16th November 2014 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge
Rainfall over the last two weeks was 3mm over four days, still very dry and the grass has turned brown. Humidity dropped down to 46% with lots of sunshine and temperatures reaching 31.6ºc which it has been doing for the last five weeks.
Last Two Weeks Bird Sightings:-
These can be found on the Eremaea eBird site. 2nd– 8th November and 9th- 15th November The first week had 105 species recorded and the second week 111.
Birding Highlights:-Magpie Goose have again been heard flying over at night and seen along McDougall Road in one of the lagoons, which has also had Wandering Whistling-Duck, Pacific Black Duck, Grey Teal, Australasian Darter, two Australian Pelican, Great, Intermediate and Cattle Egret, White-faced Heron and six Royal Spoonbill. The Cattle Egret are now acquiring their breeding plumage with their head, neck and backs turning orange-brown.
|Cattle Egret - breeding condition|
A Black Bittern appeared at the Crake Pool on the evening of the 6th November as guests were awaiting the Red-necked Crake (which did not show that evening). We get a few sightings of Black Bittern each year, but they are few and far between. A few raptors have been around with one sighting of Black-shouldered Kite and a pair of Pacific Baza. Other raptors around have been Grey and Brown Goshawk, Black and Whistling Kite plus White-bellied Sea-Eagle.
Red-necked Crake was seen on several occasions at the Crake Pool and once at Bushy Creek across from the Platypus viewing area. It generally came at dusk, around 6.15pm but was seen once at 4.15pm. Both Buff-banded Rail and a White-browed Crake, which is a rarity around here, were seen along Bushy Creek.
Superb Fruit-Dove continue to call and feed around the Lodge and have been seen with much patience, they are difficult to get onto as they hide high in the rainforest canopy. Wompoo Fruit-Dove have been easier to see as have Pied Imperial-Pigeon and Topknot Pigeon. Cuckoo have been making their presence felt with Brush Cuckoo, Little (Gould's) Bronze-Cuckoo, Australian Koel, Channel-billed Cuckoo and Pheasant Coucal all being seen and heard. At least six male Little (Gould's) Bronze-Cuckoo were around the Lodge entrance for three days, chasing and foraging. Lesser Sooty Owl has been calling most nights, but nobody bothered to get up at 4.00am to go and find them! However, one called early in the evening on the15th and was seen high in a tree before flying over. Barn Owl and Barking Owl have also been around, this Barn Owl was just getting up and deciding whether it was worth leaving the daytime roost.
Australian Owlet-nightjar was only heard. Azure Kingfisher have been up and down Bushy Creek perching for good views. Blue-winged Kookaburra have been quiet for the last week and not seen. The Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher which arrived on the 30th October was seen high in the rainforest canopy on the 4th November, but not heard or seen since. There have been reports of single birds in the district, but not of any significant numbers, so hopefully the main migratory population is not far away. A pair of Dollarbird have been around Geraghty Park checking out nesting sites and calling, but have not been seen attending any suitable tree hollows. Double-eyed Fig-Parrot are now feeding at least one nestling which will hopefully fledge successfully, both male and female are busy feeding their offspring.
|Double-eyed Fig-Parrot - female at nest|
|Double-eyed Fig-Parrot - male at nest|
Two juvenile Australian King-Parrot were feeding in the Lodge grounds one morning before flying off and not returning. At least one pair of Noisy Pitta returned overnight on the 4th November when the male was seen perched 5m up in a tree calling with another pitta answering. Hopefully they will breed here again this year. 13 species of honeyeater were recorded around the Lodge including an occasional visitor, Eastern Spinebill. Quite a number of Lewin's Honeyeater are still around the grounds, numbers did drop, but seem to have increased in the last few weeks which is very unusual. It is possible that the prolonged dry spell we are having has forced them back down from the mountains, such as Mt. Lewis, to seek out some food. Male Yellow-breasted Boatbill have been calling a lot, mainly in the morning. Barred Cuckoo-shrike have been around calling and feeding on fruiting fig tees along with White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike, Varied Triller and Common Cicadabird. Black-faced Monarch have been calling, but no sign of nest building yet. They are probably waiting for a good downpour of rain to get going. Pied Monarch are also calling and being seen regularly as have Leaden Flycatcher whose numbers have increased in the last few weeks.
|Pied Monarch - male|
A female plumaged Victoria's Riflebird was seen down by the Crake Pool after one was heard the day before and again seen with an immature male bathing in front of the self-contained units, this is very late in the season to have two around the Lodge. The Lemon-bellied Flycatcher reported on a nest last blog was seen feeding one nestling, but the outcome of the nest is unknown as the parents have not been seen at the nest for at least five days, hopefully the youngster fledged. Pale-yellow Robin have fledged young, this one was awaiting the parents to return with some food.
|Pale-yellow Robin - juvenile|
Grey-headed Robin are still with us which again is a late stayer which normally goes back into the mountains at this time of year. Yet another bird which is normally up in the mountains is the Bassian Thrush, one was seen along Bushy Creek on the 9th November. Mistletoebird are still very active with some males and females chasing each, but other pairs are busy breeding or have fledged young.
|Mistletoebird - male|
|Australian Bustard - displaying male|
Latham's Snipe were seen twice in Julatten over the last week and four Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo flew over Mt. Molloy. (thanks to Carol Iles for these sighting). Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo were again seen at the Mowbray National Park in Julatten along with Lovely Fairy-wren. A Ruff was reported on the Cairns Esplanade and a Barn Swallow at Yorkey's Knob both these reports were from Dominic Funnell who operates Cairns Bird Tours and can organise half, full or multiple day tours. Blue-faced Parrot-Finch are starting to appear on Mt. Lewis with four seen one morning.
Reptiles and Mammals:-
Highlight over the two weeks was a first sighting of an Australian Wood Frog Hylarana daemeli in the Lodge grounds. This frog occurs on the Cape York Peninsular and down the east coast to about Townsville. Surprising we have not recorded it before as it is reasonably common in our area and is a large frog (90mm). The promise of rain bought out a few frogs:- Jungguy Frog, White-lipped Tree Frog, Northern Dwarf Tree Frog, Roth's (Laughing)Tree Frog, Desert (Red) Tree Frog and a few Cane toad. Yellow-footed Antechinus have been very active with several seen during the day, this one was in the rainforest foraging before it ran to shelter in a log.
Agile Wallaby have been coming into the orchard in the hope of finding some green grass.
A Green Ringtail Possum was seen on a night walk, a first for about a month and a Striped Possum was seen behind the accommodation units one evening. The pair of Platypus in Bushy Creek have been performing most evenings and early morning along with several Eastern Water Dragon. Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko are still being found, but have become more difficult with many staying up high on trees. Boyd's Forest Dragon have also been around with at least one male coloured up in his greenish breeding condition. An interesting snake was seen on the path to the orchard, it was about a metre long and a uniform mustard yellow colour. Not quite the same colour as a Green Tree Snake which is a brighter yellow with a black belly, but it could have been one to our untrained eye.
The prolonged dry spell we are experiencing has slowed down the insects, but a few dragonfly have started to appear such as this Painted Grasshawk.
|Painted Grasshawk - male|
This wader has been a bit of a challenge so we a throwing it open to anyone who has an opinion as to which species it might be.