Re. Second spring.

To: "BA email" <>
Subject: Re. Second spring.
From: "simon starr" <>
Date: Fri, 11 Dec 2009 22:03:03 +1100
Hi Peter and all,

The mallee of northern Victoria is similarly kicking on, with most of the 
arrivals from earlier in spring hanging around and calling again.  In recent 
years migrant numbers have been low, and many have moved away by later in 
spring/early summer.
We have also had some nice rains recently, and the current cool weather had 
everything in full song this week up in Hattah, Murray Sunset and Wyperfeld 
National Parks.

Makes you wonder if the bush birds have a sixth sense that the summer is going 
to continue in a similar vein, ( how do those waterbirds know when to move ?),
or is it going to come to a sudden end when we get some more extreme heat?

Chestnut Quail-thrush and Crested Bellbirds have been more vocal than I've 
heard for some time, Trillers and Songlarks continue their displays, Malleefowl 
continue to work their mounds and Woodswallows are in abundance everywhere you 
go, including many flocks along mallee roadsides.  Cuckoos are still calling , 
even Black-eared , and a pleasant change to see the huge grain receival depots 
in operation ( that cleared mallee is being useful ).
Parrot numbers generally seem to be as high as ever in the mallee, though Pink 
Cockatoos may be the exception with no large numbers observed recently.

Striated Grasswrens have gone through a breeding cycle, but Mallee Emu-wrens 
have seemingly vanished from the areas I have found them most reliably over the 
last few years.  There has been a very noticeable decline in their numbers over 
the last 4 or 5 years, to the point now where I'm struggling to find them at 
I think that their current status as endangered is well justified, with numbers 
being at a low, and the threat of bushfire very real.  I am still finding 1's 
and 2's but the days of finding 6 or 8 at a time are long gone.

Areas of Emubush that have been attracting so many Black and Pied Honeyeaters 
are starting to decline, with fruiting taking place and not as much flowering, 
but honeyeaters still remain in some numbers.

The Lakes at Hattah have a range of waterbirds, and no doubt will remain very 
lively throughout the summer.

Great to see conditions so improved, for the moment at least.

Simon Starr,
Firetail Tours.

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