Post Fire surveys Woronora Plateau

Subject: Post Fire surveys Woronora Plateau
From: "Peter Ewin" <>
Date: Sat, 07 Oct 2006 10:27:54 +1000
This year was the final year of a six year program surveying birds of the catchment areas behind Wollongong (south of Sydney). Surveys were done in 2001 just prior to fires in Dec 2001/Jan 2002 for Wollong City Council, and Sydney Catchment Authority (SCA) kindly provided funding to survey both burnt and unburnt areas to determine the effect of the fire and recovery times. Bird surveys were done in swamps, woodland and tall forest, while spotlighting and herp searches were doen in the latter two communities. I have been involved since the start, so for consistency of results I was flown down to do part of the bird surveys. Thankfully the weather was kind so I achieved 35 2-hectare bird searches over the week in Woronora, Oh'Hares, Cataract and Cordeuax Catchments.
Cuckoos were common:
Fan-tailed & Shining Bronze - every day 2/10 to 6/10
Horsfield's Bronze - less common (usual;ly near swamp sights) 2/10 & 6/10
Pallid - Only one this year at Madden's Plains on the 2/10
No Channel-bills, Koels or Brush Cuckoo, though these are genearlly uncommon and I wasn't really in the right areas for the last species (more common further south in Cordeaux).
Spring migrants were about, but fairly uncommon:
Sacred Kingfisher - finally recorded on 5/10, but had apparently been at the same site the previous week.
Leaden Flycatcher - One on the 6/10
White-throated Nightjar - Heard (not by me) on the 3/10 & 5/10
Black-faced Monarch - Recorded 5/10 and 6/10. One site seen on the 5th had been to the previoius day, but not recorded (though possibly too late in the day) No Cicadabirds recorded, though still possibly a little early, and no Rufous Fantails, though not in great habitat.
Other interesting sightings:
After not seeing any Pheasant Coucals in five years (various other people had) I saw 3 in 1 day. A pair were flushed on Maddens Plains, and another was seen a little further north. White-browed Woodswallows were seen at two locations in Woronora on the 2/10 (15 and about 40) and another flock of 15 at Catarct Scout Camp on 5/10 Tawny-crowned HE, Beautiful Firetails & Grey Currawong were all found. Southern Emu-wrens in particular seemed very common this year. No Quolls this year, but a Broad-headed Snake was found (and no I am not going to reveal where). As I said this is the last year of surveys, and because I will be doing duck surveys I will miss the final week. In some ways I will miss my regular spring visits to the area (particularly Cataract Catchment) but I certainly won't miss pushing through spiny Hakea over my head, Banksia thickets or doing bird surveys in burnt woodland that still struggles to contain more than 2 species).


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