One day we had 6.5mm in a short shower, this was the total rain fall for the last two weeks. With the humidity dipping down to 34% and lots of sunshine and temperatures reaching 32ºc which is unheard of for this time of year, the rain did little to settle the dust.
Last Two Weeks Bird Sightings:-
These can be found on the Eremaea eBird site. 5th- 11th October and 12th- 18th October The first week had 104 species recorded and the second week 110.
Morning and Evening Guided Walks:-
Morning bird walks produced between 54 and 66 species which was very good for 2½hrs. Highlights were two male Superb Fruit-Dove in a tree beside Bushy Creek, male Common Koel, male and female Double-eyed Fig-Parrot feeding in Cluster Fig and nesting nearby.
|Double-eyed Fig-Parrot - female at nest|
A Noisy Pitta was seen most mornings and two Great Bowerbird were attending a very well constructed bower.
|Great Bowerbird Bower|
White-throated Honeyeater were building a nest and mating plus a Lemon-bellied Flycatcher was sitting on its tiny nest, the smallest of any bird in Australia. This one is about 10m off the ground.
|Lemon-bellied Flycatcher - on nest|
(The full morning walk 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 http://ebird.org/ebird/hotspots).
One highlight on a night walk was the eclipse of the moon, we watched it as we went spotlighting and ended up in Geraghty Park to have great views of the event as we listened to two Australian Owlet-nightjar calling to each other.
|Eclipse Of The Moon|
Other good sightings were a very brief glimpse of a Lesser Sooty Owl as it flew over and away from us, Giant White Tree Rat, Green Ringtail Possum, Water Rat and three Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko on one night.
Other Birding Highlights:-
One Female Black-necked Stork in a lagoon behind Geraghty Park as well as two Latham's Snipe along the edge, both species not seen for many months. One Australian Pelican flew over the Lodge on the 17th October, probably heading for one of the lagoons along McDougall Road. A Grey Goshawk was seen to fly into a tree, adjacent to the Lodge orchard, carrying an Eastern Water Dragon and luckily the camera was at hand to whiz off a couple of shots before it moved off clutching its meal.
|Grey Goshawk with Eastern Water Dragon|
Pacific Baza have been around but not regularly and a pair of Brown Goshawk were circling over the Lodge one morning. Red-necked Crake was seen briefly late one afternoon as it was getting dark at the Crake Pool, it was also heard on several occasions. Pigeons and doves have been around to take advantage of fruiting trees and vines; those seen were Brown Cuckoo-Dove, Wompoo Fruit-Dove, Superb Fruit-Dove, Torresian Imperial Pigeon and Topknot Pigeon plus the regular Emerald Dove, Bar-shouldered Dove and Peaceful Dove. Lesser Sooty Owl was seen about 4.00am perched in a tree near our bunkhouse and heard on numerous other occasions. Barking Owl have been vocal with one roosting high up in a eucalypt tree near the bunkhouse one afternoon. A pair of Papuan Frogmouth have made a nest in a fern on a tree branch at a nearby private property, they laid on the 10th October and usually take about 40 days to incubate.
|Papuan Frogmouth - female on nest|
Dollarbird returned on 16th October along with Brush Cuckoo. Also on this day the Cicadabird started calling. Lovely Fairy-Wren were seen by our neighbours Carol and Andrew Iles (our local bird guides) in their garden, they also saw a Red-necked Crake run under their veranda. Spotted Catbird have been coming to the feeder to gather fruit and head off with it so they maybe feeding young. 13 species of honeyeater were seen and Black-chinned heard. The Eastern Whipbird mentioned in the last blog is still hanging around the area calling whilst it visits all the adjoining rainforest habitats as well as the Lodge grounds. Barred Cuckoo-shrike have been visiting the fruiting trees in and around the Lodge, mainly Blue Quandong. Groups of Spangled Drongo have been passing through the area on their southern migration with up to 50+ seen at a time. Black-faced Monarch are around in increasing numbers and calling and a single female Leaden Flycatcher was heard and seen, the first for seven weeks. A few Pale-Yellow Robin have been seen feeding fledged young whilst others are still sitting on nests. A Bassian Thrush was still around the grounds in the first week but was not sighted in the second.
Mt. Lewis is still producing all the 12 “Wet Tropic” endemics but not all at once! One Blue-faced Parrot-Finch was seen near Abattoir Swamp but no reports of them up on Mt. Lewis yet. Maryfarms between Mt. Molloy and Mt. Carbine has displaying Australian Bustard, still at least eight Australian Pratincole and Carol Iles saw an injured Oriental Plover with the pratincole. Photo courtesy of Carol Iles.
|Oriental Plover- broken wing|
Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo were seen around the Mowbray National Park in Julatten on several occasions. Abattoir Swamp has been good for honeyeaters and White-browed Crake. Up to 12 Spotted Whistling-Duck have been reported at Keatings Lagoon near Cooktown, 2 hours north from the Lodge.
Reptiles and Mammals:-
The Water Rat seen in Bushy Creek whilst on a night walk was the most exciting mammal over the two weeks followed by the elusive Green Ringtail Possum seen once. Three Giant White-tail Rat were seen one night; they have not been seen much lately so must have woken up. Platypus have been very cooperative appearing in the morning and late afternoon with up to two. Boyd's Forest Dragon and Major Skink have also been appearing with the warmer weather. Several snakes have also woken up with sightings of Australian Scrub Python, Slaty Grey and Green Tree Snake – one in our downstairs toilet was a surprise. Just having a look around in the first photo before it retreated back inside. It eventually left by the window with a bit of encouragement and headed for the rainforest.
|Green Tree Snake|
|Green Tree Snake|