Saturday, 4 October 2014

5th October 2014 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

This weeks blog features some of the other wildlife we have in the Lodge grounds in addition to the birds. It highlights the amazing diversity to be found in even a small area such as our 5ha's if you are prepared to look closer.

Weather Report
After almost having a dry month a few showers arrived on the 29th giving us 9 mm of rain . Before this event we had more sun, temperatures slightly warmer than previous weeks, down to 15.5ºC and up to 28.0ºC, excellent birding weather. Humidity was 70%+.

Last Two Weeks Bird Sightings:-
These can be found on the Eremaea eBird site. 21st - 27th September and 28thSeptember - 4th October The first week had 108 species recorded and the second week 101.

Morning and Evening Guided Walks:-

Morning walks produced between 46 (photography morning) and 63 species, some of the highlights were:- Nankeen Night-Heron was seen foraging along Bushy Creek carrying a prey item. Grey Goshawk soaring above, Azure Kingfisher perched, Great Bowerbird at his bower, 


Great Bowerbird - at his bower


also Barred Cuckoo-shrike feasting on small figs, Bassian Thrush (uncommon) along Bushy Creek and a Platypus performing in Bushy Creek for great views on several occasions.


(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

Evening walk highlights were Barn Owl, Fawn-footed Melomys eating banana from a bunch growing near the units, Red-legged Pademelon, Giant White-tailed Tree Rat, Striped Possum, Platypus, five different frog species, Northern Leaf-tail Gecko – one on the ground and another on the side of a tree and Boyd's Forest Dragon. Also this interesting Centipede which is 150mm (6”) long was seen on the edge of the rainforest. Centipedes are mainly nocturnal and are predatory feeding on a range of prey items such as worms, reptiles, amphibians, small mammals, bats and birds. 
Centipede sp.


Other Birding Highlights:
Two Cotton Pygmy-goose have been intermittently showing along McDougall Road in one of the lagoons (within our 1.5km reporting area). An Osprey was a surprise flying over Mt. Kooyong Road one afternoon - not many records from adjacent to the Lodge. Pacific Baza have been around infrequently and were seen displaying over the Lodge one day when they locked feet and spiraled down to tree top level before breaking off. A Wedge-tailed Eagle was seen over the Lodge on at least two occasions, also around have been both Grey and Brown Goshawk, often pursued by Blue-faced Honeyeater. Red-necked Crake have been making more appearances at the Crake Pool with one or two birds arriving just before it gets dark around 6.15pm but not every night. This juvenile Emerald Dove has been coming to the reception area feeder for at least the last two months and has been chasing away the adult doves.

Emerald Dove - juvenile

Wompoo Fruit-dove are starting to come into fruiting Blue Quandong trees which are just getting ripe, up to three have been seen so far. Superb Fruit-dove was heard calling on the 29th September in the Lodge grounds but not seen, first one heard for 4-5 months. At least one male and one female Australian Koel have been around the Lodge and our neighbours garden. Lesser Sooty Owl was around for a few nights, first heard calling on 25th September, but not seen. A large Peregrine Falcon (as opposed to the smaller superficially similar looking Australian Hobby, which is fairly regular in our area) was seen twice when it flew over our neighbours garden early one morning before being seen over the Lodge grounds later the same morning. Not many records of Peregrine Falcon in our area. Our single Noisy Pitta is still around on it's own with no sign of our usual two adult pairs which normally return in September - November to breed. Plenty of honeyeaters around 12 seen and one heard. 

This shot is of a Graceful Honeyeater showing an unusually curved bill (they are normally slightly down-curved), slight diffuse yellow stripe on the belly and the blue/grey eye, some of the features to help separate it from Yellow-spotted Honeyeater which has straighter lower mandible and a brown eye. Very distinctive calls between graceful and yellow-spotted honeyeaters which visitors would be well advised to learn before they visit.

Graceful Honeyeater
An Eastern Whipbird was heard calling on the 26th September from a patch of rainforest between the Lodge and the Rex Highway. This species rarely comes into our immediate area and in nine years we have only had one or two birds in the Lodge grounds. Black-faced Monarch were heard calling for the first time this season on the 29th September.

