Orange-bellied Parrots near Sydney NSW

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Subject: Orange-bellied Parrots near Sydney NSW
From: "Alan Morris" <>
Date: Wed, 13 Aug 2003 09:52:58 +1000
Hi Birders,
At the risk of jumping in at the deep end, I would like to point out that there are a number of records for Orange-bellied Parrots in the Sydney area, and they all refer to the period 1903-1907. In 1903 five specimens were collected from Middle Head Sydney where they were reported to be "breeding in a hollow stump" and at the same time the species was  recorded as "numerous" at Penshurst, and breeding in the Bankstown district and a pair were captured at Riverstone (E.S. Hoskin 1991 The Birds of Sydney).
The fact that the species is now only known to breed in south-west Tasmania where they migrate in autumn across Bass Straight to coastal heaths and saltmarshes from Port Phillip Bay to Adelaide, puts the authenicity of those early records in doubt. Were those early Sydney records of escapees? For instances the remaining bits of bushland at Bankstown, Penshurst and Riverstone is not the sort of habitat where you would expect to find OBP feeding, while I think that there are no other mainland breeding records of OBP. Apparently the said specimens collected are not in the Australian Museum, so apparently they were misplaced or destroyed.
On the other hand, the Blue-winged Parrot also breeds in Tasmania and migrates across Bass Straight up through Victoria into mid western & western NSW, and there are a few records of this species turning up in coastal NSW to as far north as Towra Point, in Botany Bay, so its not inconceivable that the odd Orange-bellied Parrot could not move up along the NSW coast either, following migration in autumn and winter. Indeed one has been reported between 20-31 March 2003 at Bass Point, Shellharbour and I understand that a submission is being prepared for the NSW Rarities committee, so its not out of ther question that another should be seen in heathland at Maroubra Beach. However, if  as  Bas Henson is correct in his identification and there is indeed a bright sapphire metallic blue band on the right leg, that will hold the answer as to whether the bird is an escaped cage bird or one banded by OBP Study Group using the Australian Bird and Bat Banding Scheme bands. I look forward to hearing from the OBP Study Group because I don't think that a blue metallic band is one of theirs! Never the less coastal heath is where you would expect to find them in western Victoria or Tasmania so one at Maroubra heathlands is in the right place!.
However I have a Pale-heade Rosella comming to my  bird feeder here in Bateau Bay and last year about this time when up at Crescent Head, my son Tim and I saw a Naretha Blue-Bonnet ( ie from western South Australia) feeding at the edge of the large Belmore Swamp with Eastern Rosellas, so escapee parrots can be expected anywhere. 
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