Thursday, July 22, 2010

Birding Updates

July is a busy month for visitors, but unfortunately the weather wasn't so great for the school holidays this year. It is still warm though, so everyone is happy.
Winter is often best for viewing raptors here in the lowlands, particularly throughout the cane harvesting season. The kites are the most common with Whistling Kite, Black Kite and Brahminy Kite often being seen circling the cane fields between Daintree and Mossman at this time of year..
A beautiful chestnut and white bird, the Brahminy Kite is also often seen along the Daintree River and it's associated creeks. It feeds on fish, crustaceans, insects, reptiles and sometimes small rodents.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Most common is the Black Kite, with it's distinctive shallow fork at the end. Often seen in groups, the Black Kite will eat carrion or live rodents, insects and small reptiles and can be seen perching out in the open.

Thanks to Dan Irby for the photos.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Birding Updates

A busy month for Daintree with Australian school holidays and summer holidays in the northern hemisphere, so lots of visitors to the area. The weather hasn't been so favourable for the Reef over the last week or so, so many people are having a day or two  in the Daintree instead.
Winter is an interesting time for birds in the Daintree - not so many species, but some of the more difficult birds can be easier to see. Spotted Catbird and Victoria's Riflebird are great examples of that. The winter wake-up call is often the Spotted Catbird.
The Cattle Egret numbers are high over the winter and the classic sight of them flying down the Daintree River in large flocks in the evening and in the early morning is fabulous.

Cattle Egrets feed in the fields alongside the cows, waiting to pick up grasshoppers and other insects that have been disturbed from the grass. They are an extremely successful species and the numbers worldwide are increasing. At night they roost communally in one of two trees, usually beside the river.

A great reason to do an evening, late afternoon or early morning river cruise on the Daintree River.
Thanks to Dan Irby for the photos.