Honeyeater migration

To: Michael Tarburton <>, "Barbara Jones" <>
Subject: Honeyeater migration
From: Carol Probets <>
Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2012 07:34:53 +1000
Hi Mike, Barbara and all,

Yes, the Yellow-faced Honeyeater migration has started in the NSW Blue Mountains too. I was away for the last week in March when the first flocks usually start coming through, but I received reports of a few moving then. However it's often the first cold snap in April which really triggers them to start moving in much larger numbers. That cold snap happened this week and sure enough, the birds are following.

In fact, the counting of migrating honeyeaters has entered a new era in the Blue Mountains. Members of Blue Mountains Bird Observers are now doing regular counts each autumn for the IBA project. This year we have 19 volunteers counting on a weekly basis and as a result it looks like we'll have someone counting on every morning between now and the middle of May. Counts are performed for 20 minutes at 5 key sites across the mountains. We do already know that there is enormous variation from day to day which seems to be associated with the weather, as well as great variation from one year to another. Last autumn (the first year of this project) was a very slow year with particularly low numbers of birds observed. Already this year we've seen greater numbers, with one volunteer at Shipley (Blackheath) counting 1090 birds in 20 minutes on Wednesday this week.

To answer the question regarding the species, the vast majority of our birds are Yellow-faced Honeyeaters, with a few White-naped which generally increase as the season progresses until they make up a significant proportion in May. In addition we see quite a few flocks of pardalotes (Spotted and Striated), Silvereyes, Red Wattlebirds and Noisy Friarbirds moving through. Occasionally other species such as Fuscous Honeyeaters, Mistletoebirds etc, join in.

As the season progresses I'll be able to report more.

The Blue Mountains are about 80 km west of Sydney.



At 4:42 PM +1000 12/4/12, Michael Tarburton wrote:
G'day Barbara

Yesterday I had a total of 37 Yellow-faced Honeyeaters in small groups all heading your way over 8 hours. Well I had to count these I did not get any swifts!

This was at the Thurra River rest area Princes Highway, Vic at 37 33 59s 149 16 33e.

I guess they will be reaching another intrepid Honeyeater counter in the Blue Mtns soon (Carol Probets).

Cheers & Happy birdwatching


At 1:24 PM +1000 12/4/12, Barbara Jones wrote:
Merrilyn et al,

I recognise most as Yellow-faced from the call and 'assume' others that size will be White-naped. There are a few larger ones amongst them, (not Little Wattlebird size, they come in a few weeks,) and small groups of much smaller birds which again I 'assume' will be Silvereyes. I cannot get a fix with binoculars, even if the odd one turns back to wait a moment it is off again in a flash as others come up the valley and they join forces. Maybe I have Spotted Pardalotes amongst them and not Silvereyes as the latter have been passing through in flocks for a few weeks in separate flocks.

Any help appreciated!


-----Original Message----- From: Merrilyn Serong
Sent: Thursday, April 12, 2012 1:06 PM
Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Honeyeater migration

Hi Barbara,
Just wondering what species you are seeing.

On 12/04/2012 12:15 PM, Barbara Jones wrote:
On a clear sunny day the honeyeater migration is in full swing on the Far South Coast of NSW.

Prior to today they have been coming through in groups of 40 sporadically for the last few weeks but today is continuous. They have been on the move all morning and I just took a chair and notepad outdoors to get an idea of numbers.

In the last 15 minutes over my home at Nethercote, 37 00' 18" S 149 50' 28" E there were 600 all heading due north. And so it continues!

Barbara Jones


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