Black-eared Miner update

To: "" <>
Subject: Black-eared Miner update
From: Rohan Clarke <>
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 2002 17:05:13 +1000
Hi All,
Last week I returned to Melbourne after a three week field trip to the
Murray Sunset National Park (NW Vic), Gluepot Reserve (SA) and Calperum Stn
(SA). As with other recent field work the bulk of our time was spent
searching for our translocated Black-eared Miners in Victoria. We were again
well supported by b-a list members and others...THANK YOU. Between the four
of us (Ray Lloyd, George Appleby, Mark Antos and myself) we walked about 290
km of transects over the three week period. 
Results weren't quite as exciting as last year (see largely because
there was very little breeding activity in the mallee and the miners were
not responsive to either the presence of observers or call play-back.
Instead they were very quite and elusive, which we have found to be typical
behaviour in non-breeding periods. We made contact with three colonies in
the Murray Sunset National Park. While none of these were our translocated
birds all were colonies we were aware of. To reinforce just how elusive they
were this autumn multiple visits to all three colonies in the days
immediately following the initial contact failed to relocate any miners!
Things are very dry in the mallee at the moment (about the driest I've seen
it in 5 years) so we have our fingers crossed for some good rains before
spring when the miners are most likely to breed next. Whenever the miners do
next choose to breed we anticipate that most if not all our translocated
colonies will be more easily located!

A week spent on Gluepot and neighbouring properties produced similar results
and while we made contact with quite a few more miner colonies (they occur
at a much higher density here than in the Murray Sunset) activity was still
very subdued and the miners were elusive.

The trip also produced some other good sightings for participants including
Red-lored (Vic) and Gilbert's Whistlers, Striated Grasswren (Vic and SA),
Mallee Emu-wren (Vic), Malleefowl (a total of 7 birds seen in Vic and SA),
lots of Hooded Robins, Shy heathwren, Chestnut Quail-thrush, Regent Parrots,
Scarlet-chested Parrots (5-6 at Gluepot) and Major Mitchell's (just 2 in
both Vic and SA). Also quite a few reptile sp. inc Mallee-short tailed Snake
(Suta nigriceps)1 each in Vic and SA; Southern Spiny-tailed Gecko
(Diplodactylus intermedius); Burton's Legless Lizard (Lialis burtonis) and
about 10 mammals mostly introduced species but inc. a probable Common

If anybody wishes to help out in the future we will almost certainly be
looking for more assistance in the September-December period of this year. 

Once again many thanks to the participants for all their help.
Happy birding

Rohan Clarke
PhD Candidate
'Conservation Biology of the Black-eared Miner'
Department of Zoology
La Trobe University
Bundoora Vic. 3083
Tel 03 9479 1672
Fax 03 94791551
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