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Published: July 23rd 2018
We headed off from Mossman in the late morning to go to our next stop, a very short 25km drive back towards Mount Lewis where I had been the last two nights. I had managed to persuade my family to have a one night stay and a place called Kingfisher Park Birders Lodge and the sort of place it is should be evident from the name. It's a small property with a patch of rainforest with lots of birds (and some mammals) in it and a creek at the bottom that is home to a platypus. They have the showiest Pied Monarchs that I've ever seen, several bird tables about that attract finches and doves and honeyeater, and normally resident Pittas but apparently recent relatively cold weather means they're not about at the moment. The owner being a birder also means he knows lots of local spots and was able to suggest a location to find a pitta as well as for waterbirds including Spotted Whistling Ducks!
There's not all that much for me to write about today... I just birded the property and along the various nearby birding sites down a road and in a public park and I
saw a fair bit around. As well as the cool species that you'll notice in the list, there was a family of Red-backed Fairy-wrens including a stunning full colour male which I had not seen previously.
I also found a pitta in the suggested spot, although it was very skulking, hopping around in a very dense area of vegetation. I didn't see a patch of irridecscent blue so I think it was a juvenile, probably offspring from one of the Kingfisher Park pairs. Not as nice as pittas sitting out on the lawns on the grounds as is usually the case, but not bad.
I did some spotlighting at night on the grounds where there are supposed to be a number of nice mammals. I got a lovely view of a platypus swimming underwater directly below me in the torchlight and there were a number of mammals quite easily seen, presumably seen more easily than elsewhere because this is a small patch of rainforest where animals are concentrated. There was even a Green Ringtail with a cute widdle baby on its back. Aww. The owner also gave me tips for good spots for both Lesser Sooty
and Barn Owls. And given my record with owls, the fact that I found both species - the latter with extreme ease and the former with a fair bit of effort - shows that they must be quite easy to see!
I'll bird here again tomorrow at dawn since it's not often that I'm able to get to a birding site for dawn and need to make the most of it. Although being such a small patch of forest where the wildlife is quite concentrated means I've managed to see pretty much all the birds in less than a full day! It also makes birding and spotlighting really productive. I struggle to remember spotlighting as productive as this on a time per mammal sighting basis. Everywhere you look there seems to be a small macropod or a possum or a rodent or and owl or something. Lovely little patch of forest, but just one night here and on to Atherton tomorrow.
Oh, and this doesn't really need mentioning here, I am getting a cold and everyone enjoys moaning a bit. When has getting slightly sick ever stopped me though? I'll just take a paracetamol and carry
on at full throttle, I can absolutely crash for two weeks in Perth if I need to anyway since that's just relaxed time with relatives with a little wildlife watching squeezed it (yeah right, you know me by now. Nothing is ever a ‘little bit of wildlife). I just wanted to feel sorry for myself briefly because I've got a cold, but not too sorry for myself because look at that species list!!! (Although being blocked up does affect my hearing and therefore ability to track down sounds)
And another thing: anyone up for Striped Possum four nights in a row? Yup!! I found a striped possum too! They are described as 'occasional' and Kingfisher Park since they're not resident but move through since they can use adjacent dry forest near rainforest too. I don't know how I'm finding this 'difficult' species so easily. I'm a Striped Possum magnet it seems! Four individual stripeds on four consecutive nights, all but last night's (including tonight's) posed well enough for decent photos.
Atherton Scrubwren (apparently all the scrubwrens at high altitude on Mt Lewis are Atherton so I can count this from yesterday which I saw
but not well enough to distinguish from Large-billed)
Victoria’s Riflebird Black-throated Finch
Australian King Parrot Cotton Pygmy Goose Spotless Crake Black-chested Buzzard Rufous Songlark Australasian Pipit Noisy Pitta Spotted Whistling Duck Red-necked Crake Eastern Barn Owl Lesser Sooty Owl
Platypus Canefield Rat
Green Ringtail Possum Prehensile-tailed Rat Bush Rat
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