Sunday, 7 September 2014

7th September 2014 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

Weather Report
What can we say about the weather? Well we have had no rain over the last two weeks, just wall to wall sunshine, cool temperatures down to 10.5ºC (stop laughing you southern Australian people) and up to 23.6ºC, perfect conditions. Temperatures have been about 6ºC below the average for this time of year.

Last Two Weeks Bird Sightings:-
These can be found on the Eremaea eBird site. 24th August - 30th August and 30th August - 6th September The first weeks sightings had 99 seen and 4 heard, the second week 99 seen and 5 heard.

Morning and Evening Guided Walks:-

Morning walks had between 44 and 59 species. Some of the birds seen included Pacific Baza who was flying over Geraghty Park displaying and calling,


Pacific Baza


plus we had Buff-banded Rail, Peaceful Dove building a nest, Wompoo Fruit-Dove, Topknot Pigeon, Papuan Frogmouth, Double-eyed Fig-Parrot digging a nest, Blue-winged Kookaburra, Yellow-breasted Boatbill, Barred Cuckoo-shrike, Pied Monarch, Victoria's Riflebird and Metallic Starling also nest building. The full 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

Night walks were productive despite it being quite cool and dry which restricted the number of frogs and reptiles which were out. Despite this we managed to see Leaf-tailed Gecko, Jungguy Frog, White-lipped Tree Frog, Red Tree Frog (Desert Tree Frog) and Dainty Green Tree Frog. Mammals seen were Striped Possum, Long-nosed and Northern Brown Bandicoot, Fawn-footed Melomys and Bush Rat. Australian Owlet-nightjar were heard but not seen and a Papuan Frogmouth was seen in camp ground. A pair of Barking Owl were seen perched in a tree beside Bushy Creek calling softly. As we watched them, they mated and the male flew off.

Other Birding Highlights:-
With the change of season from winter to spring there is also a change in some bird species which are in our area. Grey Fantail have left to go back south, we had our first Torresian Imperial-Pigeon, Australian Koel and Channel-billed Cuckoo for the season arrive from the north.
Wetland birds were scarce with only one or two of most seen which included Magpie Goose, Green and Cotton Pygmy-goose, Pacific Black Duck, Hardhead, Grey Teal, Australasian Grebe, Little Pied Cormorant, Australasian Darter, Australian Pelican, White-necked and White-faced Heron plus Intermediate, Great and Cattle Egret.
Plenty of raptors were around to scavenge off the cut cane paddocks, mainly Black Kite which were around in groups of up to about 100, here are some which were hanging around in the trees.

Black Kite

Black Kite

Also here were a few Whistling Kite, a White-bellied Sea-Eagle shown here perched in a Blue Quandong tree

White-bellied Sea-Eagle

and Australian Hobby (not a great image as it is a severe crop,but it gives an idea of what the bird looks like).

Australian Hobby
Red-necked Crake were again heard but not seen as was a Spotless Crake along McDougall Road.
Some very young Emerald Dove have appeared and a pair of Wompoo Fruit-Dove have come to investigate a few fruit trees which have just started to have ripe fruit on them. The nesting pairs of Barn Owl have now chased off their offspring from the area and we have only been seeing a few adults. Barking Owl have also quietened down but were seen roosting during the day. Azure Kingfisher have been along Bushy Creek and there has been a few sightings of Little Kingfisher in the Crake Pool on the edge of our orchard.
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo have been seen sitting in their nest hollow in a big Queensland Blue Gum tree and a few Scaly-breasted Lorikeet are still around feeding on the few remaining flowering gum trees. Noisy Pitta has started to call and has been seen in the orchard area, mainly early morning. Spotted Catbird are still coming to the reception area feeder to grab mouthfuls of banana. Red-backed Fairy-wren have been seen perched on the fences along McDougall Road. Twelve species of honeyeater were seen and one, Black-chinned heard. A few Lewin's Honeyeater are still around but the majority of them seem to have left for the higher altitudes of the mountains behind the Lodge. Macleay's Honeyeater is an ever present “Wet Tropic” endemic around the Lodge who have been taking advantage of the flowering grevilleas.

Macleay's Honeyeater

The one male Golden Whistler, that has been with us for a few months, is still around the Lodge grounds and has been joined by a pair of Rufous Whistler who have been present on the edge of the Lodge grounds in the tall Queensland Blue Gum trees. They don't normally hang around for weeks, mainly confining themselves to the nearby Geraghty Park. Northern Fantail have moved back into the Lodge grounds in the last week to take the place of the departing Grey Fantail. A pair of Torresian Crow have also been flying over and calling after being absent for a few months, getting ready to play host to Channel-billed Cuckoo no doubt. Lemon-bellied Flycatcher have joined the Rainbow Bee-eater (who was being blown around in the wind) to perch and forage from the Geraghty Park oval fence.

Lemon-bellied Flycatcher

Rainbow Bee-eater (female - short tail streamer)      

Golden-headed Cisticola have been calling from the remaining uncut cane but are in fewer numbers than previous years. This one was hanging on a seed stalk on the cane singing

Golden-headed Cisticola 

Further Afield:-
Blue-faced Parrot-Finch are still being seen infrequently near Abattoir Swamp with up to five birds seen. Abattoir Swamp itself has been good for honeyeaters and has had a Grey Shrike-thrush nesting on the edge of the car park.Rufous Owl is still being reported along the Cairns Esplanade.

Reptiles and Mammals:-
In addition to those seen on night walks we saw Red-legged Pademelon, Agile Wallaby, a few bats – Eastern Horseshoe Bat, Large-footed Myotis, Northern Broad-nosed and Little Bent-winged bat, Giant White-tailed Tree Rat, Green Ringtail Possum, Spectacled Flying-fox and Eastern Water Dragon. A few snakes were seen, Green Tree Snake, Brown Tree Snake and the highlight a pair of Australian Scrub Python mating on the edge of the orchard whilst stretched out on a log.

 Thanks to our roving bird guides Carol and Andrew Iles who helped compile the bird list and are available for any bird guiding in the area. Contact them directly or through the Lodge.

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