Autumn Honeyeater Migration

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Autumn Honeyeater Migration
From: Carol Probets <>
Date: Fri, 15 Apr 2016 10:39:16 +0000
Hi all,

Good to hear some migrating honeyeaters are being seen in Sydney. Here in the 
Blue Mountains, it’s turning into a fantastic migration this autumn. If anyone 
wants to see what is one of the great spectacles of Australian birdlife, this 
is the year to try!

This morning our volunteer counters at Shipley recorded an amazing 3900 birds 
flying over in their 20-minute sample. This translates to 11,700 birds per hour 
and is the highest result we’ve ever had for a count since the project began in 

Last Saturday morning the Faulconbridge count was the highest for that site 
since the project began (1195 birds in 20 mins). The majority of the migrating 
birds are Yellow-faced Honeyeaters. However we do get waves of different 
species. Last Monday I counted 270 Noisy Friarbirds moving along Narrow Neck 
peninsula. This morning at least 100 more were counted.

This is the sixth year of our monitoring project and we have volunteers 
counting at 4 sites across the mountains EVERY MORNING from 4th April until 
17th May. The reason we count so frequently is to capture the huge day-to-day 
variation, as the numbers can range from zero to thousands per hour at a single 
site, depending on weather and other factors.

Apart from Yellow-faced, there are significant numbers of White-naped (which 
generally increase in number as we move into May); also Silvereyes, Spotted and 
Striated Pardalotes, Red Wattlebirds, Noisy Friars and occasionally other 
species. For example on Monday a Yellow-tufted moved through with the migrating 
flocks on Narrow Neck.

Anyone hoping to see this spectacle needs to be flexible with their days. Come 
up on a morning with blue sky and not too windy. Biggest numbers are usually 
between about 9.30 and 11am. If there is cloud cover, or the wind's blowing the 
wrong way, you might see nothing. Best sites to try include Shipley Road 
anywhere before the junction with Megalong Valley Road (be careful of traffic). 
Our counters survey from the corner of Helvetia Road where the birds cross 
Shipley Road after having come up the gully from Megalong Valley. 

But for eye-level viewing of the migration along with scenery and variety, my 
favourite site is Narrow Neck (Glenraphael Drive, off Cliff Drive at Katoomba). 
There are various points along the peninsula where you’ll see them. Our count 
site is past the Golden Stairs parking area, just before the concrete hill.

Good luck to anyone coming up to see them! It’s a truly wonderful experience if 
you strike it lucky on a good day.



Carol Probets
Blue Mountains NSW
(Wearing my coordinator hat for Blue Mtns Bird Observers Honeyeater Migration 

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