Saturday, October 27, 2012

Daintree Birding etc

Lots of interesting things happening around Daintree at present for birdwatchers.
Yesterday we took both a drive to the end of Stewart Creek Rd in the Daintree Valley, plus a walk along the first section with guests, and picked up a very handy list for our efforts.
 Birds included Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher, Barred Cuckoo-Shrike, Dollarbird, Channel-billed Cuckoo, Lovely Fairy-Wren, Red-backed Fairy-Wren, Golden-headed Cisticola, Little Eagle and Double-eyed Fig-Parrot excavating a nest.
Very impressive!!


UK wildlife video-maker Malcolm Rymer is in the TNQ region for three weeks collecting footage for a 2 hour video on Birdwatching in Tropical North Queensland, which he will have available for sale at next year's British Birdfair. He is receiving excellent support from some local birding businesses and some very generous local birders and has collected some great footage thus far. His comments about the region are very encouraging, and it's great to be involved in a project which will potentially bring more people to the region for birdwatching. Thanks to those who have been involved, for being generous with their time and knowledge and also for their openness when dealing with Malcolm.

Malcolm Rymer, Ann and Trish at Stewart Creek Bridge

While not daily, there have been sightings of Southern Cassowary north of the Daintree River. Four pairs of Papuan Frogmouth nesting on the Daintree River or creeks. Black Bitttern also seen.

Lots of activity in the garden at Red Mill House with good flowers and fruit about. Wompoo Fruit-Dove and Double-eyed Fig-Parrot both favourites. This very handsome Brush Turkey seems to be holding sway over any intruders at present.

Male Australian Brush Turkey

 It is also 'frog season' with many of the Giant White-lipped Green Tree Frogs taking refuge in the house each day, before making their way out at night to feed and frolic.
This chap stopped over on a tripod on his way out last night.

Litoria infrafrenata

A pot-plant dweller during the day!

Litoria bicolor
 And lastly, a sign-post 'pretend I'm not here' Graceful Tree-Frog. I'm surprised a Kookaburra didn't find him, but he survived the day.

Litoria gracilenta
You gotta love it!
We live in Paradise.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher has arrived!!

The last of our summer migrants are in!
Black Bittern has been seen for the past few days on the Daintree River and this morning the first Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher was heard and then seen on Stewart Creek Rd in the Daintree Valley by Robyn Lowth of Daintree Sunbird Farm.
We love this time of year!!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Birdwatching season in Daintree

A great time of year for birding in Daintree. Some nice rain last week, then clear and dry again now. Just enough rain to top up the pond at Red Mill House so the Little Kingfisher and Azure Kingfisher both have space to feed.
Nesting activity is in full force with the Australian Figbird trying to dominate the yard - they are certainly the most common bird each day. A huge Milky Pine in the yard has several figbirds nesting, plus a Yellow Oriole and Helmeted Friarbird on nests. Probably more that we don't see, also!  Much disputing of territories going on!  The strangler figs are in full fruit, so there is plenty of food close by.

Male Australian Figbird
 The Black Butcherbird (not our favourite because they are such aggressive predators and we don't have a lot of space) have also been nesting in the Damson Plum. I know they have to feed their babies, but I do wish they wouldn't pick off our lovely frogs all the time.

Juvenile Black Butcherbird

 It is no wonder that our frogs like to hang out inside the house during the day, rather than in the garden.
Just don't tell the Health Inspector!!

Giant White-lipped Green Tree Frog
Other sightings locally include Pacific Baza along Stewart Creek Rd, Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, Cicadabird, Great-billed Heron and Papuan Frogmouth (also nesting).
Still hanging out for that first call of the Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Springtime in Daintree

After a very dry and extremely pleasant few weeks, there has been some good showers here in the Wet Tropics over the last few days, refreshing the rainforest and greening everything up again. It was long overdue.
Birdlife has been fabulous with lots of nesting going on - Olive-backed Sunbirds are laying in some of the most inconvenient of places - hammocks, doorways etc. They are amazingly successful considering how trusting they are! We also have Yellow Oriole, Australian Figbird and Helmeted Friarbird nesting in the garden. Welcome Swallows and Mistletoebirds are feeding their young around town and, on the Daintree River, Wompoo Fruit Dove and Papuan Frogmouth are nesting while Double-eyed Fig-Parrots are madly feeding babies.
It is the season for Channel-billed Cuckoo (Storm Birds) and Australasian Koel to be seen, but particularly, heard. The Koels are always being chased noisily by the smaller birds as they parasitise the nests of the above-mentioned species. Fruit-eaters and usually quiet, the Koel can often be found in fruiting Alexandra Palms and several species of figs. A large bird with a bright red eye, the female has delightful markings, while the male is shiny and black.

Australian Koel - female (Fred Forsell)

Australian Koel - male (Fred Forsell)
Other good sightings in Daintree include Lovely Fairy-Wren on Stewart Creek Rd, Little Kingfisher on the pond at Red Mill House, Pacific Baza in Daintree Village and possibly the first sighting of Black Bittern this morning on the Daintree River.
Everyone is waiting anxiously for the first call of the Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher returning from New Guinea.