Sunday, 30 November 2014

30th November 2014 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

Weather Report
Plenty of threatening clouds but only 1mm of rain managed to find our rain gauge. Humidity dropped down to 43% and up to 95% with lots of sunshine and temperatures reaching 31.3Âșc but generally lower with the cloud cover.

Last Two Weeks Bird Sightings:-
These can be found on the Eremaea eBird site. 16th – 22nd November and 23rd - 29th November The first week had 106 species recorded and the second week 107.

Birding Highlights:-
The main contingent of Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher arrived overnight on the 20th of November (one had arrived on 31st October) which is two days after the previous late arrival record. Since then they have been pairing up and calling a lot as they sort out their territories. Most guests have been seeing them. A Pale-vented Bush-hen turned up in our neighbours garden on 23rd November, this photo is from earlier this year of an adult feeding one of its six chicks. Hope they breed around here again this season.


Pale-vented Bush-hen - Adult and chick

A big surprise was six Brolga flying from the coast in a westerly direction over the Lodge grounds on the 26th November. Not sure where they would have come from but this is only the second record we have had in 9½ years. A Glossy Ibis turned up at one of the McDougall Road lagoons at the end of the second week, this is a rare bird in our immediate area. Other waterbirds have been around in small numbers, Magpie Goose, Wandering Whistling-Duck, Green Pygmy-goose, Grey Teal were seen and a Black Bittern was heard. An adult Nankeen Night Heron was along Bushy Creek one morning whilst we were conducting a morning walk. Raptors have been scarce with only Black, Whistling and Brahminy Kite plus White-bellied Sea-Eagle seen over the last two weeks. Red-necked Crake has been appearing at the Crake Pool most late evenings and once at 8.00am. One spent 45 minutes one evening foraging around the pool. One of the McDougall Lagoons had a Comb-crested Jacana swimming around which was quite unusual as they are mainly seen walking over the water lilies. Pigeons and doves have once again been showing well with Brown Cuckoo-Dove, Emerald, Peaceful and Bar-shouldered Dove, Wompoo and Superb Fruit-Dove, Torresian Imperial-Pigeon and Topknot Pigeon all seen. Little Bronze-Cuckoo have again been around in a small flock of 6-8 birds. All have been of the race gouldi, this one was foraging in the orchard.

Little Bronze-Cuckoo - male

Other cuckoos that have been seen were Australian Koel, Channel-billed Cuckoo and Pheasant Coucal. Night birds have been a bit elusive with Lesser Sooty, Barn, and Barking Owl seen plus Australian Owlet-nightjar heard. Also seen was Papuan Frogmouth who were either roosting in our orchard or sitting on their nest. This one was sitting on a recently hatched chick.


Papuan Frogmouth - male

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo have also been nesting with two large chicks seen peering out of a nest hollow. Double-eyed Fig-Parrot have also been nesting and as reported in the last blog feeding young. We thought the young had fledged but after not seeing the adults at the nest for 1½ weeks they were back and little voices were heard from inside the nest. Noisy Pitta have continued to be noisy but have retreated into the rainforest within the last few days which may mean they are going to nest. Lovely Fairy-wren were heard on the edge of the orchard but not seen but Red-backed Fairy-wren were seen on a fence along the highway near Geraghty Park. 13 honeyeater species were seen and one heard, 11 of these were seen in one red flowering Callistemon (Bottlebrush) whilst we were on a morning walk. The most impressive was a male Scarlet Honeyeater who came down out of the tall trees to give everyone fantastic views. Blue-faced Honeyeater were seen feeding juveniles, the males blue face is really bright in breeding condition.


Blue-faced Honeyeater

Also a Helmeted Friarbird was heard for one day, this species does not usually come to our western side of the Great Dividing Range. Several pairs of Yellow-breasted Boatbill have been calling and seen. One pair of White-breasted Woodswallow were seen building a nest and a White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike was seen sitting in a nest. Both Barred Cuckoo-shrike and Common Cicadabird have been calling and seen. A female Australasian Figbird was seen sitting in a nest in a Queensland Blue Gum tree. Torresian Crow were seen chasing a Channel-billed Cuckoo, which may have left their nest unattended for the female channel-billed to lay her eggs in it. A Pale-yellow Robin was another bird seen sitting on a nest. These nesting birds must think the rain is coming along with an influx of insects as at the moment insects are very few and far between. Metallic Starling are also powering ahead with their nests and their colony is looking a bit better with at least 80-100 birds present.

Further Afield:-
A Baillon’s Crake was seen along the edge of the bund wall at Lake Mitchell by Ota Yu, one of the local Japanese birdguides. Also at Lake Mitchell, Carol Iles (our local bird guide) reported six Cotton Pygmy-goose, which are becoming a difficult species to find in our area. Several Yellow Wagtail were reported from Tinnaburra waters boatramp area on Tinaroo Dam, near Yungaburra. Mt. Lewis was a good as ever with most endemics being seen again, also a Shining Bronze-Cuckoo was reported by several people being fed by a Mountain Thornbill at the clearing 10km up the road. One Blue-faced Parrot-Finch was seen at the end of the 2nd week. Further north of Mt. Carbine Black-throated Finch and Squatter Pigeon were along the Kondaparinga Road to Hurricane Station. Maryfarms between Mt. Carbine and Mount Molloy had Banded and Rufous-throated Honeyeater (uncommon) as well as Australian Bustard who are still displaying.

Reptiles and Mammals:-
Two Australian Scrub Python were seen whilst on a night walk, the first for several weeks. A Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko was out during the day behind the cookshed, which is unusual. This one has an original tail.


Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko

Frogs have been anticipating rain and calling a lot, those seen were Jungguy Frog, White-lipped Tree Frog, Northern Dwarf Tree Frog, Dessert Tree Frog, Dainty Green Tree Frog and Cogger's Frog. Also Cane Toad was seen and Roth's (Laughing) Tree frog was heard. A Striped Possum was seen on a night walk high up feeding on the flowers of a Black Bean (Castanospermum australe) tree, this was a first for nearly three weeks. Northern Broad-nosed Bat decided to invade our bedroom with three finding there way past the fly screens. After a midnight chase we managed to get two out, the third was found in the morning and removed. Also in the office was our local Yellow-footed Antechinus who pays regular visits but just has a look around and leaves. Fawn-footed Melomys (small rodent) was seen foraging in a Sugar Apple tree in the orchard one night. At least four Red-legged Pademelon are around the Lodge grounds as well as several Agile Wallaby.


Insects:-
A few Longicorn Beetle have been appearing, this one was on the wall of the units before being re-located to the rainforest.

Longicorn Beetle sp.

A few Katydid have also been seen.

Wader ID:-
The mystery wader from the last blog is a Pectoral Sandpiper. This species differs from the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper with it's more upright stance showing a longer neck, slightly downcurved bill which is slightly longer than the head. Its breast pattern is a distinctly demarcated from the whiter lower breast , weaker supercillium, legs are yellowish, and the bill is olive with a darker tip, whiter more distinct eyering and greyer crown. These are some of the distinguishing features.
Photo, Doug Herrington

Pectoral Sandpiper

 

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. 

 

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