Scarlet Honeyeater irruption?

To: <>
Subject: Scarlet Honeyeater irruption?
From: "Chris Healey" <>
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 2009 19:02:57 +1100
We seem to be in the midst of an irruption of Scarlet Honeyeaters here in
East Gippsland.  They are unusually numerous, particularly in moist riparian
forest in the Bairnsdale area and further east.  The species is a regular
summer visitor in small numbers, although rather more common in the far east
of the state at Mallacoota.  Odd birds have been recorded in recent years
even in winter near Bairnsdale.  The first record this year in our area was
in August at Fairy Dell (W of Bruthen to the NE of Bairnsdale).  Our local
birding group, EGBOC, has been conducting monthly surveys at Fairy Dell and
Monkey Creek (to the N of Bruthen) to monitor the recovery of bird
communities after the devastating East Gippsland fires of 2006-07 and
associated drought.


In the last few months Scarlet Honeyeater numbers have increased
dramatically at both sites, especially at Fairy Dell (a patch of
warm-temperate rainforest, which escaped the fires, but has been badly
affected by drought).  Today's survey at the Dell yielded 49 Scarlet
Honeyeaters seen/heard along our regular survey route of approx 1 km.  This
is certainly a conservative figure, with calling incessant on all sides!  I
estimate the density at around 5-10+ birds per hectare in the denser
vegetation along the lower slopes of the gully, far higher than densities
noted in HANZAB.  We also noted evidence of local breeding this morning,
with several fledglings observed.  These are the first breeding records in
our club archives.


Have similar unusually high concentrations been observed elsewhere?  Are
there correspondingly diminished populations in the species' more northerly





Chris Healey

East Gippsland Bird Observation & Conservation

PO Box 825, Bairnsdale, Vic 3875

Ph: (03) 5157 9036


[EGBOC is a regional branch of Bird Observation & Conservation Australia]



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