Orange-bellied Parrot search, French Island (Vict.)

Subject: Orange-bellied Parrot search, French Island (Vict.)
Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2006 11:47:33 +1000
Saturday, 22 July 2006.

A good day out for the Friends of French Island (FoFI) trip to French 
Island in Western Port Bay on the national Birds Australia Orange-bellied 
Parrot (OBP) search.  Conditions were ideal, with plenty of clear blue 
skies and sunshine.  Little or no breeze meant we could hear any birds 
that  were calling nearby.

The island has recorded few Neophema parrots on the search day in recent 
years, but in the weeks leading up to the day Parks Victoria rangers 
usually observe parrots at certain localities.

There were 16 FoFI members including a few new members.  This meant we 
could divide our efforts into three areas of suitable Neophema habitat 
(saltmarsh) in an attempt to detect whatever species may be about.

My group searched Tortoise Head , Tankerton area and the coastal saltmarsh 
up towards Chilcott Rocks while other groups searched the northern 
shoreline of the island (Gartsides and part of The Ducks Splash).

Overall we detected two groups of Blue-winged Parrots, both in saltmarsh just 
south of Chilcott Rocks on the west coast north 
of Tankerton.  No Orange-bellied Parrots were heard or seen on the day.

other highlights for the three groups was
- 16 Cape Barren Geese with 5 chicks in attendance on Overpass Road
- seizable flocks of Double-banded Plover at The Ducks Splash and near 
Tortoise Head
- the 'usual' banded Pied Oystercatchers at various beach locations
- large numbers (40 +) of White-faced Herons in the Tortoise Head 
- a few large flocks of Goldfinches (up to 40 birds) in saltmarsh 
vegetation, and
- superb views of Swamp Harrier, Brown Falcon (calling loudly/displaying) 
and Australian Kestrel

The island is a great day trip from Melbourne.  The French Island National 
Park now has a new walking track that runs from Tankerton Creek up to 
Chilcott Rocks.  At the southern end of the track is a newly-constructed 
(partly made from the old Tankerton jetty) lookout giving good views of 
the west coast of the island and Tankerton.

Data collected on the day will be forwarded to the OBP co-ordinator and 
Atlas of Victorian Wildlife where appropriate.

Thanks for all those who attended and to Parks Victoria for transport 
support on the day  It was an enjoyable day out for all.


Martin O'Brien
Wildlife Biologist
Threatened Species & Communities Section
Department of Sustainability and Environment
2/8 Nicholson St. (PO Box 500), East Melbourne  3002

Tel: 9637 9869
(prefixes: Interstate 03 International 613)

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