Birds and the heat

To: "" <>
Subject: Birds and the heat
From: David Geering <>
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2001 10:40:33 +1100
Over the past couple of months (since August!!) I have been spending a lot
of time in the Capertee Valley (eastern central NSW for the uninitiated)
working on various Regent Honeyeater projects.  

The last couple of weeks have seen more than their fair share of days with
temperatures greater than the old century.  This has made life interesting
for myself and assisting volunteers as we are now being forced to climb the
high scree slopes below the sandstone cliffs in search of our Regent
Honeyeaters (but that's another story).

On Tuesday Carol Probets and I tracked a Regent Honeyeater to a gully well
up the slope with a rainforesty understorey dominated by myrtle, Pittosporum
and even some Coachwood.  The temperature here was quite a bit cooler than
the 40+ degrees out on the rocky slopes to each side.  I think I almost died
three times on Tuesday!  There were at least three Regents in the gully
along with a large number of other honeyeaters, eight species observed,
coming in to drink at the isolated pools.  Little Lorikeets were also
sitting quietly in the gully and coming down to drink.

On our way back down we saw Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters under a low sandstone
overhang.  At first it seemed that they may have been after insects
sheltering from the heat but it is more probable that they were sheltering
themselves.  Further down the hill we saw a Little Lorikeet hanging upside
down from the rock under another overhang.  This bird could have been doing
nothing other than sheltering in the relative cool of the underside of the
rock.  We later saw Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters under another low rock
shelter.  Other birds seen in these situations included Rock Warblers
although this is a common occurrence for this species.  

Interestingly, while all the Regent Honeyeaters we are currently tracking
have invariably moved up the steep valley walls in the last month we located
another group of Regents on the Capertee River below Glen Davis.  The bird
in question had previously been seen well up the nearby slopes in previously
weeks.  I suggest that this is a direct response to the hot days being


David Geering

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g (Andrew S?), I think I am 
starting to see a pattern. It seems that a low tide will provide the 
best numbers at present. We have never done it in the morning, only 
in the afternoons, so goodness knows what the morning low tides 

At the end of the 12 months of observations, which will be July, all 
the data will be written up, and the results offered to anyone who 
can make use of them. The aim of the work is to detail the 
conservation value of the sandbanks, which are subject to increasing 
human disturbance. Caloundra Council is financing our boat hire, and 
Jupiter's Casino Community Benefit Fund gave us (the Sunshine Coast 
Ornithological Society) about $7000 for optical equipment.


Jill Dening
Sunshine Coast, Qld
26=BA 51'       152=BA 56'

Ph (07) 5494 0994

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