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Restoring bird habitat in south-west WA

Angela Sanders (Ecologist)
Published 23 Oct 2016 by Angela Sanders (Ecologist)

Bird surveys of restored farmland are always full of surprises and this year was no exception. As a Gondwana Link Ecologist, I've been doing bird surveys at Monjebup, Chingarrup, Beringa and Yarraweyah Falls over the past two weeks.

The surveys have occurred a bit later this year owing to the wild, wet and windy weather that's seen the local gravel roads closed to heavy traffic many times this winter and spring.

During the fine, still mornings I am out from just before sunrise until around 9am recording the birds that have returned to a landscape that's been transformed from cleared paddocks to native vegetation.

Some of the restoration is getting on towards 10 years old and the bird activity has changed each year.

This year is the year of the Tawney-crowned Honeyeater and they are present in their hundreds nesting in the denser sections of the revegetated areas. In previous years its been the New-Holland Honeyeater that has taken first place for the most abundant species.

Another first for the surveys was the presence of many exuberant Rufous Songlarks in the 4-year-old revegetation on Monjebup North and at times their incessant calls drowned out other birds at the site.

This songlark is an uncommon visitor to this part of the world although they occur throughout the continent.

A Malleefowl calling during one of the surveys in a bush site is by far the most exciting find so far this year. Although they're common on the Gondwana Link properties, their calls are rarely heard, especially during an 'official' survey. With a few more survey days to go who knows what surprises are still in store?

Rufous Songlark. Photo Ian Mayo. Rufous Songlark. Photo Ian Mayo.
Angela Sanders and volunteer Bill Thomson doing a bird survey in restored farmland. Angela Sanders and volunteer Bill Thomson doing a bird survey in restored farmland.

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