Sunday, 22 September 2013

22nd September 2013 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge Report.

Weather Report
Very dry weather with just a slight hint of rain, which did not even register in the rain gauge. Some cool nights down to 12.3ºC and warm days up to 27ºc but still 4ºc cooler than the coast from Cairns to Daintree

Past Two Weeks Bird Sightings:-
Bird sightings for the first week were 104, 98 seen and 6 heard, second week sightings were 106, 98 seen and 8 heard. The last two weeks bird lists can be found on the Eremaea Birds Website:- 8th September - 14th September and 15th September - 21st September.

Morning walks were good with between 46 and 62 species seen and heard. Total species seen over four walks was 80.

Birding Highlights:-
The signs that birds are changing at this time of year were the return and departure of some species. Arrivals were a single Pied Imperial-Pigeon on the 12th September. Pied Imperial-Pigeon first appeared here on 13th September 2009 and since then have arrived back on 12th September 2010, 28th August 2011 and 9th September 2012. The bird which was seen first this year was a bit odd as it has a grey head instead of pure white. We managed an image of it when it was first seen perched in a Queensland Blue Gum calling. This shows the grey head which is not a shadow as we have seen the presumed same bird several times since showing this aberrant plumage. The odd pose is because the bird is calling.

Pied Imperial-Pigeon

Others to have returned were Noisy Pitta back on the 8th September with at least three heard and seen since then. Channel-billed Cuckoo were seen on the 15th and Black-faced Monarch were heard calling near the Crake Pool on the 18th. Grey Fantail appear to have left, whilst most Lewin's Honeyeater, Spangled Drongo and Rufous Fantail have also gone as there has only been one or two sightings of these species which were quite common 3-4 weeks ago. Emerald Dove have started to call over the last few weeks, usually whilst perched in the rainforest as this one is doing.

Emerald Dove - male

Wompoo Fruit-Dove and Superb Fruit-Dove have only been heard most days as they are staying high in the rainforest canopy. Papuan Frogmouth have been seen in the area and heard calling in the Lodge grounds.This is the adult female with last seasons immature bird hiding behind the tree branch.

Papuan Frogmouth

A single Australian Pelican is still around and was seen swimming in one of the McDougall Road lagoons. Female Black-necked Stork has been flying over and seen in local wetlands and at the local fish farm for most of the last two weeks. Black-shouldered Kite have been seen flying over, hovering and displaying as well as tail wagging most days. A Grey Goshawk has been around the Lodge and was seen one afternoon being escorted off the premises by a flock of noisy Blue-faced Honeyeater. Spotted Harrier are still around but in fewer numbers; only one sighting this last two weeks. A light phase Brown Falcon was seen one morning roosting on a power pole alongside the Rex Highway before flying off, very distinctive deep V shape flight as this silhouette shows.

Brown Falcon

Several Red-necked Crake have been heard but not seen, at least three were calling one evening. Barking Owl have been calling and seen perched around the Lodge, one crashed into a bedroom window one night and a patch of blood was found nearby. The guests in the unit did hear a squeal so the owl may have taken a Bush Rat or Fawn-footed Melomys. Probably a Bush Rat as their numbers have declined quite markedly recently. Barn Owl have been seen in the area mainly adults but a couple of juvenile birds were seen perched and calling out to be fed. Forest Kingfisher have been busy displaying and calling which maybe a precursor to breeding. 

Forest Kingfisher - female

Rainbow Bee-eater numbers have declined and Spotted Catbird have been around the feeder with a recently fledged young. 16 species of honeyeater have been attracted to flowering trees and the smaller flowering Grevillea. This hybrid grevillea was particularly popular with 11 species of honeyeater in it one morning; they were Yellow-spotted, Graceful, Bridled, Yellow-faced, Yellow, Brown-backed, Dusky, Scarlet, Brown, Blue-faced and Macleay's, quite spectacular. Here are just two of them.

