To: <>
Subject: RSB
From: "Peter Ekert" <>
Date: Mon, 7 Jan 2002 10:27:05 +1100

Rufous Scrub-bird Monitoring Program 2001

Summary of 2001 Survey at Barrington Tops and Border Ranges

The main aim of the 2001 Rufous Scrub-bird Atrichornis rufescens survey was to assess the abundance of the species and assess if there were any changes in the abundance of Rufous Scrub-birds over the monitoring period (1999-2004) in north-east NSW. Surveys for 2001 were conducted in five locations including Barrington Tops, Border Ranges, Gibraltar Range/Washpool, New England, and Werrikimbie National Parks.

The surveys for Rufous Scrub-birds at Barrington Tops NP were held on the weekend of the 24th & 25th November, 2001 and 8th & 9th December, 2001. A team of 14 volunteer bird-watchers traveled to Barrington Tops to participate in the surveys. The group comprised of bird-watchers from Queensland, Port Macquarie, Gloucester, Scone, Newcastle, Liverpool Plains, and Sydney with the majority of these bird-watchers having previously participated in the 1999 and 2000 Rufous Scrub-bird surveys.

On the 24th & 25th November, 2001, a total of 8 male Rufous Scrub-birds were detected across 67 survey sites during the survey period. The majority of these birds were detected in identical locations to previous surveys. However, there were some new territories identified. Outside the survey period, either en route to another survey site or upon returning from the day’s survey, another 5 male Rufous Scrub-birds were recorded. Some of the teams were fortunate enough to get some good glimpses of this cryptic species, as the bird ran mouse-like from a higher patch of scrub where it was calling back into the dense understorey of shrubs and ferns. At one location, a male Rufous Scrub-bird was observed mimicking a Fan-tailed Cuckoo. White-throated Treecreeper, and Grey Shrike-Thrush. This bird was only vocalising these calls, which made detection just that little bit more difficult. On the 8th and 9th December, 2001, 6 male Rufous Scrub-birds were recorded across 68 survey sites, with another 3 male Rufous Scrub-birds recorded as incidental records.

On the weekend of 1st-2nd December, 2001 and the 11th-12th December, 2001 surveys for Rufous Scrub-birds were conducted in the Border Ranges National Park. The surveys were focussed on the eastern section of the Border Ranges, which included Bar Mountain, Paddys Mountain, The Pinnacle, & Brindle Creek. A team of 13 volunteer bird-watchers from Broken Head, Murwillumbah, Kyogle, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, and Lismore participated in the surveys.

During the 1st-2nd December, 2001, 4 male Rufous Scrub-birds were detected across 134 survey sites during the survey period. The majority of these birds were detected in identical locations to previous surveys. Some RSB’s were not calling during the survey time and as such, 12 male Rufous Scrub-birds were recorded as incidental records. During the 11th and 12th December, 2001, 10 male Rufous Scrub-birds were recorded across 135 sites during the survey period, with another 6 male Rufous Scrub-birds recorded as incidental records.

In summary:

  • For survey one, 12 Rufous Scrub-birds were recorded across both locations during the 7/1/2 minute listening period. For survey two, 16 birds were recorded;

  • For survey one, 17 incidental records were made across both locations. For survey two, 9 incidental records were made

  • In both regions, new Rufous Scrub-bird territories were identified during 2001.

  • It is interesting to note that some Rufous Scrub-birds in the Border Ranges were only heard calling in the afternoon period.

I would like to thank the team of volunteers: Bruce Blackford, Judy Blackford, Robert Carnes, Colleen Carnes, David Charley, Liz Crawford, Syd Curtis, Bob Dinnie, John Hanson, Lyla Hanson, Christoper Herbert, Gail Hill, Sue Kitchen, Lorraine Johnstone, Valdamay Jones, Ian Kerr, Helen Manning, Greg Newling, Geraldine McCarthy, Andy Reimanis, Paul Rodgers, Shane Ruming, Dave Whitfield, Kelvin Wykes who participated in this years surveys. Well done everybody!!!

Peter Ekert

NPWS Rufous Scrub-bird Survey Co-ordinator

(Barrington Tops & Border Ranges)

The Wetlands Centre
PO Box 292
Ph. 02 49516466 Mob. 0410566104 Fax. 02 49501875

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