less metallic starlings this year???

Subject: less metallic starlings this year???
From: Alexandra Appleman <>
Date: Wed, 17 Dec 1997 12:55:03 +1000 (EST)
Can anyone else in the tropics comment on reduced metallic starling
numbers this year?

I am just completing the numbers of species and birds recorded in the
Challenge Bird Count around Ingham.  We got 152 species, slightly down on
last year, but increased numbers of waders, thanks to the use of a boat at
Lucinda.  The total counted was 5700+ with magpie geese accounting for 25%
of all birds counted.  But metallic starling numbers were only a third of
those counted last year. Perhaps some of their old nesting sites were 
destroyed when Tropical Cyclone Justin crossed the coast in late February,
or perhpas last year was a 'bumper' year for metallic starlings????  

Any suggestions?  How do numbers reported compare at Cairns and Ravenshoe?

For overseas subscribers: Ingham is in North Queensland, approximately  
1500 kms north of Brisbane at latitude 18.3 degrees south of the equator.  
It is predominantly a sugar growing area with the crop grown extensively
aross the coastal and flood plain.  It is flanked by scenic mountains 
heavily covered in rainforest; but also has good areas of coastal scrub,
tidal sand flats, mangroves and wetlands. 

It's a very good area for owls with 7 species seen regularly plus 2
species of nightjar and the australian owlet nightjar.  Owl numbers
have declined in recent years due to widespread use of ratsac by cane
farmers. Rat numbers increased following the clearing of riparian
vegetation but now the situation is being addressed by 1) revegetation of
riparian zones; 2) siting of owl nesting boxes 3) reduced usage of
poisons on an industry-wide basis.

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