Some North Queensland Observatons

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Subject: Some North Queensland Observatons
From: "Alan Gillanders" <>
Date: Tue, 20 Jan 2004 12:03:47 +1000
Greetings All,
A mate, Lloyd Perkins of Malanda, has reported the sightings in blue.
We have just returned from Mission Beach where we had three weeks holiday!  Fantastic to drop off the planet for a few weeks but wow, my brain is mush this week.  Thought I'd report (as far as I know) an unusual sighting !  On Saturday 17/01/04 saw a Black Swan - 400m out to sea off the southern tip of Dunk Island. We approach as quietly as possible - I thought that perhaps it was injured. It flew off out to sea honking !  I assume it is a lost bird and will probably be a dead bird.
I know it is common for Black Swans to utilize marine habitat in New Zealand but how common is it here in Aus?
Also saw (unusual but not bizarre) 5 frigate birds - probably greater - cruising along the beach on Friday.  I've never seen Frigate birds in the area (in fact at all around the Cairns area.)  Friday was particularly windy - 20 -25 kn Northerly winds.  Wednesday and Thursday we had severe storms, lots of rain etc.  Perhaps these birds were a bit lost too or perhaps they are breeding on the islands off the Mission coast.
I also saw a Black Swan on the creek below the house (bird No 173 ) and observed the first Yellow Honeyeater in the garden last week. I wonder what bird 175 will be? If anybody wants an Orange-footed Scrubfowl they are welcome to the young one which has adopted our garden. Where is the visiting Goshawk when you want her?
The Black-tailed Native Hen at Hasties Swamp is still being seen but not yet by me. How unusual is it for them to turn up by themselves? Some of the smart weed is starting to die off at Hasties but there is very little free water. Various rails are being seen and heard there.
A single Glossy Ibis has been at Tinaburra for over a week now. Also present are two Pink-eared Ducks and half a dozen Royal Spoonbills. The rising water levels have driven off most of the waders.
I presume that the Fig-Parrots are still nesting as they are picking young Eucalypt leaves from my garden both morning and evening and flying of to the scrub. However as some one rightly pointed out I cannot claim they are lining their nests with the leaves unless I actually observe it.
The Victoria's Riflebird nest which I have been watching has shown no activity for three weeks so I believe it to be abandoned.
Cranes were heard calling a week ago despite most of them leaving the area before Christmas.
White-headed Pigeons are in the streets of Yungaburra but not in the huge numbers which were common before 2003.
While watching some Red-browed finches gleaning for insects I wondered how much of their diet is non grain/seed? Would this apply to Blue-faced Finches as well?
A Rufous Owl was a great sighting on my regular tree-kangaroo walk recently and an English visitor was thrilled to spot an Owlet Nightjar.
Carrion beetles are feasting on cane toads when they are run over on the roads near pieces of rainforest. Other cane toads come to eat the beetles and are then run over. An interesting cycle of death.
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