ACT Honeyeater influx

To: <>
Subject: ACT Honeyeater influx
From: "Stephen Ambrose" <>
Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2007 16:36:29 +1000
Hi Peter,

Given the large amount of rainfall across much of south-eastern Australia (including inland areas) over the last few weeks, I'm not that suprised that a White-fronted Honeyeater (WFHE) has been recorded in the ACT.

A huge influx (thousands) of WFHE's into the mallee woodland around the Eyre Bird Observatory (EBO) in Western Australia occurred in 1982 while I was conducting my Ph.D there. Prior to that time (1975-81) the WFHE was recorded at Eyre only as a very occasional vagrant. The influx coincided with very heavy rainfall at Eyre and subsequent copious flowering of the mallee. WFHEs remained the most abundant honeyeater around Eyre for the next 3 years, but then moved on (to where? I don't know). Interestingly, the Purple-gaped Honeyeater was one of the most common honeyeater species at Eyre prior to the arrival of the WFHEs, but virtually disappeared from the area when the WFHE moved in en masse. My feeling is that the WFHE competively excluded the PGHE from the area by sheer force of numbers.

Peter Congreve, the Warden at Eyre Bird Observatory from 1981-85 was in an unprecedented situation of being able to study in detail the moulting patterns of WFHEs, the results of which were eventually published in the Corella.

I don't know if there have been similar invasions of WFHEs at Eyre since then.


Dr Stephen Ambrose
PO Box 246,
Ryde NSW 1680

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