Wattle Flat, Royal and Fires

To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Wattle Flat, Royal and Fires
From: "Brian Everingham" <>
Date: Sun, 13 Jan 2002 11:53:17 +1100
I visited Wattle Flat, Audley in Royal National Park today for an hour or so, between 8.00am and 9.30am. It was a warm sunny day and a good time to check on the impact of fire in this section of the Park.
Wattle Flat is on the western bank of the Hacking River and the last picnic area before it merges into riverine rainforest and sclerophyll. It is the site of regular bush regeneration and they have had some success over the past few years.
The fires got right into this area and many of the Cabbage Tree Palms have been burnt. The ecotone is singed badly and the fire did go through the flat in several places all the way to the water line. Nevertheless there is still an intact canopy and much of the rainforest is safe.
We managed to find two very active Brown Antechinus, even at this late stage in the morning. They were active, alert and in good condition. One was almost confiding, though its bravery was augmented by its relative closeness to an entry to a burrow!
Of the birds we saw/heard (51 species in total) it was pleasing to note just how many were juveniles. There were several active Fantail Cuckoos in merging adult plumage, foraging for grubs ... and succeeding!. An Eastern Yellow Robin cared for two rather sprightly young, on the move. Juvenile Black Faced Monarchs were there amidst a rather large group of adults and we watched a Noisy Friarbird tending a nest.
We saw several Rufous Fantails, a male Golden Whistler, several Grey Fantails, Large Billed, Yellow Throated and White Browed Scrub Wrens and more than the usual Brown Gerygones. The Eastern Whipbirds were also easy to spot. At leat two mature male Satin Bowerbirds were also visible, as was a male Leaden Flycatcher. Up in the burnt out slope and across the river we heard both Wonga Pigeon and Brown Cuckoo Dove calling. We heard one Superb Lyrebird but did not see it. We have not seen it here for a while now. I think it has moved across the river. We also failed to see Green Catbird (not seen or heard by me this season, including before the fires), Pilotbird (its favourite location is burnt out) and Eastern Spinebill.
Nevertheless the total list of 51 species is pleasing. I will continue to monitor.
Brian Everingham
PO Box 269
NSW 2233
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