Sunday, 24 August 2014

24th August 2014 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

Weather Report
The first week had 32.5mm of rain which fell over six days, the second week had no rain just sunshine. Temperatures ranged from a cool low of 13.2ºC up to 23.8ºC which is about average for this time of year.

Last Two Weeks Bird Sightings:-
These can be found on the Eremaea eBird site. 10th - 16th August and 17th - 23th August The first week we had 106 sightings and the second week 112, pretty good numbers!

Morning and Evening Guided Walks:-
Morning walks (2½ hours) produced between 43-55 species, the lower count was due to rain disrupting the walk. The species lists can be found on the Eremaea eBird site. Click on Explore Data then Hotspots and type in Kingfisher Park – you will then see the Lodge in the drop down menu. Click this on and a map will appear with two markers, click these and you can have access to all our records. It sounds long winded but it is really easy. Alternatively you can click this link which will take you directly to Hotspots
Again we saw up to 11 Barn Owl on night walks and one Barking Owl. Mammal sightings were good with two Tree Mouse (Prehensile-tailed Rat) on one night, Fawn-footed Melomys, Eastern Horseshoe Bat and Northern Blossom Bat, two Striped Possum and both Long-nosed and Northern Brown Bandicoot. Frogs seen were Jungguy Frog, White-lipped Tree Frog, Red Tree Frog, Roth's (Laughing)Tree Frog, Dainty Green Tree Frog, Cogger's Frog and Cane Toad. Several Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko were also found.

Other Birding Highlights:-

Both Green and Cotton Pygmy-goose have been along McDougall Road as well as up to three Australian Pelican and White-necked Heron. Pacific Black Duck have been along McDougall including these two who were loafing, thought we would put in an image of these birds as some of the more common birds tend to get overlooked.


Pacific Black Duck

At least 32 Straw-necked Ibis were foraging in a cut cane paddock adjacent to the Lodge; straw-necks are not as common as Australian White Ibis around Julatten. Black-shouldered Kite have been regulars with one adult and two juveniles seen. A Pacific Baza was seen one day at the front entrance to the Lodge but not seen since. Also flying over the Lodge were a pair of Grey Goshawk being chased by a pack of Blue-faced Honeyeater. Another blue-face was seen chasing a Whistling Kite over Geraghty Park, this time it was hanging onto the tail of the kite! Other raptors seen were Wedge-tailed Eagle, White-bellied Sea-Eagle and over 50 Black Kite foraging in and around cut cane paddocks including this immature bird. 


Black Kite - juvenile

Red-necked Crake have started to call so we know they are around but only one sighting over the last two weeks. Wompoo Fruit-Dove have also been calling and being seen as a few more trees start fruit. Topknot Pigeon are still flying over in small flocks and very occasionally dropping into the Lodge grounds. An Australian Owlet-nightjar has been heard calling around the Lodge grounds and also in the vicinity of a previous daytime roost site but has not been seen. The two Papuan Frogmouth continue to roost in the Lodge grounds with four more seen roosting nearby. This is the male with the female hidden by the leaves in one of the Lodge mango trees about 6-7m up which is higher than they normally roost which is more like 4-5m.

Papuan Frogmouth

Two Azure Kingfisher have been seen along Bushy Creek flying along and perching near the Platypus viewing area, which has a nice new seat after the previous one was washed away in the flood caused by Cyclone Ita in March. Both Nankeen Kestrel and Australian Hobby have been seen around the Lodge. Scaly-breasted Lorikeet numbers have dropped off as the Queensland Blue Gum are finishing flowering but at least one pair are nesting in these trees and Double-eyed Fig-Parrot have been seen flying over since they, and the Australasian Figbird, have finished off the fruiting figs. Barn Owl have juveniles who have been sitting up in their nests dozing during the day like these ones were. 

