Searching for Regent Honeyeaters in Central Western NSW.

To: "birding aus" <>
Subject: Searching for Regent Honeyeaters in Central Western NSW.
From: "Judie Peet" <>
Date: Mon, 27 May 2002 10:53:09 +1000
Hi Everyone.
Once again my mate Janis and I went out a-huntin' Regent Honeyeaters and Swift Parrots, but if those birds were in the Central West of NSW this weekend, they nicked off when they saw us coming. As usual, we will file a nil sightings return.
We covered a fair amount of country, from Dubbo to Mendooran, then east for a ways, then north towards Gilgandra, and up and down many back roads in the area. We found some areas of great roadside remnant vegetation, a fair amount containing the shrubby casuarinas that our local Glossy Black-Cockatoos favour, complete with lots of "chewings" to show that the Glossies HAD been through. Interesting to see, in the carpet of chewed cone fragments, a mix of ages, with some older chewings faded to grey-white and the fresher ones yellow to orange.
Of course we couldn't go through from Dubbo to Mendooran without calling in to Goonoo State Forest, so we did a forest search for Regents/Swifties. The forest looked soft and green, much more so than the surrounding countryside which is suffering from lack of rain - but the forest may have benefited from the patchiness of recent showers. There was no blossom on the ironbarks, and no lerps that we could see. Another main interest of ours, the casuarinas, looked healthy and were loaded with cones of varying stages of development.
As I said, no luck with our search for the elusive Regents and Swift Parrots, , BUT we saw Malleefowl.
We intended to just go check out a mound to see how deeply it was excavated, and if there were any old and unhatched eggs (it happens sometimes) ~ that sort of boring stuff. To our astonishment there was not just one, but TWO Malleefowl scratching away in the excavated mound, and around the edges. An amazing sight in May, when this pair should have still been on holiday, acting lazy and getting fat,  before beginning the hard work of  raking up debris and refilling the mound sometime in June or July. (See my post, 'Malleefowl in Goonoo', of 5 July 2001) We thought that recent good rain (there were lots of puddles and moss on the ground) might have been a trigger for HIS mounding instincts, but have no idea why SHE was on the scene.  We didn't want to disturb them, so didn't go in close enough to see if he had started to rake up a windrow of fallen leaves and litter. Last year the mound was full of litter by July 5, which was a few weeks earlier than is usual here... are the Goonoo Malleefowl starting work earlier and earlier?
As I'm fond of saying: The only thing certain about bird watching is that nothing's certain! (Tony Russell thinks I pinched that saying from him but I didn't, honest Tony... though I would have, if I'd know that you use it too!)
Judie Peet (Dubbo NSW)
(The only thing certain about bird watching is that nothing's certain!)
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