Day Four: Rest day, Koalas, Hike to Dams

Sunday June 13, 2010

[From the trip Brampton Island June 2010]

Today was a rest day, though we did begin with a walk in the morning to look for birds.  We went different directions today, and the group I was with were extremely lucky.  We managed to find a very gregarious group of wet forest birds including a juvenile White-eared Monarch, one of the more exciting birds to be found on the island.  Along with the monarch we had Golden Whistlers, Leaden Flycatches, Spectacled Monarchs and Varied Trillers all showing off in the early morning sun. 

On top of this, on the return trip we found a Koala near the western dam, one of possibly only 15 on the Island.  The Koalas of Brampton and the nearby St Bees Island are currently being studied by people from the University of Queensland.  It seems that the Koalas on these two islands are actually introduced, as in they were put here by someone.  This was apparently an attempt to save the north QLD population from extinction a while back, as the mainland population crashed rapidly.  It turns out they did go extinct on the mainland, so putting a few on the islands was a great idea.  Not only did they save the genetic line for this group of koalas, but the animals on Brampton are some of the healthiest wild Koalas you can find anywhere.

Our Koala was tagged with two yellow ear tags, and when we reported the numbers on them to the researcher from UQ he told us it was a big male they had dubbed "Sean" on a previous trip.  Bill, our illustrious trip leader had been present at the time, so he was happy to see "Sean" still faring well in the wild.

Some of us took the morning to do a bit more weeding.  Even though it was a rest day it felt good to get some more done - one step closer to saving the Beach Scrub!  It was a good morning for it, as we saw more Robust Rainbow Skinks, plus a stunning Green Tree Snake sunning itself on a log in our weeding area.  I also managed to see some great butterflies - Black-spotted Flash, Purple Oak-blue and Large Purple Line-blue, all of which were new for me, though not new for the island.

The afternoon brought another hike, this time to the two dams on the western side of the island.  We revisited "Sean" so all of us could see him (it was only those on the bird walk that saw the koala in the morning).  The walk was steep in places, but we saw a lot of birds and butterflies to keep things interesting, and the eastern dam was quite pretty in the afternoon light.

Evening once again brought us the calls of various night birds competing with the increasingly strong wind for volume.



Mammals 1 species
Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) 1 Koala named "Shaun" by UQ researchers, as identified by numbers on the ear tags.
Butterflies 16 species
Northern Jezabel, Scarlet Jezebel (Delias argenthona) 1
Marsh Tiger (Danaus affinis) 1
Varied Eggfly (Hypolimnas bolina) 1
Large Citrus Butterfly, Orchard Butterfly, Orchard Swallowtail (Papilio aegeus) 1
Common Grass-blue (Zizina labradus) 1
Meadow Argus (Junonia villida) 1
Yellow Albatross (Appias paulina) 1
Common Grass-yellow, Large Grass-yellow (Eurema hecabe) 1
Caper Gull (Cepora perimale) 1
Purple Crow (Euploea tulliolus) 1
Dingy Bush-brown (Mycalesis perseus) 1
Blue Tiger (Tirumala hamata) 1
Bordered Rustic (Cupha prosope) 1
Common Evening-brown (Melanitis leda) 1
Common Crow (Euploea core) 1
Purple Oak-blue (Arhopala centaurus) 1
Land Birds 26 species
Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosa) 40
Pied Currawong (Strepera graculina) 25
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita) 20
Spectacled Monarch (Symposiachrus trivirgatus) 17 A big group of Monarchs moving through the rainforest patch on the far side of the island, including several juveniles.
Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus) 15
Leaden Flycatcher (Myiagra rubecula) 12
Orange-footed Scrubfowl (Megapodius reinwardt) 10
Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis) 8
Varied Triller (Lalage leucomela) 6
Torresian Crow (Corvus orru) 5
Silvereye (Zosterops lateralis) 4
White-bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) 3 A 2nd year immature bird plus 2 adults.
Spangled Drongo (Dicrurus bracteatus) 3
Wompoo Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus magnificus) 3
Australian Golden Whistler (Pachycephala pectoralis) 3
Pied Oystercatcher (Haematopus longirostris) 3
Welcome Swallow (Hirundo neoxena) 2
Eastern Osprey (Pandion cristatus) 2
Pacific Reef Heron (Egretta sacra) 2
Dusky Myzomela (Myzomela obscura) 2
Southern Boobook (Ninox boobook) 1 Heard only
Rufous Fantail (Rhipidura rufifrons) 1 Heard only
Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) 1
Bar-shouldered Dove (Geopelia humeralis) 1
White-eared Monarch (Carterornis leucotis) 1 Juvenile bird
Mistletoebird (Dicaeum hirundinaceum) 1 Heard only
Seabirds 1 species
Silver Gull (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae) 3
Dragonflies 5 species
Neurothemis stigmatizans 1
Orthetrum sabina 1
Common Glider (Trapezostigma loewii) 1
Orthetrum serapia 1
Blue Skimmer (Orthetrum caledonicum) 1
Terrestrial Reptiles 3 species
Excitable Delma (Delma tincta) 1
Supralittoral Shinning-skink (Cryptoblepharus litoralis) 1
Common Tree Snake (Dendrelaphis punctulatus) 1



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