of each species seen. A Water Rat was seen whilst on a night walk poking its head out of the rock wall at the Platypus viewing area along Bushy Creek. Frog sightings were well down with only one sighting of a Jungguy Frog, White-lipped Tree Frog, Desert Tree Frog and a couple of Cane Toad.