The bird surveys, which are part of our Kosciuszko 2 Coast partnership, have started on their 6th year, with plenty of helpers and plenty of birds to see.
A total of 87 species were recorded, which is a high number for the autumn surveys when many of the summer migrants have departed the region.
Forty-four sites were surveyed across 22 properties from Williamsdale down to south of Bredbo. The very dry spell through February-March had been broken last week with up to 100mm of rain in the region. Conditions on the morning were mild and relatively still although the sun didn’t break through until late morning.
Honeyeaters were a feature of the survey, despite the overcast conditions, which are generally considered less than ideal for migration. Movement was most pronounced at the sites in the Michelago region with small groups of yellow-faced and white-naped honeyeaters constantly moving through.
At other sites these species, plus white-eared honeyeater, brown-headed honeyeater, red wattlebird and eastern spinebill were spending time feeding on lerp rather than moving through. Fuscous honeyeaters were prominent in their usual habitat of apple box woodlands.
Some of the late-departing summer migrants recorded were western gerygone, mistletoebird, rufous whistler, noisy friarbird and fantail cuckoo. Flocks of species such as dusky woodswallows, diamond firetails and black-faced cuckoo-shrikes included a high proportion of immature birds, indicating a good breeding season.
It was a pleasure to see many robins, particularly scarlet robins, recorded on 14 of the 22 properties. And it’s always exciting to see the hooded robin, this time on 5 properties. Flame Robins are sometimes not recorded in the April surveys, but this time they were seen on 6 properties; perhaps the early snowfall in the mountains last week has hastened their appearance.
Brown treecreepers were recorded at 7 properties, including one group of 6 birds. A highlight for one survey team was a spotted harrier seen from the highway just north of Scottsdale. Another highlight was spotted quail-thrush on one property in typical habitat of dry forest on a rocky ridge.
Thank you Nicki Taws for arranging it all yet again, David for the Scottsdale photos and the COG volunteers, the landholders for their ongoing involvement .... and last but not least to Kathleen who as usual did a lovely BBQ lunch at Scottsdale.
The next survey will be held on Sunday 11 October 2015.