Further Afield:-
A Spotless Crake was seen at Abattoir Swamp by Doug Herrington from Birdwatching Tropical Tours. Up to seven Australian Pratincole have been reported along West Maryfarm Road north of Mt. Molloy along with displaying Australian Bustard. Birds found nesting in and around Julatten include Graceful Honeyeater, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Fairy Gerygone, Pale-Yellow Robin, Metallic Starling and Mistletoebird. 

Graceful Honeyeater Nest

Mistletoebird Nest - female still building

Up to three Blue-faced Parrot-Finch have been found near Abattoir Swamp but they should start moving off and up into the mountains very soon. Mt. Lewis continues to show most of the 12 "Wet Tropic" endemics including Golden Bowerbird, but roadworks and some rain has made the road only suitable for four wheel drive vehicles at the moment. As this is being written (4th Oct.) there is still a grader working on the road with a water truck. Rufous Owl is still being reported from Cairns Esplanade.

Reptiles and Mammals:-
Yellow-footed Antichinus have been seen in various parts of the Lodge grounds during the day darting around on the ground. Agile Wallaby have joined the Red-legged Pademelon at night to browse in the orchard with at least three seen. Striped Possum is not visiting our South American Sapote tree any more as the flowers have nearly finished, but one was seen in a nearby tree which has just started to blossom, another was seen in a tree above the campground cookshed. The Platypus have been showing well both in the evening and early morning with up to two swimming up and down Bushy Creek at the viewing area. Up to six Northern Brown Bandicoot have been visiting the reception area feeder, good to see increased numbers over the last few weeks. Frogs got excited when we had a few millimeters of rain with up to six species seen – Jungguy Frog, White-lipped Green Tree Frog, Roth's (Laughing) Frog, Desert (Red) Tree Frog, Dainty Green Tree Frog and a large Cane Toad. Northern Leaf-tail Gecko have re-appeared as mention in the night walk report as have Major Skink who have been anticipating warmer weather. The Australian Scrub Python mentioned last blog left it's tree trunk home at the end of the second week and has not been relocated.

Thanks to Carol and Andrew Iles our roving bird guides for helping with the bird lists and area sightings. If you need any guiding in our local area contact us and we can put you in touch with them, contact through our secure bookings and enquiries web page.

A clicking sound was heard in the office one morning which was traced to a Click Beetle. It was relocated outside and continued clicking as it bounced into the air. This clicking and bouncing into the air is mainly used to avoid predation, but as this one was doing trying to right itself after in fell onto its back. The violent "click" that bounced the beetle into the air is caused by a spine which is snapped into a corresponding notch on the beetle. A further more explicit explanation of how this works can be found on the Wikipedia site
Click Beetle sp. - on its back

Click Beetle sp. - right side up

A Mango tree which is covered in flowers at the moment is attracting hoards of bees to the pollen. Not sure of the species of bee but have been told previously that we have Italian Honey Bees here. This species of bee was introduced into Brisbane in 1880.

Bee sp. (?)

Butterflies are not easy to photograph as they fold their wings when landing unlike moths which generally hold them open. We have a good variety of butterfly and moth in the Lodge grounds but many of them are confined to the canopy of the rainforest which also makes it difficult to photograph them let alone see them. However this Common Aeroplane (White-banded Plane) Phaedyma shepherdi was very co-operative. A full list of species recorded at the Lodge can be found on our website.

Common Aeroplane (White-banded Plane)

The Giant Silverback spider or Brush-footed trapdoor spider(Genus Idiommata, family Barychelidae) has featured in the blog before, at the beginning of 2014. It is only the second one we have found here, this one was smaller than the previous one, but still very impressive. They are not aggressive but can inflict a nasty bite so best to steer clear of them!

Giant Silverback spider
Giant Silverback spider

The Northern Pencil Orchid – Dockrillia calamiformis was formerly known as Dendrobium calamiforme and Dendrobium teretifolium var. fasciculatum is an epiphytic or lithophytic (A plant that grows on rock and derives its nourishment chiefly from the atmosphere), orchid which occurs in rainforest and humid open forest in Cape York and North eastern Queensland. In our area it is mainly seen hanging off the trunks or branches of trees, this one was on a Mango fruit tree. The flowers, which appear in August through to November, are fragrant and pollinated by small bees.



Northern Pencil Orchid

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