Malleefowl and Feral Cats in Hattah-Kulkyne

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Malleefowl and Feral Cats in Hattah-Kulkyne
From: Greg Roberts <>
Date: Fri, 19 Sep 2014 13:31:13 +1000
Yesterday I enjoyed a prolonged, close encounter with a Malleefowl along
the Nowingi Track in Victoria's Hattah-Kulkyne National Park.

On a less positive note, I was surprised that during a visit of several
days to Hattah, I did not see or hear terrestrial specialties of the region
such as Southern Scrub-Robin, Mallee Emu-wren, Striated Grasswren and Shy
Hylacola - all of which I have seen on previous visits. I saw just a single
Chesnut Quail-thrush and one pair of Gilbert's Whistler when previously
I've encountered more of these birds.

Peter Waanders has suggested that grasswrens and other small terrestrial
birds in South Australia may have suffered population declines as a result
of an increase in feral cat numbers in recent years, due to a series of
good weather seasons in southern inland Australia.

Others have suggested that cat numbers in south-west WA have increased due
to the success of fox control measures in reserves such as Dryandra; the
assumption is that foxes are efficient predators of kittens. It may be that
numbers of two endangered marsupials - Brush-tailed Bettong and Numbat - at
Dryandra have declined recently for this reason, after initially being
boosted by fox control measures.

Certainly I saw plenty of cat paw marks on the trails at Hattah, as indeed
I did at Dryandra and other reserves I have visited recently in WA and SA.

Pics of the chook and more here:

* <>*

*Greg Roberts*
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