Kuranda sightings

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Kuranda sightings
From: Sue & Phil Gregory <>
Date: Fri, 7 Apr 2006 20:43:19 +1000
Post cyclone food is clearly very scarce around here at Kuranda in far north Queensland, I think most blossoms got wrecked and fruit has been knocked down. Macleay's Honeyeaters are desperate for food and come and land on our coffee cups, and any bananas we leave out get descended on by Helmeted Friarbirds, Victoria's Riflebird and Spotted Catbird, though that is actually pretty normal. I heard a Red-necked Crake giving a sharp, agitated "Kik" alarm call on April 5, and saw one walking along and being followed by a young Brush-turkey some 2m behind, just determinedly stalking the bird, much to the crakes alarm. This went on for about a minute then they went their separate ways. The crake fledged 3 young we think, at least up to the cyclone, though we have not seen the chicks since and the adults are now in heavy moult. The male Cassowary still has his two chicks, now some 5 months old with no trace of stripes left. They are voracious feeders and guzzle anything they find, with the parent having trouble getting anything for himself, again all quite normal. It was good to see them make it through the big storm, as did the sub-adult male who time shares with the male and his chicks (and gets beaten up when he does coincide!) and the big female. One chick on both April 5 and 6 was pecking at the coloured rough skin on the side of the male's neck, pulling it up in what looked like a painful process, though the male tolerated it. There was small red patch there I noticed and i suspect the chick may have pecked off an engorged tick. The chicks are engagingly curious, if we are working on clearing up or watering the paths they love to come and watch, peering with head held sideways at what is going on, whilst the male watches at a discreet distance. Migrants are coming through too, there was a Channel bill calling yesterday, also Fan-tailed Cuckoo, and a late Fork-tailed Swift was overhead late p.m on April 6, heading north. A flock of 10 Pied Currawongs heading slowly towards the coast high over Kuranda on April 5 was unusual.
Good birding
Phil Gregory

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