Barn Owl - juvenile

Barn Owl - juvenile

Noisy Pitta have started to call and have been seen around the Lodge grounds, we still think we only have one bird present. There has been a couple of sightings of Lovely Fairy-wren in the grounds, one along Bushy Creek and another at the Crake Pool. Fourteen species of honeyeater were seen and one heard, which was only four less than the total recorded at the Lodge. Again Pied Monarch and Yellow-breasted Boatbill have both been calling well and being seen. Barred Cuckoo-shrike have made a few appearances but have not been regular. Golden, Grey and Rufous Whistler have all been seen in and around the Lodge as have Northern, Rufous and Grey Fantail. Only a couple of sightings of Leaden Flycatcher over the two weeks but Lemon-bellied Flycatcher have been around with up to six seen at a time. Victoria's Riflebird were seen in the first week but not in the second so they might have left. A Tawny Grassbird was briefly seen in an adjacent cane paddock where it was calling. Metallic Starling returned on the 10th August from Papua New Guinea with numbers continuing to increase along with the nesting activity at their colony in Geraghty Park.
Further Afield:-

Blue-faced Parrot-Finch are being seen infrequently near Abattoir Swamp with only a couple of birds seen. Australian Bustard are displaying at Maryfarms between Mt. Molloy and Mt. Carbine and a single Australian Pratincole is still present at this location after about 3 weeks. Mt. Lewis is as good as ever with bird guide Doug Herrington from Birdwatching Tropical Australia reporting five male Golden Bowerbird seen in one visit! All other “Wet Tropic” endemics were found here in the last two weeks, even more reason to stay at Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge! Our roving bird guides Carol and Andrew Iles reported Tawny Grassbird, White-eared Monarch, Shining Flycatcher and Red-winged Parrot from Julatten as well as an Australian Hobby whizzing down Mt. Molloy main street. Freckled Duck are still at Hasties Swamp near Atherton and have been almost continuously for the past two years, they were joined by an estimated 2000 Magpie Goose this week.


Identification of odd Looking Lewin's Honeyeater:-

The first two images of a meliphagous honeyeater were photographed at Malanda on the Atherton Tableland at about 900m, the third more typical Lewin's  was photographed at the Lodge, they are all ssp. mab, which occurs in Far North Queensland.

After some discussion with a few local and interstate experts it was agreed that this bird is an odd looking Lewin's, it certainly had the Lewin's call. It has an odd shaped ear patch, which is a lot smaller than a normal Lewin's of the ssp mab. The ear patch looks more like a Graceful. The lower mandible is slightly curved like a Graceful and not straight like Lewin's  the length of the bill looks slightly longer in these comparison images than Lewin's. The underparts don't have as much streaking as Lewin's and the face is less grey than a Lewin's. It is possible this could be a Lewin's/Graceful hybrid as there altitudinal range does overlap (Graceful usually occur below 600m). Note:- Lewin's Honeyeater ssp. mab does not have the distinct crescent shape to the ear patch of southern birds but a slightly less shaped crescent as shown in the 3rd image.Thanks to the experts for their comments. 


Lewin's Honeyeater ssp. mab

Lewin's Honeyeater ssp. mab

Lewin's Honeyeater ssp. mab - typical

Reptiles and Mammals

In addition to the mammals and reptiles mention on night walks we had other interesting sightings including Red-legged Pademelon, Agile Wallaby, Platypus with two regularly showing, Water Rat, Green Tree Snake and Australian Scrub Python. Over the two week we had 17 mammal species and 12 amphibian/reptiles.

This interesting beetle turned up at the reception area feeder one evening, it is a Carion Beetle Diamesus osculans. In Australia there are only three species in two genera mainly found in forested areas within 300km of coastal areas in eastern and northern Australia. This species is also found in Papua New Guinea and in Asia. (info. From “A Guide to the Beetles of Australia” George Hangay and Paul Zborowski). This is the first one we have seen in the Lodge grounds.
Carion Beetle

Thanks to our bird guide neighbours Carol and Andrew Iles for helping to compile the weekly bird lists, don't forget to contact them if you need any bird guiding.

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