Day Three: Morning walk, Weeding, Hike to Western Point

Saturday June 12, 2010

[From the trip Brampton Island June 2010]

Day Three of out trip saw us again out looking for birds in the morning, though not much more was added to the list.  We did get a look at a few birds we had only heard calling the day before, like Rufous Fantail and Spectacled Monarch, and it is always nice to get a visual confirmation of things you are identifying on call.

Today instead of weeding we mixed things up a bit by going for a walk along the western edge of the island looking for plastics and other rubbish that had washed up with the tide.  We found quite a lot, mostly from the cyclone a few months back, and made some big piles above the high tide mark to come back for later.  A lot of the plastics and other rubbish on Brampton comes from boats, and a lot of it is from south-east Asia, brought down all the way from Cape York in the strong currents going down the coast.

Our walk up the beach also produced a couple of interesting wildlife sightings.  We found a few skinks running among the rocks on the beach - an odd place to be seeing terrestrial reptiles at all!  We later discovered these were Sublittoral Shining Skinks (Cryptoblepharus litoralis), a new species for the island list.  We also saw a large flock of Pied Currawongs feeding on the exposed intertidal reef.  This is not common behaviour for Pied Currawongs, which are traditionally a rainforest bird that eats primarily fruit, but is also known to raid nests and eat eggs and baby birds.  We are looking into this further to see if anyone else has recorded Pied Currawongs feeding on marine creatures before, but it could easily be a new behaviour for the species.

The other interesting sighting for the walk was in the hoop pine forest at the western tip of the island, where Tim O'reilly and I climbed up into the forest and found something that the island is quietly famous for - a flock of thousands of Blue Tiger butterflies!  We found several of these flocks on different parts of the island during the week, and every time it was amazing to see, one of the real highlights of the trip.

The day ended with a night time spotlight to see sharks and stingrays on the rising tide.  Those of us who were brave enough to go into the water (not me, it was very cold!) were rewarded with some good looks at some stingrays and a shovelnosed shark.  We also found a few Ghost Crabs running around like mad on the beach.

Location

Wildlife

Butterflies 20 species
Bordered Rustic (Cupha prosope) 1
Varied Eggfly (Hypolimnas bolina) 1
Large Citrus Butterfly, Orchard Butterfly, Orchard Swallowtail (Papilio aegeus) 1
White-banded Line-blue (Nacaduba kurava) 1
Common Grass-blue (Zizina labradus) 1
Northern Ringlet, Orange-streaked Ringlet (Hypocysta irius) 1
Meadow Argus (Junonia villida) 1
Lemon Migrant (Catopsilia pomona) 1
Yellow Albatross (Appias paulina) 1
Large Purple Line-blue (Nacaduba berenice) 1
Common Grass-yellow, Large Grass-yellow (Eurema hecabe) 1
Caper Gull (Cepora perimale) 1
Black-spotted Flash (Hypolycaena phorbas) 1
Dingy Bush-brown (Mycalesis perseus) 1
Blue Tiger (Tirumala hamata) 1
Small Grass-yellow (Eurema smilax) 1
Purple Crow (Euploea tulliolus) 1
Common Evening-brown (Melanitis leda) 1
Common Crow (Euploea core) 1
Purple Oak-blue (Arhopala centaurus) 1
Seabirds 1 species
Silver Gull (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae) 2
Land Birds 29 species
Pied Currawong (Strepera graculina) 30
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita) 25
Pacific Reef Heron (Egretta sacra) 6
Silvereye (Zosterops lateralis) 6
Torresian Crow (Corvus orru) 5
Orange-footed Scrubfowl (Megapodius reinwardt) 4
Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis) 4
Eastern Osprey (Pandion cristatus) 3
Dusky Myzomela (Myzomela obscura) 3
Welcome Swallow (Hirundo neoxena) 2
Leaden Flycatcher (Myiagra rubecula) 2
Varied Triller (Lalage leucomela) 2
Beach Stone-curlew (Esacus magnirostris) 2
Sooty Oystercatcher (Haematopus fuliginosus) 2
Spangled Drongo (Dicrurus bracteatus) 2
White-bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) 2
Southern Boobook (Ninox boobook) 1 Heard only
White-faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae) 1
Spectacled Monarch (Symposiachrus trivirgatus) 1 Heard only
Mistletoebird (Dicaeum hirundinaceum) 1 Heard only
Rose-crowned Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus regina) 1 Heard only
Bar-shouldered Dove (Geopelia humeralis) 1 Heard only
Rufous Fantail (Rhipidura rufifrons) 1
Australasian Grebe (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae) 1
Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) 1
Common Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica) 1 Heard only
Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus) 1 Heard only
Bush Stone-curlew (Burhinus grallarius) 1
Wompoo Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus magnificus) 1
Dragonflies 3 species
Orthetrum sabina 1
Common Glider (Trapezostigma loewii) 1
Blue Skimmer (Orthetrum caledonicum) 1
Terrestrial Reptiles 2 species
Common Tree Snake (Dendrelaphis punctulatus) 1
Robust Rainbow-skink (Carlia schmeltzii) 1

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Written by

Chris