Saturday, 10 August 2013

11th August 2013 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

Weather Report
Fantastic weather over the last two weeks with cool nights and mild days, clear skies and little cloud. Temperatures were down to 11ºC (yes we know this is the top temperature in some southern areas!), which is cool for us and up to the low 20ºc's. With this cooler weather many eucalypts have started flowering and a few fig trees have been fruiting which have attracted many more birds to the area.

Past Two Weeks Bird Sightings:-
Bird sightings for the first week were 111, 108 seen and 3 heard, second week sightings were 118, 112 seen and 6 heard. The last two weeks bird lists can be found on the Eremaea Birds Website:- 28th July - 3rd August and 4th August - 10th August. Morning walks were good with between 51 and 65 species seen and heard.

Birding Highlights:-
Metallic Starling returned from Papua New Guinea on the 4th August when five were seen flying over the orchard, this was about a week later than 2012. Our neighbours had two Blue-faced Parrot-Finch in their garden at the end of the second week and said they were heading towards the Lodge grounds but so far have not been sighted here. Orange-footed Scrubfowl have been more noisy than normal (if that is possible) and one has been regularly seen roosting in a tree about five metres off the ground whilst on our night walks. 

Orange-footed Scrubfowl

Australian Pelican are still around with numbers getting up to five, which is pretty good seeing as it was only a few weeks ago that we saw our first two in the 1.5km area around the Lodge. We did see three circling overhead whilst on a morning walk. Two Black-necked Stork have been using a small swamp between Geraghty Park and McDougall Road frequently, one was seen flying over Geraghty Park one morning heading to the local Barramundi Fish farm, where it no doubt was chased off. Ibis numbers have dropped off over the last week with the Australian White Ibis no longer roosting across the Rex Highway from Geraghty Park. With cane harvesting starting up again during the second week greater numbers of Black and Whistling Kite were attracted along with a Wedge-tailed Eagle. Our two resident White-bellied Sea-Eagle were also keeping an eye on the harvesting and were perching along the edge of the cane paddock and our rainforest. Rainbow and Scaly-breasted Lorikeet were feasting on the blossom from the Queensland Blue Gum (Forest Red Gum) Eucalyptus tereticornis and also the flowers of the introduced African Tulip trees in Geraghty Park. Our Barking Owl pair seem to be only one now as we have only been hearing one bird calling, almost incessantly every night. It often perches on the cookshed roof as it is doing in this image. 


Barking Owl

Barn Owl have been showing on night walks but no sign of any youngsters yet. Sadly one adult Barn Owl was found with a head wound lying on the ground one day, unfortunately it did not survive. The Satin Bowerbird previously reported coming in to our neighbours garden is still making appearances and seems to be a loner with no others reported. Honeyeaters have also been feeding on the flowering eucalypts with 14 species seen and one heard over the two weeks. There has been one Helmeted Friarbird and one Noisy Friarbird present, both occasional visitors to our immediate area. A few Callistemon (Bottlebrush) have also been flowering and this one had a Dusky Honeyeater doing acrobatics to get at the nectar.

Dusky Honeyeater

Blue-faced Honeyeater were in flowering Grevillea's with this one taking time out to preen itself.


Blue-faced Honeyeater

Barred Cuckoo Shrike are still around, some feeding on a fruiting fig tree along Bushy Creek. At least one male Golden Whistler has been around the Lodge grounds and showing well on a few morning walks. A single Bowers Shrike-thrush has also been around the grounds and seen a few times; this is a species normally found at higher altitudes above 600m, the Lodge is 450m. A few Spangled Drongo are still around but most have moved on from the area. Rufous and Grey Fantail are also still around and have been joined by at least one Northern Fantail who has been on the edge of the rainforest. A pair of Torresian Crow have been very vocal across the Rex Highway from Geraghty Park and being chased off by a variety of birds. Pied Monarch and Yellow-breasted Boatbill are still being seen regularly around the Lodge grounds as has at least two female Victoria's Riflebird. Lemon-bellied Flycatcher have been active in Geraghty Park and often perch on the railing around the oval for good views. Olive-backed Sunbird have been coming down to feed in flowering Bromeliads at the entrance to the reception area as this female was doing.


Olive-backed Sunbird - female

Further Afield:-
Another trip to Cairns allowed us to check out the Cattana Wetlands whilst we had breakfast. Australian Grebe and Comb-crested Jacana were obliging enough to come within range for their picture to be taken, although the jacana was in a hurry to move away.

Australasian Grebe

Comb-crested Jacana

An immature Black-faced Monarch was seen by our local bird guide Carol Iles near Abattoir Swamp, this is very unusual to see an immature at this time of year. The adult birds have not returned from Papua New Guinea yet and don't start breeding until about December and into the new year. Blue-faced Parrot-Finch are being seen in the area away from the Lodge but often require a lot of patience. Red-backed Kingfisher have been seen around Maryfarms between Mount Molloy and Mt.Carbine where Diamond Doves are still present after about six months. Hasties Swamp still has Freckled Duck present, two have been there for about six months, also two Australasian Shoveler are still there after about two months.

Reptiles and Mammals:
23 reptile and mammal species seen over the two weeks which is pretty good considering the cooler weather has slowed down the reptiles. We saw a Tree Mouse Pognomys sp. feeding in a fruit tree in our orchard whilst on a night walk, a species we only see a few times a year. Our Yellow-footed Antichinus has been coming to our feeder to get banana much to the annoyance of the birds.

Yellow-footed Antichinus

Red-legged Pademelon (small rainforest kangaroo) have been in the orchard grazing at night and Agile Wallaby have been along the edges of cut cane paddocks. Giant White-tailed Rat have been a bit more obvious than usual with at least five seen one evening – these are native tree rats with very sharp teeth! A Fawn-footed Melomys was feeding in a five corner fruit tree one night and ran off to hide behind the bark of the tree and as the image shows not very successfully!


Fawn-footed Melomys

Platypus have been seen in Bushy Creek but not every day, we suspect they maybe breeding at this time of year as it is not until later in the year we start seeing three Platypus. Frogs have been quiet due to the dry cool weather but a few individuals have been showing occasionally, including this Peter's Frog Litoria inermis which appeared one evening on one of the louver’s of a window in the reception area. 


Peter's Frog

Also this Dainty Green Tree Frog Litoria gracilenta made a home in the mens shower for a few days, it looked like a piece of green soap!


Dainty Green Tree Frog


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