Sunday, 28 July 2013

28th July 2013 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

The weather did improve over the last two weeks with cooler nights, sunny days and some great birding as the sun bought out the flowers and birds. Rainfall was 11.5mm for the first week and no rain recorded during the second week although we did have a trace. Temperatures were down to 13.7ºC and up to 24ºC with some days failing to make 20ºC.

Past Two Weeks Bird Sightings:-
Bird sightings for the first week were 117, 112 seen and 5 heard, second week sightings were 114, 110 seen and 4 heard. The last two weeks bird lists can be found on the Eremaea Birds Website:- 14th July - 20th July and 21st July - 27th July. Morning walks were good with between 53 and 60 species seen and heard.

Birding Highlights:-
Two species were added to our 1.5km area bird list both waterbirds along McDougall Road. The first was Black Swan, two were heard flying over the Lodge in the dark around 5.50am and located in one of the lagoons later that day, then three days later a Pink-eared Duck was seen in the same location. This brings the total bird species seen in a radius of 1.5km from the Lodge to 223. A few Topknot Pigeons have been flying over in pairs, usually in the morning and a Wompoo Fruit-Dove has been around the Lodge grounds over the second week. Papuan Frogmouth has been calling regularly behind the units in the rainforest and three were located near the Lodge on a morning walk. 

Papuan Frogmouth - mum, dad and juvenile

A pair of Black-necked Stork have been in a lagoon at the rear of Geraghty Park on several occasions and one was seen flying low over Geraghty Park whilst on a morning walk, spectacular bird. Both White-necked and White-faced Heron have been seen along McDougall Road, White-necked is not very common here. Raptors have been good with Black-shouldered Kite, White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Whistling and Black Kite, Brown Goshawk, Collared Sparrowhawk, Grey Goshawk (2), Spotted and Swamp Harrier, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Nankeen Kestrel, Brown Falcon and Australian Hobby making an impressive 13 species. Red-necked Crake was again heard but not seen but the noisy Bush Stone-curlew were seen. Double-eyed Fig-Parrot were only seen during the first week but not in the second week due to the fruiting fig, mentioned in the last blog, being stripped of fruit by a whole posse of birds. A group of four Gould's Bronze-Cuckoo were in the camping area high in the eucalypts calling and displaying one morning; they were chasing each other around fanning their tails and outstretching their wings whilst rocking from side to side in what we call their aeroplane display. Barking Owl continue to call and be seen as do the Barn Owl, one pair of which have a nest and were seen bringing a rat in whilst we were on a night walk. An Azure Kingfisher was seen along Bushy Creek before heading into the Crake Pool on the edge of the orchard, this was a first sighting for many weeks. Blue-winged Kookaburra have been very vocal and foraging around in Geraghty Park where we have seen them on morning walks, one was perched low down on a rail around the oval for great views. Spotted Catbird has been coming into the feeder from time to time but not regularly and a juvenile/female Satin Bowerbird was hanging around our neighbours house defending a fruiting Alexander Palm for nearly a week. Red-backed Fairy-wren was to be found along McDougall Road most days. 14 honeyeater species were seen plus one, Black-chinned was heard, the most unusual sighting was a Helmeted Friarbird feeding in the introduced African Tulip Tree in Geraghty Park, this is a common species along the coastal areas but rare in our area. Macleay's Honeyeater were taking advantage of a flowering banana tree along with other honeyeaters including Blue-faced Honeyeater.

Macleay's Honeyeater

A few Barred Cuckoo-Shrike lingered on in the area once the aforementioned fruiting fig tree ran out of fruit with at least one in our orchard at the end of the second week. The Golden Whistler, male, mentioned in previous blogs is still with us and is heard calling most days if not seen. At least one Bower's Shrike-thrush has been seen around the Lodge grounds but they are only winter visitors from the mountains behind us and will leave any time in the next few months. Both Yellow and Olive-backed Oriole have been around calling as has Black Butcherbird. Rufous Fantail are around in low numbers but Grey Fantail numbers have increased in the last week, maybe on their way south? 

Rufous Fantail

A male Shining Flycatcher was heard along Bushy Creek and seen flying away, this is an occasional visitor for us. Pied Monarch are still regular at Bushy Creek having a bathe in the afternoon and have been active in the Lodge grounds calling. The female Victoria's Riflebird which has been with us for several months has been making a few trips to the reception area feeder to get some banana to supplement the food it has been getting around the Lodge grounds. Lemon-bellied Flycatcher have been calling and foraging on the edge of the Lodge grounds as well as in Geraghty Park where up to eight have been seen. A Blue-faced Parrot-Finch was heard calling from the edge of Bushy Creek from the Mt. Kooyong Road early one morning but not located.

Further Afield:-
The odd Blue-faced Parrot-Finch has been seen in the area but only 1-2 at a time so they are not easy at the moment. A few guests were lucky enough to see a Golden Bowerbird on Mt. Lewis when one flew in front of them. Square-tailed Kite and Varied Sittella were reported from Mt. Molloy. A Radjah Shelduck was seen along Mt. Perseverance Road (just outside our 1.5km Lodge area), on a dam at an old fish farm by Del Richards from Fine Feather Tours. Budgerigar were still along the Hurricane Station Road (1hr. North of the Lodge) and a flock of 2000 was reported on Cape York Peninsula near Hann River. Red-backed Kingfisher, Diamond Dove and displaying Australian Bustard were at Maryfarms between Mt. Molloy and Mt. Carbine. 

Australian Bustard

A trip to Cairns and the Esplanade to look for reported Spotted Redshank and Laughing Gull failed to find either. Nobody has confirmed these sightings and the original observers have failed to supply any further requested information so both these sightings are doubtful as there was no supporting evidence. The Cairns Esplanade is always good for viewing waders (Shorebirds) and rarely disappoints, of note were seven Black-fronted Dotterel on the mudflats. The full list of species we saw is available on the Eremaea Birds website. We also called into the Cattana Wetlands but were met with strong winds which kept most of the small birds hidden away but there were plenty of Comb-crested Jacana and Green Pygmy-goose close into the banks for excellent views. Again the full list is on the Eremaea Birds website.

Comb-crested Jacana

Reptiles and Mammals:
Some good sightings over the past two weeks with 22 species of reptiles and mammals. A Leaf-tailed Gecko on a night walk was the first seen for some months. 

Leaf-tailed Gecko

Good views were had of Northern Blossom Bat feasting on a flowering South American Sapote in our orchard. A Striped Possum was seen in the same tree and a Green Ringtail Possum was seen on a night walk. Red-legged Pademelon have been around the Lodge grounds with several sightings of at least two and Agile Wallaby have been around the edges of cut cane paddocks. A male Yellow-footed Antichinus has been coming to the feeder for banana and also checking out our accommodation in the units! A Boyd's Forest Dragon was seen on two consecutive days and then disappeared, this was the first for a month. Frogs are hiding with the cooler weather but we did see Jungguy Frog, White-lipped Tree Frog, Cogger's Frog and a Cane Toad. Only one snake was seen and this was in our neighbours garden, an Australian Scrub Python.

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