Disappearing Crescent Honeyeaters

To: "birds" <>
Subject: Disappearing Crescent Honeyeaters
From: "Tony Russell" <>
Date: Sun, 25 Mar 2001 15:28:09 +0930
Sunday 25th, a wild wet and windy day. Notwithstanding that there was no way I was staying indoors so I took myself off into the nearby Adelaide Hills.
Birding was difficult because of the wind and rain but I immediately noticed that, like last weekend, the hills were alive with Crescent Honeyeaters, Phylidonyris pyrrhoptera halmaturina, the isolate population of Kangaroo Island and Adelaide Hills. This is not always the case, at times they are very hard to find, but they are not known to be migratory. So, where do they go?
Schodde & Mason p310 suggest some trans Backstairs Passage i.e., between the mainland and KI, movement for this race (and trans Tasman movement for the SE Aust and Tasmanian race P. p. pyrrhoptera), and Pizzey & Knight p 396 pronounce them as common, but seasonally dispersive.  This sounds plausible (evasive?), but when they are virtually absent from the Adelaide Hills there is no sudden increase on Kangaroo Island or vice versa, so where do they go?  Pizzey also suggests they are subject to widespread breeding in high country in summer, dispersing to lowlands in autumn - winter. This is reasonable for the SE states and Tasmania where the high country gets very cold, but SA doesn't have any high country to compare with NSW/Vic and Tasmania - it's all fairly low, and in any case it's now autumn and the Crescents are in what small hills there are in SA.
 I have witnessed the movement to high country in summer in Tasmania, an almost complete exodus occurs, but they are easily found in the hills once they leave the lowlands and vice versa.
In SA they seem to disappear almost completely, then suddenly appear again as at present. So, once again, where do they go?
Any ideas?
Adelaide birding by 4WD 
phone: 08 8337 5959
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