Monday, 6 January 2014

Big (Part) New Years Day

Traditionally we have tried to do a big day on New Years Day but last year and this year, (2014) due to commitments at the Lodge, we restricted our observation area to the 1.5km radius of our Lodge birdlist. Last year we managed to see 101 species out of the 225 species on the list.

So what happened this year? It started off with a Channel-billed Cuckoo flying over at about 3am, squawking as it went. Back to sleep to be awoken by the morning chorus, which added 18 birds, whilst still in bed. After this we leapt out of bed to find the first bird seen for the year. I had a Spectacled Monarch and Lindsay had a Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher, nice. 

Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher

A walk around the Lodge produced most of the resident birds including Spotted Catbird, Grey Whistler, Pied Monarch and a Yellow-breasted Boatbill which was only heard. The adjacent Geraghty Park had a pair of Blue-winged Kookaburra, nesting Dollarbird, White-throated Honeyeater, Rufous Whistler, Olive-backed Oriole and Welcome Swallow amongst others. This bought the total up to 64, 50 seen and 14 heard. After breakfast it was time to jump into the car and check out McDougall Road lagoons which had a flock of Magpie Goose a pair of Green Pygmy-goose, a few Pacific Black Duck, Royal Spoonbill and an Australasian Grebe. Along the road where a few more birds including Red-backed Fairy-wren, Golden-headed Cisticola and Chestnut-breasted Mannikin. By now it was mid-day and warming up to 33ÂșC, which was too hot for birding and too hot for the birds who were seeking shelter in the trees. So a mid-day break for lunch was in order with 78 species ticked off, 62 seen and 16 heard.

After a long break and a fall in the temperatures, Lindsay joined in for the first time and we headed to check out the ponds at the local Barramundi Farm, new birds here were one Hardhead, Great and Intermediate Egret and a Whistling Kite. Since last year the owners have netted the ponds, which makes it less attractive to birds. A shame for birdwatchers, but better for fish production!

Whistling Kite

Back at the McDougall Road lagoons the Magpie Goose had all gone and no new waterbirds were seen. A Black-shouldered Kite was sitting on the top of a tall pine tree with a few Sulphur-crested Cockatoo below munching on the pine seeds. The area around the Julatten School picked up Great Bowerbird, White-cheeked Honeyeater and Lemon-bellied Flycatcher before we headed back to the Lodge in the late afternoon.

Lemon-bellied Flycatcher

A quick walk around the Lodge grounds found an adult Noisy Pitta foraging in the orchard before a noise in the rainforest turned up a recently fledged juvenile Noisy Pitta, good to know they had breed successfully. Then the most unexpected bird for the day was flushed from beside the Crake Pool, a Nankeen Night-Heron, which flew a short distance and perched in a rainforest tree. It was now almost dark so it was time to check out the night birds. We found a Barn Owl and heard an Australian Owlet-nightjar, which did not want to be found. The final bird for the day was a calling Papuan Frogmouth. 

Barn Owl

This bought the tally up to 94, 77 seen and 17 heard, not quite as good as last year but considering the hot weather, mainly one observer instead of two and a shorter observation time of about six hours it was still a respectable count. Three reptiles were also seen, Boyd's Forest Dragon, Eastern Water Dragon and Major Skink.
A full list of all species seen can be found on Eremaea Birds at this link.

No comments: