Swift Parrots feeding in "Irony" Bark

To: "Birding-Aus" <>
Subject: Swift Parrots feeding in "Irony" Bark
From: "Sean Dooley" <>
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2004 23:45:58 +1000
This happened a few weeks ago but due to the wonderful efficiency of Telstra
(they forgot to re-connect me- twice!-when I moved house) I have essentially
been off line for the past three months.

Back on the last weekend of July I was part of the Swift Parrot Survey. My
patch was the Box-Ironbark forests centred on the tiny Central Victorian
town of Moliagul (about 65km West of Bendigo). It was a pretty successful
trip with 83 Swift Parrots found over the two days.

But what was particularly memorable- well depressing would be more apt- was
when I located up to six Swift Parrots feeding in Red Ironbark and Yellow
Gum along McIntyre Road in the Moliagul Forest block. While it was great to
see the birds darting from tree to tree happily feeding in the blossom,
immediately below them were the remnants of a recent logging operation- so
recent that the crowns of the felled Ironbarks still had clusters of dying
flowers in them.

As part of the monumentally drawn out and politically sensitive negotiations
to preserve the remnants of Victoria's Box-Ironbark woodlands at places like
Rushworth and Bendigo, this forest block was one of those sacrificed to
logging interests in the compromise. And while there was obviously enough
flowering in the trees they had left standing to keep at least these six
birds in the area for at least that day, one can't help but wonder how many
more the forest could support if they had left those ironbarks standing.

I know the timber cutters were well within their rights to do what they were
doing, it just seems particularly galling to have cut them down right at the
peak time for Swifties. As I stood contemplating the scene, the Swifties
around me were not only giving their typical tinkling flight call, but also
whilst feeding were giving their Rosella-like chuckle call. Perhaps they
were appreciating the cruel irony far more than I.

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