Regent honeyeaters on the NSW North Coast

Subject: Regent honeyeaters on the NSW North Coast
Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2005 11:35:15 +1000

Greg is certainly right that the number of Regent Honeyeaters on the NSW North Coast is probably not large.  They are, after all, a nationally endangered species.

One of life's great mysteries is where do the Regent Honeyeaters that breed in the Bundarra - Barraba area (west of Armidale) go outside the breeding season.  If we assume they follow a similar pattern to those breeding in the Capertee Valley (where we have good data due largely to a greater number of birds, including colour-banded individuals, and more observers) then it is more than likely that, in some years at least, a significant proportion of that population would end up in coastal, and near coastal, areas.

There are tantalising records of Regents feeding on Callistemon on the Upper Macleay, west of Kempsey, during summer in 2000, 2002 and 2004 that suggests there may be movement down the gorges that cut into the tablelands.  There are also records further north in the Spotted Gum forests south of Casino - some involving quite significant numbers - as well as in Swamp Mahogany around Evans Head.  There have also been two records in coastal heath at Minnie Water, on the coast east of Grafton.  Also interesting are the records around Coffs Harbour - Glenreagh in 2001, Upper Corindi in 2002, Coffs airport 2002, Bellingen 2002 and now Sawtell, Scotts Head and Valla in 2005.  Add to those records from the Port Macquarie area in 2002 and 2004 and Wauchope (my home town and the last place I'd expect to see Regent Honeyeaters!) also in 2004.

The big problem with locating Regent Honeyeaters now is the small population, the large area in which they are likely to be found and the relatively small number of observers.  They are out there - it's just a matter of being in the right place at the right time and, most importantly, being aware that they are a possibility.

By the way, why not take up the challenge and take part in the Regent Honeyeater/Swift Parrot Search Days (conducted in May & August each year).  The first of the 2005 Search Days will be 14-15 May.  We encourage people to take this excuse to go out birdwatching.  We simply ask that you fill in a survey form for each spot you visit and record all nectarivorous birds seen (as well as other threatened woodland birds) regardless of whether you locate either of the focal species.

If you are interested in participating simply contact myself (details below) or Debbie Saunders (Swift Parrot Project Officer) on or phone Freecall 1800 665 766.


David Geering
Regent Honeyeater Recovery Coordinator
Department of Environment & Conservation
P.O. Box 2111
Dubbo  NSW  2830
Ph: 02 6883 5335 or Freecall 1800 621 056
Fax: 02 6884 9382

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