Sunday, 14 July 2013

14th July 2013 Kingfisher Park Birwatchers Lodge

Weather Report:-
In a word yeuk! Well it did start out great for the beginning of the first week but deteriorated into drizzle for most of the remaining week and all the second week. There were a few breaks which allowed some good birding but the high pressure zone south-west of Australia in the Tasman Sea remained pretty static sending high winds and rain onto the tropical north Queensland coast. Despite this the rainfall was pretty low with only 7mm for the first week and 20.5mm for the second week. Temperatures were down to 10ºC and only up to18ºC on some days. The highest temperature was 25ºC on one day.

Past Two Weeks Bird Sightings:-
Bird sightings for the first week were 103, 101 seen and 2 heard, second week sightings were 102, 99 seen and 3 heard. The last two weeks bird lists can be found on the Eremaea Birds Website:- 30th June - 6th July and 7th July - 13th July

Birding Highlights:-
A very juvenile Emerald Dove decided to visit us in the office and landed on the computer screen before moving to the shelf and checking out the hole punch!

Emerald Dove-juvenile

A Great-billed Heron was a nice surprise on a morning walk, it was standing on the bank of Bushy Creek by the Mt. Kooyong Road bridge before it flew off downstream. We do see the odd one along Bushy Creek but not usually until August through to December with one exception in 2011 when we had one along McDougall Road creek on 8th July. A single Straw-necked Ibis was foraging in a paddock opposite Geraghty Park one morning which was one of very few sightings this year. Yellow-billed Spoonbill are not very common in our area but one was seen flying over Geraghty Park on a morning walk which was a first for the walk. It was seen several days later perched in a dead tree opposite Geraghty Park by some ponding. Pacific Baza sightings have been scarce this year so two calling and seen on a morning walk both perched and flying over was a great sighting. A Wedge-tailed Eagle moved into the area, probable to check out the cut cane paddocks, and was seen soaring over McDougall Road whilst an Australian Hobby was perched in a tree below. Just after dark on several nights a Brown Falcon has been flying over the Lodge grounds calling and heading towards McDougall Road where we think it is roosting. We have seen this behaviour before, usually when we have been looking for owls. Red-necked Crake are still being heard but not seen – grrrr. A pair of Sulphur-crested Cockatoo have been doing the rounds of the orchard chewing off branches and generally pruning trees! They are not called chainsaws of the sky for nothing! This is one of the culprits who looks very innocent.

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

The fruiting fig mention in the last blog at the end of Mt. Kooyong Road still has some fruit on it and attracting many birds including Barred Cuckoo-Shrike and Double-eyed Fig Parrot which have all been juveniles or females, no males spotted with them – interesting. 

Double-eyed Fig-Parrot - female

Barking Owl are still calling through the night as well as 3.00 o'clock in the afternoon one day. They have been seen sitting on our entrance sign quite often and in this area some birds legs were found and identified as a Pale-vented Bush-hen, also here was a dead Red-browed Finch; both likely victims of the Barking Owl. The bush-hen was of interest as there has not been any sightings for a few months and we assumed they had all left the area, maybe not. Rainbow Bee-eater have been foraging low down and taking advantage of the railing around the Geraghty Park oval to perch on.

Rainbow Bee-eater

Eleven honeyeater sightings over the two weeks plus Black-chinned Honeyeater (Golden-backed) was heard but not seen. A male Golden Whistler turned up at the water bowl opposite the units one afternoon and has subsequently been seen and heard around the grounds. We get the occasional one coming down off the mountains behind us in the winter months and they usually stay until about August/September. This is also the case for Bower's Shrike-thrush which also come down occasionally and one was seen on a morning walk on the 13th foraging in the Lodge grounds. Both Black (adult) and Brown (juvenile) Black Butcherbird have been around the grounds calling and skulking through the rainforest. 

Black Butcherbird - juvenile

All the fantails have been seen over the two weeks, Rufous, Grey and Northern plus Willie Wagtail. Pied Monarch are still coming to Bushy Creek for an afternoon bath and Yellow-breasted Boatbill have been very vocal and showing well. An Australian Reed-warbler was calling from an adjacent cane paddock and after a lot of perseverance was seen flitting around. Chestnut-breasted Mannikin have been making the most of the seeding cane paddocks and forming quite large flocks.

Further Afield:-
Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo was seen at the base of Mt. Lewis along the road and further up the mountain a brown Golden Bowerbird was seen. West and East Maryfarms Roads south of Mt. Carbine are still turning up Diamond Dove with over 200 present late on the afternoon of 7th July, also here was a Rufous Songlark and on the 3rd was a Spotted Harrier plus Red-backed Kingfisher on the 13th. Wetherby Station lagoon between Julatten and Mt. Molloy had a good variety of waterbird including Pink-eared Duck on the 6th , a first for this location, full list on Eremaea Birds site. Pink-eared Duck were also on Brady Road Swamp north of Mareeba on the 4th, full list on Eremaea Birds site. Pink-eared Duck are on just about all the regions wetlands and Hasties Swamp is no exception, here they are sharing a quiet corner with a row of Plumed Whistling-Duck.

Plumed Whistling-Duck and Pink-eared Duck

Reptiles and Mammals:
A total of 19 mammal and reptile species were seen over the two week which is about average for the winter months. Several sightings were had of Striped Possum around the Lodge grounds and a Green Ringtail Possum was seen roosting during the day high in a tree behind our bunkhouse. Both Long-nosed and Northern Brown Bandicoot were seen but only a few times as numbers are still down. A few frogs ventured out with the highlight being a Green Tree Frog in an adjacent cane field; this species is quite uncommon here unlike the White-lipped Green Tree Frog which we see most weeks. Platypus was seen late in the afternoon when almost dark at the viewing area on Busy Creek. Red-legged Pademelon are appearing in the orchard and Agile Wallaby are foraging around in cut cane paddocks. A Green Tree Snake was in vegetation along Bushy Creek and an 2m Australian Scrub Python was in our neighbours garden and almost got hit by a brush-cutter (whipper snipper or strimmer) as it lay in the grass. Late in the evening of the 13th a White-tailed Rat came to the reception area feeder, which was the first one we have seen for nearly two weeks.

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