Re: birding-aus Honeyeater Migration - An Anticlimax

To: "Carol Probets" <>, <>
Subject: Re: birding-aus Honeyeater Migration - An Anticlimax
From: "EDWIN VELLA" <>
Date: Thu, 27 May 1999 19:28:08 +1000
Quite interesting Carol.

Just over my place in Seven Hills, I usually see on average about 200
White-naped or Yellow-faced Honeyeaters per hour, but this year I have not
seen either!!! The only migrating birds I have seen/heard in my area this
season are Silvereyes. I have not heard/seen any Striated Pardalotes yet
this season, but they can be quite common in the area (ie) the Tasmanian
(yellow-tipped) race. This year however has been very exceptional for the
Musk Lorikeets in Seven Hills with upto about 50 seen from mid February
right till today. I have been watching them feed on a Spotted Gum with many
Rainbow Lorikeets, Red Wattlebirds and Noisy Miners every morning while I
wait for the bus. The same tree last year had many Yellow-faced and
White-naped Honeyeaters feeding with Rainbow Lorikeets, Red Wattlebirds and
Noisy Miners and several Striated Pardalotes nearby.

-----Original Message-----
From: Carol Probets <>
To:  <>
Date: Wednesday, May 26, 1999 9:22
Subject: birding-aus Honeyeater Migration - An Anticlimax

>Honeyeater migration a fizzer this year
>The autumn migration of Yellow-faced and White-naped Honeyeaters has just
>about come to an end here at Katoomba. Today there were only very
>small groups travelling through. It seems, from my experience here as well
>as talking to other people in the area, that this year?s migration was
>particularly small in terms of numbers of birds. A real contrast to last
>year, one of the biggest I can remember.
>The 13th April when I posted my last message on this subject (that day I
>counted 5100 birds per hour flying over my street) turned out to be the
>really big migration day this season, and a lot of those were Silvereyes.
>Since then, on most fine mornings I?ve had between 1000 and 2000
>per hour flying over my street. That?s not much compared to most other
>- really!
>As to the composition of the flocks, the first White-naped started
>on the 12th April. On the 20th, Yellow-faced were still approx 92% of
>White-naped 4%, Spotted Pardalotes 3%, with smaller numbers of Striated
>Pardalotes, Red Wattlebirds and Silvereyes. On the 3rd May, White-napes had
>gone up to 14%, and on the 11th were approx 25% of migrating birds. This
>surprised me, I always thought they were in the majority towards the end of
>autumn, but counting them proved different. I think their contact calls are
>more penetrating than the Yellow-faced, which perhaps gives the impression
>that there are more of them.
>Another interesting thing this year has been the large number of pardalotes
>which joined the migrating flocks.
>All this brings me to some questions. Have people in other areas (e.g.
>Canberra) also noticed fewer than usual migrating honeyeaters? Why such
>large variation from year to year? I can think of four possible reasons:
>a. Large fluctuations in honeyeater population size. Perhaps last year was
>poor breeding season?
>b. Fewer of the population migrated. This suggests that some individuals
>would migrate some years and not in others.
>c. They didn?t migrate as far this year.
>d. They took a different route.
>Is there anywhere they have been seen in larger than usual numbers this
>Thanks for any info and/or comments.
>By the way, around lunchtime on 17th and 19th May we had huge mobs of Pied
>Currawongs flying west through here ? you should?ve heard the din!
>Carol Probets
>Katoomba NSW
>(In the Blue Mountains 100km west of Sydney)
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