The first week was dry apart from 5mm of rain which fell over two days, the second week was dry and sunny. Temperatures ranged from a cold low of 9ºC up to 22ºC, very pleasant and great birding weather.
Last Two Weeks Bird Sightings:-
The first week has 95 sightings and the second week 104.
McDougall Road lagoons produced a few waterbirds; Wandering Whistling-Duck, Pacific Black Duck, Grey Teal, Hardhead, Australasian Grebe, Little Black and Little-Pied Cormorant plus Intermediate and Great Egret plus Royal Spoonbill. Waterbirds flying over included White-necked and White-faced Heron along with Australian Pelican. One of the best sightings for the week was a Great-billed Heron along Bushy Creek at the Platypus viewing area seen mid-morning whilst a group was on a morning walk. There are some Great-billed Heron nesting along Rifle Creek which is where Bushy Creek flows into. We usually get a few sightings from this time of year through to October/November. Two immature Black-shouldered Kite were in the area and must have nested nearby. A Wedge-tailed Eagle was seen both weeks and must have been drawn in by the large number of road kills we are experiencing at the moment. Our two regular White-bellied Sea-Eagles have been getting excited and are calling a lot and flying around as well as being seen perched together in a dead tree. A Red-necked Crake was heard once but again not seen unlike a Buff-banded Rail which was seen near the Mt. Kooyong Nursing Home.
The only sighting of Topknot Pigeon was made by our neighbouring bird guide Carol Iles when she saw ten flying over Mt. Kooyong Road and the Lodge. There has been a shortage of this species so far this year. Fan-tailed Cuckoo was around for the first week calling but not heard or seen during the second week. Nightbirds seen have been two Barn Owl who have at least two young in a nest, two Barking Owl who were being chased off by a Spangled Drongo one evening and three Papuan Frogmouth plus a Lesser Sooty Owl called about one o'clock but has not been seen. Little Kingfisher was another highlight over the two weeks when it made at least two visits to the Crake Pool on the edge of the orchard. Since we have managed to get into the orchard to mow the grass, now that it has dried out, a Noisy Pitta has said thank you very much! It has been out everyday hopping around the orchard foraging for everyone to see and photograph. One morning we stood in the orchard and watched the pitta foraging with a Grey-headed Robin on the ground whilst a Spotted Catbird and adult female Victoria's Riflebird were foraging on the fruit of a Spondias. How good was that?
Fourteen species of honeyeater were seen with three Black-chinned Honeyeater (Golden-backed form) seen on the 8th during a morning walk being the highlight. Macleay's Honeyeater have not been coming to the feeder so often since a South American Sapote tree in our orchard has started to flower and attract them.
Large-billed Scrubwren have been involved in a few feeding party's in the rainforest which have also included Little (Rufous) Shrike-thrush, Grey Whistler, Rufous Fantail and Spectacled Monarch.
At least two Bower's Shrike-thrush were foraging high in the rainforest on the edge of the orchard one morning. This one is a female, note bi-colour bill as mentioned in our blog of a few weeks ago. Not a particularly good image but the bird would not come down, however it does show the bill.
Their are still a few Spangled Drongo around, one who we think always comes back to our feeder each year, hard to be sure as they all look the same!
Lemon-bellied Flycatcher are still around Geraghty Park adjacent to the Lodge with at least four seen and heard. A surprise whilst on a morning walk was to see two Chestnut-breasted Mannikin perched on the rail around the Geraghty Park oval with five Rainbow Bee-eater.
Blue-faced Parrot-finch have been seen irregularly near Abattoir Swamp with only one or two birds. Black-throated Finch have been further north along the Kondaparinga Road towards Hurricane Station. Mt. Lewis has been running hot and cold but is still turning up most of the Wet Tropic endemics including Tooth-billed Bowerbird, female Golden Bowerbird, Fernwren, Atherton Scrubwren, Mountain Thornbill, Bridled Honeyeater, Chowchilla, Bower's Shrike-thrush, Victoria;s Riflebird and Grey-headed Robin. Lower down the mountain Pied Monarch and Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo were seen. A Green-eyed Frog Litoria serrata was also seen by one of our guests, this is one species we don't get on the Lodge grounds.
Reptiles and Mammals:-
Fawn-footed Melomy's, Yellow-footed Antichinus and Bush Rat have been around the Lodge and at the feeder near reception along with two Northern Brown Bandicoot. Two Agile Wallaby were in the orchard one night in place of the Red-legged Pdemelon which had retreated to the rainforest. A Giant White-tailed Rat was seen on a night walk climbing up and down some vines beside Bushy Creek. A few more Northern Brown Bandicoot are being seen with at least four whilst we were on a nightwalk. A Striped Possum was feeding in the orchard along with a second one on the edge of the orchard chewing into a dead tree. The second photo (a male!) shows the elongated 4th finger they use to extract wood boring grubs out of dead wood after they have chewed a hole with their lower incisors; the only other animal species is known to find food like this is the Aye-aye from Madagascar.
|Striped Possum - showing elongated 4th finger|
Frogs have retreated with the dry cooler weather with only Jungguy Frog, White-lipped Tree Frog, Desert (Red/Naked) Tree Frog, Dainty Green Tree Frog and Cane Toad. Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko have been found on our nightwalks in several places and our neighbours Carol and Andrew Iles had a large Carpet Python at their place which was one of the few snakes we have seen in a while.
This Australian House Centipede Allothereua maculata was found on the rainforest floor and although they are supposed to be common this is the first we have seen in the Lodge grounds. They have 15 pairs of legs and run extremely quickly, this one was put into a container to get a photo before being released.
|Australian House Centipede|
Thanks to our guests for reporting sightings and to Carol and Andrew Iles our roving bird guides.
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