Scarlet Honeyeater distribution, Victoria 2010

To: <>
Subject: Scarlet Honeyeater distribution, Victoria 2010
From: "Tim Dolby" <>
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 2010 14:16:48 +1000
Hi all,

Looking for something to do during lunch, here are some quick thoughts about 
Scarlet Honeyeater in Victoria. 2010 is proving to a remarkable year in terms 
of the presence of Scarlet Honeyeater in central Victoria. Their usual 
Victorian range during the summer months is Croajingolong NP in far-east of 
Victoria, and then west to about Fairy Dell (near Bruthen). They become 
increasing uncommon the further west you went. Here's a quick rundown of 2010's 

. Around Melbourne they've been seen at Banyule Flats (Heidelberg), Bourke Rd 
Bridge over Yarra (Kew), Bend of Islands (near Warrandyte), La Trobe Uni 
(Bundoora),  Koonung Creek Reserve (Mont Albert North), Warrandyte SP, 
Healesville Sanctuary and 100 Acres Reserve (Park Orchards).

. To the west and in central Victoria at Lerderderg Gorge, and with Swift 
Parrot south of Paddys Ranges, Maryborough and Killawarra Forest,  Porcupine 
Hill (east of Nagambie), Newstead and Castlemaine.

. To the east Coolart (Mornington Peninsula), Toolangi State Forest, Yellingbo 
Nature Reserve, Bald Hills Wetland Reserve (Tarwin Lower), and nearer their 
normal distribution Lakes Entrance township, Cabbage Tree Palms Reserve (near 
Marlo) and Cape Conran Conservation Reserve.

Scarlet Honeyeater is also being recorded very late in the season, with records 
still coming in think and fast, and it near the end of April. In previous years 
the vast majority of records were between September and December.

So why are we getting unprecedented numbers and such as wide distribution in 
east and central Victoria? It's been one of the best periods of eucalyptus 
flowering for years, specifically with species such as Mugga and Red Ironbark, 
Red Gum and Yellow Box. As a result other species such Swift Parrot are being 
seen in good numbers. Interestingly Scarlet Honeyeater has been seen with Swift 
Parrot at sites near Maryborough and at Killawarra. (Last year most Swift 
Parrot records came from the Mimosa Rocks NP near Tathra - south-east NSW - 
where they feed in flowering Spotted Gum. Apparently this year there has been 
lots of lorikeets, but no Swifties.) The reason for the good flowering must be 
linked to the high rainfall we've had this year; I heard somewhere that it was 
up 40 percent on the average. Also we have just passed through an unprecedented 
period of above average temperatures. For example Melbourne's temperature 
topped 20 degrees for well over 100 days straight, the longest stretch of its 
type in more than 150 years of measurement. The previous record was 78 days in 
the summer of 2000-01.

The rains and consequential good flowering late in the season partly explains 
why Scarlet Honeyeater are being recorded (in areas previously outside normal 
distribution). Link this with the late and continued periods of fine temperate 
weather and the conditions become perfect for Scarlet Honeyeater to spread into 
central Victoria - as opposed to moving northward up the east coast. With the 
recent cool change I suggested that sunny Victoria is about to lose all it's 
Scarlet Honeyeater, either to northern migration or attrition.


Tim Dolby

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