Mixed weather over the last two weeks, we have have some fantastic sunny days with temperatures only getting up to 24ºC. The first week was dry, but the second week some rain fell with 18mm on six rainy days, just enough to be annoying.
A pair of Cotton Pygmy-goose have been coming and going from one of the lagoons along McDougall Road, not a common species in our area. Bar-shouldered Dove have been displaying and calling, always nice to see this attractive dove even though it is very common.
A small flock of 8 Topknot Pigeon flew over the Lodge whilst we were on a morning walk; this is the first sighting for 13 weeks. A lone female Papuan Frogmouth showed up in the orchard for a day which was something for the Pale-yellow Robin to harass for most of the day, presumably the same bird was seen perching in front of the accommodation units on 17th May. This bird was not one of the family of three which are still in the area and seen roosting away from the Lodge. A Great Cormorant turned up along McDougall Road, another uncommon bird in the area. A Black-breasted Buzzard was along Euluma Creek Road near the Julatten School and a Square-tailed Kite was seen to fly over the Lodge. White-bellied Sea-Eagle have been displaying and calling a lot and maybe going to nest nearby. Great to see a Spotted Harrier over a cane paddock whilst we were on a morning walk late in the second week as this is an uncommon visitor. A single Purple Swamphen was along McDougall Road, another uncommon visitor. Red-necked Crake have been seen both weeks, on one occasion an adult was seen with an immature, good to know at least one of the three chicks is surviving. A pair of Scaly-breasted Lorikeet appeared at the feeder one afternoon much to our surprise as we have only seen them here once in nine years.
Double-eyed Fig-Parrot have been taking advantage of a couple of fruiting fig trees, up to four have been regularly seen. On the same morning walk when the Spotted Harrier was seen a single male Australian King-Parrot flew across the Lodge grounds calling, this was a first sighting for the year at the Lodge. Barking Owl are still around and calling close to the reception area, one was seen perched in a Queensland Blue Gum near the entrance to the Lodge. Lesser Sooty Owl was seen in the Lodge grounds by Klaus Uhlenhut from Kirrama WildlifeTours and his guests late in the second week. Barn Owl, who are probably thinking of nesting by now, have been calling and seen. Azure Kingfisher have been along Bushy Creek and both Laughing and Blue-winged Kookaburra have been regularly seen. Noisy Pitta are around the Lodge grounds, but more often heard rather than seen; there was one sighting of two birds. Two Spotted Catbird have started to come to the feeder in the mornings to eat banana, better than eating baby birds! The same 12 species of honeyeater have been seen over the two weeks, these included Bridled and Scarlet Honeyeater who are not regulars. Barred Cuckoo-shrike have been lured back by the same fig trees that the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot have been in and have been joined by a couple of White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike. Of course there have also been 100's of Australasian Figbird fighting over the figs as well.
A single male Golden Whistler was seen on the 6th May, this was the first for two years as none came down off the mountains last year to visit the Lodge. Grey and Rufous Whistler have also been seen and are very vocal. A Yellow Oriole has been seen and heard over the past two weeks, they are not resident and presumably come up from the coast where they are very common. A Pied Currawong flew over the Lodge one morning and was seen by Carol Iles, bird guide. Rufous and Grey Fantail numbers continue to increase as southern migrants arrive. Pied Monarch and Yellow-breasted Boatbill have been calling and seen regularly, especially the boatbill. At least two female Victoria's Riflebird have been foraging in the Lodge grounds and coming to the bird baths in the afternoon. Silvereye have been around in small to large groups (50+), very busy birds as they move through the forest.
Immature Metallic Starling are still around, which is very late for them, our birds have usually gone north by now.
A flock of 8 Topknot Pigeon were seen flying over Euluma Creek Road, Julatten at the beginning of May. Also along Euluma Creek Road was Eastern Yellow Robin (uncommon) and a Buff-banded Rail which appear to be becoming scarce in our area. A Sacred Kingfisher was seen in Mount Molloy (uncommon) and Maryfarms north of Mount Molloy had some Black-faced Woodswallow and White-winged Triller. Mt. Lewis continues to be good for birds with Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo heard on the lower slopes along with one Blue-faced Parrot-Finch. Higher up the mountain a male Golden Bowerbird was seen in company with a brown immature/female bird. One of our herpetologist friends in Julatten, Grant, sent us this photo of a Large-tailed Nightjar perching in a tree along his driveway at the end of April. This record is interesting as there are very few records around here in April and this species is not often seen perching in trees. We have never seen one in a tree and local ornithologist Lloyd Nielsen said he had only seen it once although he had seen them on fence posts. They are normally ground dwellers.
Thanks to Carol and Andrew Iles our local bird guiding neighbours for contributing to the bird lists. Please email Carol if you need any local guiding.
Reptiles and Mammals:-
Fawn-footed Melomys have been visiting our neighbours, Carol and Andrew, whilst a Yellow-footed Antichinus was visiting us in our office. Red-legged Pademelon have established themselves in the Lodge grounds and can usually be seen early morning or at night foraging in the orchard area. One of our guests, Adrian, put out a camera overnight at the feeder to see what came in. Most action occurred in the early hours of the morning when Bush Rat and White-tailed Rat showed at the feeder. Northern Brown Bandicoot have started to re-appear and a juvenile Striped Possum was seen on a night walk. Several Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko have been seen around the rainforest and only one snake seen when our neighbours disturbed a Small-eyed Snake.
Boyd's Forest Dragon returned to the reception area after being away for about 10 days and got straight into the banana on the feeder. Frogs have been a bit scarce with the drier weather but we have seen Jungguy Frog, White-lipped Tree Frog, Dainty Green Tree Frog as well as these Desert (Red) Tree Frog who were trying to get into a hole in the amenities wall. This species is also known as Naked Frog for obvious reasons!
|Desert Tree Frog|
Also seen was this Roth's (Laughing) Tree Frog, which was found in the reception area covered in fluff and cleaned off before being released outside.
|Roth's Tree Frog|
Two of our guests Paul and David spent a few hours during the night chasing bats on Mt. Lewis, these are the ones they identified.
Eastern Long-eared Bat Nyctophilus bifax
Eastern Forest Bat Vespadelus pumilus
Little Bent-winged Bat Miniopterus australis
Eastern Horseshoe Bat Rhinolophus megaphyllus
Eastern Blossom Bat Syconicteris australis
Flute-nosed Bat Murina florium
Go Gunners! Sat up and watched Arsenal win the FA Cup - about time.