Black Mountain Road, Kuranda

Subject: Black Mountain Road, Kuranda
From: Phil & Sue Gregory <>
Date: Sun, 28 Jul 2013 08:32:27 +1000
Wet and quite cool up here of late, but oddly the male Victoria's Riflebird is 
displaying regularly atop a power pole at Cassowary House, unusually early. The 
male Cassowary has been gone about a fortnight now, presumably off incubating, 
but the big female comes most days and she had a huge fight with another 
transient female in the week. The two birds raced down the steps by the house, 
one falling over and rolling into a plant pot which was smashed, then chasing 
off into the forest, sadly I missed all the vocals that went with this 
altercation. About an hour later two of our guests who'd seen this incident 
heard a crashing from the forest, so they stepped behind a tree and then saw a 
Cassowary come racing out, still pursued by the other one and flattening 
anything that happens to get in the way!

We also still have what is now a 10-month old chick coming daily, this too is 
unusual as normally they are driven off by the male shortly after he abandons 
them, this bird has managed to evade him thus far. The chick is very curious, 
so if you are making a noise like blowing leaves or sawing wood the bird may 
well come to investigate! The female does not like the chick, I taped a few 
alarm calls last week when she basically warned him away, these are posted on 
xenocanto but I have yet to nail any female calls as these are very erratic and 
given without much warning. She will tolerate the chick within about 5m but any 
closer and she chases it off.

I heard a Noisy Pitta calling at dusk on July 26, I think they just go quiet 
here at this time of the year but are still about. A new bird for Cassowary 
House was Striated Pardalote which was calling near the road July 24, 
unexpected here in the wet rainforest. White-eared Monarch and Yellow-breasted 
Boatbill are quite vocal, as is Superb Fruit Dove, and there was a very vocal 
Rose-crowned Fruit Dove on July 26, again not expected here at this time of the 
year, they used to be a species that turned up in Sept-Oct when some things 
came into fruit. Red-necked Crakes are active and can be seen if you sit at a 
spot beside the house, and I saw one very nicely from the deck in the week.

Away to PNG again on Monday, hoping for Starry Owlet-nightjar at long last up 
at Kwatu- then off to the Birdfair in the UK, a new cultural experience for us. 
We will be helping at the Australian Birding stand and also on the Papua New 
Guinea one.

Phil Gregory

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