Recently Hamelin Station had an influx of keen birdwatchers from the Geraldton and Perth Birdlife groups who came to help out with our initial surveys. Our dedicated group set out at 5:30 every morning to cover a range of habitats all over Hamelin. Braving the hot weather we recorded over 100 species in three days which is pretty impressive!
Hamelin has had an excellent year in terms of rainfall and the boom in wildflowers and birds made it an opportune time to get out there and see what we could find. We observed flocks of budgies and cockatiels as well as high numbers of Crimson Chats, Pied and Black Honeyeaters. Many birds were also taking advantage of the good times to breed including the exceptionally cute Little-button Quail.
A target species for the surveys was the Western Grasswren. Western Grasswrens are priority-listed in Western Australia. Once found across extensive areas of southern WA they are now restricted to small populations on Hamelin and neighbouring stations, as well as distinct populations on the Peron Peninsula. The purchase of Hamelin by Bush Heritage means that large areas of significant habitat for remaining populations are now protected.
Our observers managed to locate the Grasswrens in two of our search areas. Since then they have been found in another spot where habitat had been thought to be unsuitable. These records are the first observations of Grasswrens on Hamelin since they were observed during surveys conducted over ten years ago. This raises our hopes that populations may be stable. In future surveys we'll better determine the extent of Grasswrens on Hamelin and allow Bush Heritage to manage areas of core habitat for their protection.
Many thanks to all of the Birdlife volunteers who participated in the surveys and particularly to Nic Dunlop and Jan Checker for their help organising and running the trip.