Saturday, June 26, 2010

Birding Updates

The sugar cane harvesting season (The Crush) runs from mid June until completion, which can be as late as December. Much of the coastal lowlands is under sugar cane, so it is a significantly busy time for the farmers, the Sugar Mill at Mossman and everyone else involved. This year the conditions have been favourable and the season has got off to a good start.
Interestingly for birdwatchers, the 'Crush' means an increase in birds of prey locally as they follow the harvesters searching for any rodents, snakes and other creatures that have been disturbed. Black Kite, Whistling Kite, Brahminy Kite and even Wedge-tailed Eagle (not a usual resident of the wet lowlands) descend on the cane fields, and you can see quite large flocks of Kites feeding on the ground after the harvester has been through.

Some other great winter birds include the Victoria's Riflebird ( an endemic to the Wet Tropics and one of the Birds of Paradise) and the Spotted Catbird. The Catbird's name is derived from it's call - not meow, but like someone is strangling a cat! A beautiful bird which is difficult to see because of it's colourings, but is more visible in winter as it comes out of the forest a little more to find fruit. They are happy with pawpaw and fallen citrus if there are no rainforest fruits about.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Over the last month, Mason's Tours have been using our spare time designing a new 1/2 Day Walk. A small hill at the back of our property looked like it might yield a view, and we actually found two of them!

We have now found a workable track down off the ridge, and the next step is to plan the rest of the walk!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Birding Updates

Glorious weather in Daintree as 'winter' sets in - sunny, warm days and clear, cool nights.
'Winter' birds dominate with increased numbers of fantails, flycatchers and monarchs at this time of year.
The Daintree River is excellent for early morning birdwatching all year, and presently some of the special birds include Great-billed Heron, Little Kingfisher and Papuan Frogmouth can be seen from the river.
The Papuan Frogmouth feeds at night, usually on insects, frogs, small rodents and lizards, and roosts during the day - often close to the river. They have the soft, patterned plumage that allows them to be well hidden when sitting near the trunk of a tree. They are often very difficult to find and can easily be mistaken for a branch.