Sunday, 17 November 2013

17th November 2013 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

Weather Report
Over the last two weeks rainfall has been patchy and light with falls of 7mm, 2.5mm and 0.5mm, again it has been dry and hot with temperatures up to 30ºC. Overnight temperatures were only dropping down to 19ºC. Humidity dropped to 51% but went up into the low 90's.

Past Two Weeks Bird Sightings:-
Bird sightings for the first week were 108, 94 seen and a high number of 14 heard, second week sightings were 119 , 110 seen and 9 heard, this was a great week. The last two weeks bird lists can be found on the Eremaea Birds Website:- 3rd - 9th November and 10th- 16th November.

Morning walks turned up between 51 and 61 species.

Birding Highlights:-
The stand out has to be a Lesser Sooty Owl seen perched at eye level whilst on a guided nightwalk on 12th November. This is only the second sighting in six months; both these sightings have been in the last three weeks, which hopefully means were have a resident Lesser Sooty Owl again. The main contingent of Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher arrived over the nights of 8th and 9thNovember when they were heard calling in all parts of the Lodge grounds. Since then they continue to be heard but are proving difficult to see, one was seen swooping a Noisy Pitta in the orchard. A Square-tailed Kite was seen soaring over cane paddocks within the 1.5km radius birding area around the Lodge, quite uncommon these days. Another good sighting was from our neighbour, Andrew, who found a Common Greenshank in a nearby small wetland to add to the Lodge birdlist, which now stands at an impressive 225 species. 

Common Greenshank

Red-necked Crake have been seen regularly with at least four heard calling at one time. They have usually been seen around the Bushy Creek/Crake Pool area. Red-winged Parrot was another unusual visitor to our bird list area, seen near the Julatten school; they are usually further west towards Abattoir Swamp and the drier areas of Mt. Molloy. A few stragglers are still with us, a Lewin's Honeyeater, a Rufous Fantail and a Grey-headed Robin. These species have usually moved up to higher altitudes and left the Lodge grounds by now. Superb Fruit-Dove have again been around the Lodge grounds but have only been seen flying away! Pied Imperial-Pigeon have been cooing and displaying with what appears to be two males wooing a single female. A Black-breasted Buzzard was seen over McDougall Road one afternoon, very uncommon here and a Grey Goshawk was circling over the Lodge grounds one morning putting the Rainbow Lorikeet, Pied Imperial-Pigeon and Sulphur-crested Cockatoo to flight. Two adult and one immature White-bellied Sea-Eagle have been seen flying over and perched along Bushy Creek. An Australian Hobby was seen whizzing over the Lodge and was the first seen for a few months. Double-eyed Fig-Parrot have been seen occasionally feeding in a Cluster Fig on the edge of Mt. Kooyong Road. A good number of cuckoos are around the area with Channel-billed, Gould's Bronze-Cuckoo and Brush seen with Pheasant Coucal and Eastern Koel heard. Barking Owl are still around but have not been seen, only heard at a distance. Spotted Catbird have been calling as this one was, whilst perched in the Lodge orchard.

Spotted Catbird

Honeyeaters have again been good with 15 species seen and one heard, that only leaves four not recorded from our list. A pair of White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike have been around the Lodge for the past week.

White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike

Barred Cuckoo-shrike have been foraging in the Lodge grounds over the past week as have Cicadabird. Little Shrike-thrush have been seen making a nest in the Lodge grounds. Pied Monarch and Yellow-breasted Boatbill have also been calling and showing well. Olive-backed Sunbird have been attending to a nest on the edge of the Lodge grounds as well as trying to chase off their reflections in guests car wing mirrors!

Further Afield:-
Lake Mitchell between Mount Molloy and Mareeba has been good for waterbirds with a male Cotton Pygmy-goose seen and a Wood Sandpiper reported by our guide Carol Iles. Carol also reported a pair of Horsfield's Bushlark (uncommon in area) at Rasmussen Road, Julatten and Banded Honeyeater in Fraser Road, Mount Molloy. Big Mitchell Creek, near Lake Mitchell, has been turning up White-browed Robin despite the area being extensively burnt recently. White-gaped Honeyeater have been seen at McLeod River north of Mt. Carbine as well as Banded Honeyeater who have been seen from here back south to Mount Molloy. Lloyd Nielsen reported White-throated Nightjar nesting in the Rifle Creek Reserve in Mount Molloy, this would be a rare sighting. Mt. Lewis has been good as usual with all the 13 “Wet Tropic” endemics seen including Golden Bowerbird (only brown female/immatures), Tooth-billed Bowerbird, Atherton Scrubwren, Chowchilla (proving difficult for some people) and Fernwren. No sign of Blue-faced Parrot-Finch up at the 10km clearing yet, they must be down at lower altitudes on the mountain. 

Late News:- A Grey Wagtail was reported from Lake Evan (Brady Road Swamp) 4km north of Mareeba by Doug Herrington from Birdwatching Tropical Australia on 16th November, must try and check it out. 

Daintree River Trip:-
Was lucky enough to find a spare morning to travel down to the Daintree River and go on a morning trip with Ian “Sauce” Worcester and a couple of our guests. Sauce operates Daintree River Wildwatch and goes out on the river for early morning and sunset river trips looking at the birds and other wildlife on the river. The morning was a bit cloudy with short intermittent showers which did not dampen anyone’s enthusiasm over the 2 hours we were on the river. The list of the 47 bird species we saw can be viewed here on the Eremaea Birds website. Highlights were Cotton Pygmy-goose, Great Cormorant, Great-billed Heron (juvenile) and Latham's Snipe, also a Salt Water Crocodile showed its head alongside the boat when it yawned showing its formidable set of teeth. Below is a selection of birds seen. 

Wompoo Fruit-Dove - on nest

Papuan Frogmouth - male, who incubate during the day

Great-billed Heron

Little Pied Cormorant

Great Cormorant

Great Egret (Note gape extending beyond eye, ID feature)

White-faced Heron

Latham's Snipe

Reptiles and Mammals:-

24 reptile and mammals were seen and two heard over the last two weeks. Fawn-footed Melomys and Yellow-footed Antichinus were seen. Two Red-legged Pademelon with a joey were seen in the orchard whilst on a night walk and later in the week the female was seen in the rainforest with the joey looking out of her pouch, great to see they are breeding successfully. A Large Agile Wallaby (male) has also been hanging around in the orchard at night. Both Bush Rat and Giant White-tailed Rat have been seen on night walks as well as raiding the reception area feeder. Striped Possum have been hard to find but there was a couple of sighting over the two weeks. An Echidna was seen on several occasions near Bushy Creek, once when it walked past guests at the Platypus viewing area and stopped for all to get great views.

Short-beaked Echidna

Frogs have been hiding despite a few rain showers but a few individuals have ventured out, Jungguy, White-lipped Tree Frog and Dainty Green Tree Frog have been the ones seen. A Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko was seen one night but not again but Boyd's Forest Dragon have been co-operating and showing regularly. A 2m Scrub Python was seen one night along the road to the reception area and a Green Tree Snake was in the camping area one day. 

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