Today Maureen and I took part in the annual Regent Honeyeater and Swift Parrot survey. We were given an area to cover on each side of Sawpit Road, Kitchener and arrived at 8:00am to spend two hours systematically covering the area, and filling in our form.
The frost on the ground was a bit of a shock to us coastal dwellers, but it soon warmed up into a beautiful, spring-like day. There were stringybark and spotted gum in flower and good numbers of wattles in full bloom attracting insects. It looked promising.
Since European settlement 30% of Australia’s woodlands, and 80% of temperate woodlands, have been cleared with devasting consequences for woodland birds. The Swift Parrot and Regent Honeyeater are mobile nectar feeders that prefer the lowland woodlands that support the richest sources of food, so they have have suffered the effects of clearing more than many and are nationally listed as Endangered. Habitat Restoration Projects will benefit not only the target species but also other threatened species including threatened bird species including the Speckled Warbler, Turquoise Parrot, Little Lorikeet, Painted Honeyeater, Brown Treecreeper, and Superb Parrot.
Data from the surveys, which have been undertaken for fifteen years, is being used for a range of research projects such as studies to improve our knowledge of migration, environmental requirements, and climate change impacts.
We had a very successful day, except for not seeing any Regent Honeyeaters or Swift Parrots. We thought we saw two Regents in flight, but could not confirm the ID. Swifties eluded us altogether.
Buff-rumped Thornbill (pictured above)
White throated Treecreeper
Variegated Fairy wren
Eastern Yellow Robin