Tasmanian Endemics and the OBP Situation at Melaleuca

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Subject: Tasmanian Endemics and the OBP Situation at Melaleuca
From: "Richard King" <>
Date: Wed, 4 Jan 2012 10:48:04 +0800
Hi All,


First, I would just like to thank again those people that emailed me with
information about the Tasmanian endemic sites and also the great volunteers
at Melaleuca who kindly showed us around and helped us to get the
Orange-bellied Parrots in the nick of time.


My wife and I visited Peter Murrell Reserve and Bruny Island which got us
most of the endemics pretty quickly, except for Scrubtit. Bruny Island was
great for Forty-spotted Pardalotes, especially staying at Inala, which
basically had them almost outside the bedroom window. During our stay we
also searched everywhere for Swift Parrots, but couldn't find many flowering
gums anywhere on the island or mainland. We were told by the locals it's
been a very bad year for flowering. We couldn't get Srubtit at any locations
(eg Ferntree) that people suggested near Hobart, but found them fairly
common and showing well at the Cradle Mountain campgrounds and also on the
walk to Black Bluff at Loongana. Maybe they spend the summer on higher


As for the OBPs at Melaleuca, our flight package was suppose to be a full
day, but had to be cut short to a half day, due to impending thunderstorms
at Hobart in the afternoon.  There are always 4 variables with this flight,
the out and back at Hobart and the in and out at Melaleuca, so be prepared
to cut it short or not being able to fly.

Our birding time there had been cut very short, but we were lucky to meet up
with some helpful staff. The pilot was also great and said he would come
along or at least point us in the right direction. My suggestion is bring a
scope as some trees are a fair way from the track or in locations near the
private no entry 'homes'. The old hide (which is a great 'English' style
wooden hide) is still open but has no feeding station, hopeful it can reused
in time. The new hide is a small tent (only about 2 people), it had an old
scope, but don't rely on it to be there as it is used at other locations
sometimes. The main trouble is that by the time your flight lands, most of
the parrots have finished their morning feeding and are a lot harder to see.
Maybe organising an overnight stay if possible, is a better option. The
volunteers are busy, so don't rely on them to show you around.

I think we were very lucky to see the parrots, as many entries in the
visitors book at the old hide stated they didn't see any parrots. I know the
parrots come first, but more birders are coming to the area, so maybe for a
small fee (~$50) that goes to the conservation of the OBPs, a volunteer
could be organised as a guide to always show visiting birders around (also
keeping them in check). The money could also go towards setting up a better
permanent new hide and arranging the location to be slightly more visiting
birder friendly, as some other conservation locations overseas are. I know
it's a sad situation, but for wildlife to exist in the modern world it
almost has to pay it's way. For a vast majority of governments and general
public, the attitude is 'if I can't make money out of it' or 'if I can go
and see it, it might as well go into extinction'.



Richard King 


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