Graceful Honeyeater

Graceful Honeyeater

Yellow Honeyeater

White-throated Honeyeater have been seen feeding with juvenile birds on Queensland Blue Gum flowers. Plenty of Bridled Honeyeater have been around making the most of the nectar supply before they go back up to higher altitudes later in the year. Barred Cuckoo-shrike are being heard more often than seen but they are being tracked down for views if you are patient. Grey Whistler have really fired up and are the most obvious species in the dawn chorus at the moment. Both Pied Monarch and Yellow-breasted Boatbill have been active and calling around the Lodge grounds. A few Grey-headed Robin are still with us and hopefully will stay until early November when they return to the mountains and higher altitudes. Metallic Starling are still busy building nests and not looking interested in returning to their main colony on the opposite side of Geraghty Park where they were for the last 6-7 years.

Further Afield:-
Mt. Lewis has been good as usual with a sighting of a juvenile Southern Cassowary which ran across the road in front of one of our guests. Good to know they are breeding on the mountain. There was at least six Tooth-billed Bowerbird feeding in one fruiting tree and several parties of Chowchilla on the ground often accompanied with Fernwren. A Black-necked Stork (female) was seen in Bushy Creek at the bottom of the Mt. Lewis Road with a snake in it's bill which it dropped. One Diamond Dove was reported from the Mt. Carbine Caravan Park; probably part of the flock which has been in the Maryfarm area for most of this year, at least 100 were reported there in the last two weeks. A Sacred Kingfisher was at Mt. Molloy which is uncommon here. Blue-faced Parrot-Finch were reported near Abattoir Swamp with at least two and possibly six bird present. One was also reported again in our neighbours garden but did not make it to the Lodge grounds. Silvereye were busy foraging on flowering blossom in a couple of Mango Trees and also on this popular Grevillea. 

A friend in Cairns sent this image of a giant juvenile Black-necked Stork which was taken at Yorkeys Knob in Cairns. At first we thought it was the perspective playing tricks on us but he assures us that the two birds were in the same plane beside one another. The juvenile certainly looks considerably larger than the other immature bird. Any comments?

Black-necked Stork

Reptiles and Mammals:-
A Slaty Grey snake was seen in the Lodge grounds, which is not common here and a Leaf-tailed Gecko was seen in the orchard. Boyd's Forest Dragon re-appeared at the end of the second week along with a couple of Eastern Water Dragon as the temperatures started to rise. Frogs were quiet as it was so dry with only one White-lipped Tree Frog spotted in the mens shower and one Cane Toad seen in the orchard with a few others calling over three nights. Striped Possum was seen in our neighbours garden heading into the Lodge grounds and a Green Ringtail Possum was seen in the rainforest in front of our self-contained Units. Both Northern Brown and Long-nosed Bandicoot have been coming to the reception area feeder in the evening before heading out to dig up our lawn and orchard!

Shop News:-
Pizzey & Knight Regional Field Guide to Birds are now in stock. Each regional guide includes every bird found within the region, organised by the environments they are most likely to be seen in, and all are illustrated by Frank Knight. Concise text highlights the key features of every species and an illustrated index helps to find your bird quickly.

Accompanied by an introduction to the region's habitats with a map of the region these guides are handy pocket sized and lightweight.
There are the four guides available so far.

South East Coast & Ranges - Greater Sydney to Greater Melbourne from the Great Dividing Range to the coast, and Tasmania, including adjacent seas and islands.
Mallee to Limestone Coast - All of Western Victoria west to Greater Adelaide, and north to Broken Hill in NSW.
Central East Coast and Ranges - From Newcastle (NSW) in the south to Gladstone (Qld) in the north.
Red Centre to the Top End - All of the Northern Territory and adjacent seas. (The book is also relevant to areas immediately adjacent to NT in Western Australia such as the Kununurra region which is a key visitor destination, and national parks along the border in Qld).
Cost of each is $25.00. + P & P.

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