swift parrots in south-east Melbourne

Subject: swift parrots in south-east Melbourne
Date: Sun, 05 Nov 2000 21:15:16 +1100
Hi all,

How about the coincidence of these late sightings of swift
parrots in the Melbourne region (I know of Sandringham 29 Oct-5
Nov (c10->1), Phillip Is. 28 or 29 Oct (20+), Clayton 3 Nov(2)
Hastings 3 Nov(3)) with the beached short-tailed shearwaters ?

Tim Reid of the Australian Seabird Group Beach Patrol Scheme in
his posting of 25 Oct recognised that this year there was very
high shearwater mortality and had tables which showed that for
Octobers from 1993 to 1999 in the Otways (Victoria) and northern
NSW, 1994 stood out as also having high mortality.

So what were the Swift Parrots doing in 1994 ? Well Sean
posting of 2 Nov said there were some in Phillip Island in Dec
1994 and, with my recent experience, I'm near certain that some
"possibles" I saw in Sandringham in Oct 1994 were indeed the
only other Swift Parrots I've seen here. 

Maybe someone with better data can check the correlations (and
any link to wind patterns).  And if there is a correlation, what
are the conservation implications and what sense can be made of
any "off-diagonal" observations ?

Imagine in the future kids saying how their grandparents said:
"If in October beached shearwaters there be,
Then this is the time swift parrots to see."

(This was written in honour of "Ramblin John" Gamblin,
contributor to community bird festivals and Birding-Aus quizzes,
generous donor of nest boxes and bird distribution analyses,
veteran of OH&S fights in BHP, author of good poems and (some)
poor jokes. "Let s/he who is without sin cast the first stone")  

They - the grandchildren I mean - won't, of course, if basic
swift parrot habitat continues to be cleared.  So, Victorians,
keep up the pressure on the ECC and State parliamentarians about
the Box-Ironbark proposals. The ECC report:
is long but, as I remember reading it, it says "here are some
proposals to preserve about 15% of these woodland communities -
they will cost 20 forestry jobs and stop mining".  Not enough
conservation and the tourism benefits could be much bigger than
20 jobs.

Michael Norris

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