Re: birding-aus Musk lorikeets in Melbourne

Subject: Re: birding-aus Musk lorikeets in Melbourne
Date: Wed, 03 Feb 1999 14:10:48 +1100

Merrilyn Serong's counts show far more birds than I've ever managed to
count down here in Bayside, SE Melbourne. Before I moved to near the
coast there would be streams of musk lorikeets at dusk flying SE over my
house with the highest count being about 240. (I suspect a similar count
this year would be higher because there are a lot around here).

But where do they go ? I tried following them in the car and they
certainly headed towards our golf courses (where I've recently seen them
congregating at dusk in gums but then heading further SE).  There was a
roost of about 90 near my old house for 3-4 days in gums and, I suspect,
a cypress.   

Perhaps we need a repeat of the project Ken Simpson ran in the 1960s (?)
which ended up with the discovery that needle-tailed swifts (OK WTNTs)
roosted in gums in the Dandenongs.   It involved recording their
direction of flight and in the next day or so being further on their
roosting route until the answer was found.

My hunch is that the use the numbers of large cypresses around some of
our golf courses but I've no real evidence for that.

In January the local musks were photographed raiding apple trees (as
they do, to the orchadists horror in the Golbourne valley).  I also seen
12 rainbows feeding on the leaves of an introduced tree (white poplar?)
where there were larvae feeding within the leaves, presumably producing
directly or indirectly some sweet exudate.

Not enough flowering gums ???!!

Incidentally musks have been recorded here for yonks but have
considerably increased since the 1970s (nos. and extent).  Rainbows were
common in Melbourne about 100 years ago and have returned, perhaps after
learning how to tackle common mynas.  Nos. are so high that they even
nested (almost certainly) in Canary Island Palms. So plant more of these
???  (a "goak" to quote AJP Taylor).

Michael Norris
Hampton, Vic

PS apologies for the posting of my note to Mike Tarburton about swifts.
I didn't intend copying it to birding-aus.

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