An urban oasis

Subject: An urban oasis
Date: Fri, 21 Nov 2003 10:17:23 +1100

Visited the Armidale (NSW Northern Tablelands) and Tamworth (NSW North-west slopes) areas earlier this week in what turned out to be a rather fruitless search for Regent Honeyeaters (I saw exactly what I expected - none).

Many of the streets of Tamworth are lined with mature Silky Oak and these are flowering prolifically at the moment. Given that there have been quite a number of records of Regent Honeyeaters in the Tamworth area over spring (see Annabel Ashworth's postings about Regents in her garden) I would not be surprised if they had moved into town to take advantage of this nectar supply.  The Silky Oaks were being visited by Noisy Friarbirds, Red Wattlebirds, Musk and Rainbow Lorikeets.  While I'm aware that Rainbow Lorikeets have been found further west than this, Tamworth must be slightly outside their usual range.  I also saw Rainbow Lorikeets in Armidale.

Of particular, non-bird related, interest was a camp of about 5000 Little Red Flying-foxes in town.  These animals have taken up residence in an area of about 6-8 suburban blocks, roosting in Silky Oaks, eucalypts and assorted trees.  They are making a real mess and are probably not welcome visitors by the residents.

The presence of the bats probably underscores the lack of resources in the bush at the moment.  I was speaking to an apiarist yesterday while he was moving his bees from a flowering Yellow Box on the western edge of the Liverpool Plain (SW of Gunnedah).  He stated that while the flowering looked great his bees were starving as there was no nectar flow.

I wasn't able to spend as much time in Tamworth as I would have liked - it's still quite possible that there are Regent Honeyeaters present in the town as there just doesn't seem to be much in the way of resources elsewhere.  
Another interesting record in Tamworth was a Pale-headed Rosella.  While certainly present not far to the north (Bingara) and west (Gunnedah ??) this was a real surprise to me.


David Geering
Regent Honeyeater Recovery Coordinator
Department of Environment & Conservation
P.O. Box 2111
Dubbo  NSW  2830
Ph: 02 6883 5335 or Freecall 1800 621 056
Fax: 02 6884 9382

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