Mainland water birds in Tasmania

Subject: Mainland water birds in Tasmania
From: Ian May <>
Date: Mon, 31 Oct 2011 09:08:28 +1100
g'Day all

In the past months there has been a gradual build up of waterbirds in the St Helens area. However in the past fortnight, numbers appear to have increased rapidly probably as a result of mainland bird breeding events earlier this year and probably indicating also that inland conditions for them are on the decline..
The St Helens area sojourners include

White-eyed Duck (Hardhead) Several hundred birds in the area. At one local farm dam there were more than 100 and the farmer tells me they have been there for about two weeks, some feeding in grazing paddocks. Most years we see up to 20 in the area. Grey Teal About 30 birds at the Stieglitz sewer ponds. About two years ago there were three at the same location.

White-faced Heron About a hundred birds can be found feeding around the estuary margins of George Bay

Australian Pelican The local resident population of about 20 to 30 birds has swelled to about 200 and increasing by the day

Little Black Cormorant.  600+ presently in George Bay, usually 200+.

Chris Baxter wrote about the recent influx of waterbirds at Kangaroo Island SA see . <>After the 1974 floods, as water receded from inland Australia, by 1977 large numbers of waterbirds were reported in many areas around Australia. Pelicans were reported from New Guinea and New Zealand as well as backyard swimming pools in many suburban areas. At about that time we also experienced a coastal irruption of Letter-winged Kites and other inland species near Southend SA.

Natural habitats in the St Helens area are currently in post flood, prime condition with full swamps, lakes and dams teeming with life and the forests breaking into spectacular bloom.. I would be interested to hear when others observe local bird population changes. Are these observations indicating the beginning of another stage in the Australian boom bust cycle or are we just observing a local natural phenomenon.


Ian May
St Helens, Tasmania


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