Swift Parrots

Subject: Swift Parrots
From: "David Parker" <>
Date: Mon, 12 Aug 2002 14:13:34 +1000
Hello all,

To add to the discussions on the Swift Parrot, I thought it time to write a short note on observations made in the Berrigan area.

During the count weekend (3/8/02) I took the opportunity to visit some of the local southern Riverina localities where Yellow Box and/or Grey Box may be providing suitable resources to the parrots. Starting from Deniliquin I headed eastish, down the Upper Tocumwal Road to a few sites where Yellow Box is dominant. These sites though showed little flowering, and not lerp obvious to the eye. Buds though were numerous, and whilst not the parrot of attention for the weekend, I observed a large group of Superb Parrots feeding on these. This area, 'Tuppal', is a rather well-known area for which to see Superbs, almost year round.

Moving on I continued to advance towards Tocumwal (on the Murray River), stopping at anything with potential, listening and moving on. As I was close to Berrigan and had had no luck so far, I decided to head on to Berrigan to see if I could catch a glimpse or two in the town where they had been observed about a weel prior in introduced eucalypts planted in house gardens. On heading there though I had to pass by the Monara Vale TSR (AMG 390763e 60 436655n), a site known to me as being particularly birdy, with few Noisy Miners. On pulling up the distinct call of the Swifty was heard. The place was full, and no Noisy's to be seen or heard.

Whilst birds flew here and there and back again I set my eyes on one particular Yellow Box, which while not flowering was full of buds and birds. Putting the binos down I counted as Swifties flew in. First a group of 12 then 5, and until the first one flew out I counted 38 fly in. Lifting back the binos to my eyes I observed no Swifties gleaning over the leaves, or going for blossum, all were working on buds.

Across the road planted eucalypts including Ironbarks, Lemon-scented Gumd and other Western Australian species were flowering in abundance, but no Swift Parrot, for the time that I was there, was seen to use them.

My thoughts then went to the other nearby potentials of Wahgunyah and Berrigan State Forests. My plans though were ended by the biggest of storm clounds, a clap of thunder, a strike of lightning and then the torrential downpour that followed.

Heading back to Monara Vale almost a week later (9/8/02) with Rick Webster and John Naimo again the Swifties were there to be seen. Again they were at work feeding on buds, whilst the occasional bird went for flower in the Yellow Box or lerp on the Grey Box. A count this time of 20 birds was made, standing though in one location, with the probablity that this figure would be increased if time permitted a more thorough search.

On both occasions the small bird population was high. White-plumed Honeyeaters and Striated Pardalotes being by far most abundant. A solitary Red Wattlebird was observed on the count weekend, and no Noisy Miners at all.

David Parker
Wildlife Extension Officer
Deniliquin, NSW

ph 03 5881 3429
mobile 0428 236 263

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