Sunday, 2 March 2014

2nd March 2014 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

Weather Report
Not quite as much rain over the last two weeks as the previous two weeks but still a healthy 249.5mm (10 inches). This was enough to flood the road from Mt. Molloy for a few days.

 Bushy Creek - about 600mm over the main road

The wet weather softened up the ground and a few trees fell down including this one along the path from the orchard to Bushy Creek, which took down three other trees. Quite a mess and a lot of clearing required to open the path again.

Path from Orchard to Bushy Creek

The overcast and rainy weather kept the temperatures down highs around 28ºC and down to 22ºC. The second week saw most of the rain clear away and sunny days re-appear to help dry out the soggy grounds.

Past Two Weeks Bird Sightings:-
The first week was quite wet and restricted birding with only 86 species heard and seen but the second week was much better with 102 seen and heard.The complete lists can be found on the Eremaea eBird site. 16th - 22nd February and 23rdFebruary - 1st March

Birding Highlights:-
The pair of Pacific Baza nesting on the edge of the Lodge grounds have successfully fledged two youngsters who have been around begging for food but have now left the Lodge after being harassed by a gang of Sulphur-crested Cockatoo. The family of Pale-vented Bush-hen previously reported still have five surviving juveniles who are growing rapidly, this image shows one about 22 days old.

Pale-vented Bush-hen - 22 days old

This image shows one of the adults.

Pale-vented Bush-hen - Adult

Waterbirds have been few and far between with all the rain providing plenty of alternative habitats, there was one White-faced Heron seen flying over the Lodge which was a first sighting for this year. Late in the second week a few more waterbirds showed up including two Black Bittern, Great, Intermediate and Little Egret, Spotless Crake, White-browed Crake, plus a single Comb-crested Jacana. All these sightings were along McDougall Road in and around the wetlands. Black-shouldered Kite also nested along McDougall Road. Other raptors around were White-bellied Sea-Eagle (2), Whistling and Black Kite, plus Brown Falcon. Red-tailed Black Cockatoo continue to fly over the Lodge every few days as do Double-eyed Fig-Parrot. Cuckoo's are calling well with Pheasant Coucal, Eastern Koel (male & female), Channel-billed Cuckoo, both Little and Gould's Bronze-Cuckoo plus Brush Cuckoo. Barn Owl are around and calling as was a Lesser Sooty Owl on one occasion. The adult Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher are still flying around and perching for photos. The juveniles are becoming more obvious and are coming down to lower levels from high in the canopy. Three juveniles were seen in the same area together but it was not known if they were all from the same nest. Other juveniles seen have mainly been on their own apart from two perched on the clothes line! This Juvenile Forest Kingfisher took advantage of an old chair in Geraghty Park for where it pounced onto the ground for worms. 

Forest Kingfisher - juvenile

Dollarbird are still around with adults and juveniles seen. Noisy Pitta have been difficult to see as they are keeping to the rainforest and quite often high in the trees. A pair of Great Bowerbird were in a neighbours garden one morning polishing off some palm tree fruits. Thirteen species of honeyeater over the two weeks with Scarlet Honeyeater returning after being away for at least two months. Black Butcherbird have two well grown brown juveniles hunting around the grounds, Australasian Figbird are feeding young as are Leaden Flycatcher. A female Victoria's Riflebird has been coming to our neighbours feeder and was seen in the Lodge grounds on the edge of the orchard. Red-browed Finch are constantly building nests for  most of the year but we have never seen one like this, a hanging one. Normally they are supported by tree branches and quite well hidden in the foliage.

Red-browed Finch Nest

Further Afield:-
An estimated 300 Black Kite were circling over the Mulligan Highway north of Mareeba on the 26th February, which is very unusual to have such a high number at this time of year. A Spotted Harrier was along Wetherby Road, Julatten as was a Black Bittern and a Horsfield's Bushlark. Mt. Lewis is still performing with most of the endemic species seen apart from Golden Bowerbird and Lesser Sooty Owl. Blue-faced Parrot-Finch are still up on the mountain but two were lower down at the end of McDougall Road late in the second week. The road has been closed on several occasions by falling trees but the local Mareeba Shire Council have been quick in responding to our reports and have cleared the road, thanks to them. Carol Iles our out and about bird guide reported a Grey Shrike-thrush at Abattoir Swamp, which is not common. They are regularly at nearby Wessel Road but don't come across to the swamp very often. Lloyd Nielsen reported a Shining Flycatcher on a nest along Bushy Creek between Julatten and Mt. Molloy which is one of a very few recorded in this area. A Torresian Crow was flying eastward towards the coast, over the Great Diving Range in Julatten late one afternoon, unusual as not many have been seen this year.
Reptiles and Mammals:-
24 reptiles and mammals were seen over the past two weeks. A yellow-footed Antichinus was hiding under one of our chair covers along the veranda one morning, luckily nobody sat on it! Red-legged Pademelon have been out the front of our units as well as in the orchard area rainforest. Striped Possum have been seen a few times but no sign of any Green Ringtail Possum. Platypus was seen, when Bushy Creek was in flood, swimming along the rock wall by the viewing area. Seven species of frog were seen and Roth's (Laughing) Tree Frog heard. An Australian Scrub Python was on our neighbours veranda one night and this Brown Tree Snake decided to curl up in the peg basket in the camp laundry. It was removed and put outside where it climbed a tree which was much more like its natural habitat! 
Brown Tree Snake

A few moths have been around including this unusual one which we have never seen here before.

Moth sp.

Butterflies have also been around, this Blue-Triangle found something of interest on the yard broom.

 Blue Triangle Butterfly

The wet weather has also triggered off lots of different species of fungi like this one growing at the foot of a Queensland Blue Gum (Forest Red Gum) Eucalyptus tereticornis.

Fungi sp.
Could be Panellus ligulatus ?

We will be having a break from the blog until the end of March, we might be posting a few snippets so keep looking!

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