Sunday, 25 August 2013

25th August 2013 Report Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

25th August 2013 Report.
Another two weeks of great weather, dry and cool overnight 13ºC with mild daytime temperatures up to 23ºC. Ideal birding conditions.

Past Two Weeks Bird Sightings:-
Bird sightings for the first week were 103, 102 seen and 1 heard, second week sightings were 110, 103 seen and 7 heard. The last two weeks bird lists can be found on the Eremaea Birds Website:- 11th August - 17th August and 18th August - 24th August.

Morning walks were good with between 52 and 56 species seen and heard.

Birding Highlights:-
The strangest sighting was of five Australian Pelican standing in a cut cane paddock looking lost. Not sure what they were thinking, probably wondering where the water has gone!

Australian Pelican

Topknot Pigeon have started to show in increasing numbers with two landing in a Blue Quandong Eleocarpus grandis tree in the orchard one morning, others have been flying over. 

Topknot Pigeon

Bar-shouldered Dove numbers continue to increase, this one was on a fence post around a nearby cane paddock.

Bar-shouldered Dove

Large-tailed Nightjar have been heard calling around the Lodge over the last week and other reports have them further afield in the district. A White-necked Heron was along McDougall Road, this is a species we don't see very often in our 1.5km recording area. Six Straw-necked Ibis turned up foraging in a cut cane paddock late one afternoon and was just about the most we have seen together all year. Pacific Baza came for a day calling and flying over the Lodge and Geraghty Park before they disappeared. Whistling Kite have been hanging around the cut cane paddocks,

Whistling Kite

Red-necked Crake appeared behind the cookshed late one afternoon at the water bowl and again crossing the path to Bushy Creek from the orchard on another occasion when it was almost dark. One even called out late on another afternoon after being quiet for several months. Double-eyed Fig-Parrot have been flying over the Lodge but on a guided morning walk a male and female were seen high up in a Blue Quandong tree and seen again in the same tree next day. A Brush Cuckoo was seen sitting on a fence post along McDougall road by Carol our guide whilst out with two guests, this must be the first one for the season as we have not had any other reports. Barking Owl were seen on a nightwalk inspecting or actually using a hollow in a Queensland Blue Gum to nest in. A Barking Owl was seen on another nightwalk a week later in a different tree just perched high up not doing anything so we are not sure what they are up to. Rainbow-bee-eater are still around but their numbers seem to be decreasing.

Rainbow Bee-eater

14 Honeyeater species including Bridled and Black-chinned were seen over the past two weeks, only one Noisy Friarbird was heard and no Helmeted Friarbird who may have gone back down to the coast. This Varied Triller looks like a young adult male race Yorki .

Varied Triller

The male Golden Whistler  previously mentioned is still with us and has now been around for a few months, must be close to heading back up to the mountains for the summer. Rufous Whistler have been calling in the drier woodland area of Geraghty Park where this male was calling.

Rufous Whistler

A single Bower's Shrike-thrush has been around the Lodge ground but not for the last 10 days. This average image shows the black bill and grey upperparts, richer rufous underparts with streaked breast.

Bower's Shrike-thrush

This female Australasian Figbird was taking advantage of old Metallic Starling nests to steal nesting material for herself.

Australasian Figbird - female

An Olive-backed Oriole was feeding in a small bush in Geraghty Park, whilst we were on a guided walk, giving great views of this bird low down rather than straining to see it high in the trees where they usually hang out. At least one Spangled Drongo is still around; its been coming into our feeder to get sugar water and chasing all the other honeyeaters away. Rufous, Grey and Northern Fantail have all been seen along with an increasing number of Willie Wagtail. There were three female Victoria's Riflebird foraging in a Striped Cucumber Vine Diplocyclos palmatus in the orchard on one occasion and one also seen foraging on these small black fruit of a Celerywood tree. Note long bill of female, immature males have a shorter bill.

Victoria's Riflebird

Lemon-bellied Flycatcher have been showing well in Geraghty Park, often sitting on the handrail around the oval. Two Bassian Thrush turned up in the orchard and adjacent rainforest for a couple of days and then disappeared. They come down from the mountains behind the Lodge in the cooler winter months usually earlier in the year; this year we have only had a juvenile Bassian Thrush come for one day, previous years we often have up to five stay for a few months. The pair of Olive-backed Sunbird who regularly nest around the buildings in Geraghty Park were back refurbishing last years nest (well the female was) but unfortunately it fell off the piece of wire it was attached to. We put it back up but so far the birds have not been back. Our neighbours have been hearing Blue-faced Parrot-Finch, occasionally seeing one or two in their backyard and telling us they were heading our way but so far no sightings in the Lodge grounds.

Further Afield:-
Best sighting in the area was by Del Richards from Fine Feather Tours who had a Grey Falcon being harassed by a group of Black Kite at Cooktown Crossing on the Mitchell River off the Hurricane Station Road north of Mt. Carbine. There has been previously very rare sightings of Grey Falcon in our region. Mt. Lewis has still been generally quiet but with a lot of patience and time most species can be found. Our guide Carol had a great day recently with two of our guests seeing three adult male Golden Bowerbird and two female/juvenile birds which is the most seen for many years. One fruiting Celerywood tree on the mountain was attracting up to 13 Tooth-billed Bowerbird along with Victoria's Riflebird and many other birds. Hasties Swamp on the Atherton Tableland now has four Freckled Duck and two pairs of Australasian Shoveler. Two Black Falcon were reported on Eremaea Birds website at Kairi on the Atherton Tablelands. Our neighbours reported a Southern Cassowary with three half grown juveniles at Mt. Hypipamee (The Crater) in the car park at 8.00am. It would appear that they are becoming more common here and used to people as they approach looking for food. There must be irresponsible people feeding them (we heard some tour guides were feeding them), which will lead to them becoming aggressive and then there will be calls to remove them, denying others the opportunity to see these magnificent birds, (off the soap box now!). Doug Herrington reported three Australian Pratincole at Mt. Carbine and two Cotton Pygmy-goose at Lake Mitchell.

Reptiles and Mammals:
25 species of reptile and mammals were seen over the two weeks. A Yellow-footed Antichinus was seen carrying nesting material up a tree near the Crake Pool in the orchard one afternoon and at least three Red-legged Pademelon (small rainforest kangaroo) were also in the orchard. Agile Wallaby have been feeding in the cut cane paddocks with up to five seen at any one time and a large male was seen in our orchard. A Green Ringtail Possum was spotted whilst on a nightwalk curled up on a branch of a Blue Quondong tree. Platypus have been seen in Bushy Creek early morning, late afternoon and a couple of times on night walks. Also seen on a nightwalk in Bushy Creek was a Water Rat, not often seen. Frogs have been quiet due to the dry weather but a small sprinkle of rain late in the second week bought out a few Stony Creek Frog Litoria jungguy with the larger females in the orchard and a couple of smaller, yellower males on the rock wall beside Bushy Creek calling – not quite the wet season but these frogs must have been celebrating the end of a few dry weeks! 

Stony Creek Frog

A Boyd's Forest Dragon appeared near our restaurant deck on the side of a tree and stayed motionless with its eyes open for four days before disappearing. It later returned when the nights started to warm up at the end of the second week.

 Other Wildlife:
 This moth, called a Tiger Moth , appeared on the wall of the Laundry.

Tiger Moth Amata trigonophora


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