Southern right whale in South West Victoria (Photo: C.Farrell)

29 Oct 2017 First OBP arrives in Melaleuca from the mainland

The days are getting longer and warmer and with spring arriving, the Orange-bellied Parrots are getting ready to start their journey back across Bass Strait to Melaleuca in Tasmania. Exactly one week after our last winter survey the first OBP has arrived back in Melaleuca. One healthy male has returned to the breeding grounds in Tasmania. While this is a relatively early return we are expecting for most remaining OBPs to return to Melaleuca within the next two months. In spring the Orange-bellied parrots take advantage of strong southerly winds to return to their breeding grounds where new nesting boxes and plenty of food is waiting for the birds to recover from another long trip to the mainland.

Beautiful scenery on a stormy survey day

Beautiful scenery on a stormy survey day

We did not record any Orange-bellied Parrots in South-West Victoria this season. However, the beautiful coast line rewarded us with stunning scenery and rich bird life. During the last survey weekend, where no OBPs were recorded on the mainland at all, we were rewarded with the sighting of a different endangered species. A southern right whale and her calf were playing in a bay just meters from the shore. While it is easy to get hung up on the fact that we cannot find our target species we have to remind ourselves that being out there and being able to observe other rare and endangered species is just as rewarding and makes any survey day special and unique.

A pair of Brolgas is using an old swans nest and sharing the wetland with the little cygnets.

A pair of Brolgas is using an old swans nest and sharing the wetland with the little cygnets.

In wrapping up this year’s survey effort I’d like to thank all those who have contributed to the volunteer effort and took the time to engage with the recovery efforts for the OBPs. I’d also like to thank DELWP and BirdLife Australia for partnering with NGT, enabling us to help with the delivery of volunteer coordination for this region, it has been a fantastic opportunity for me as an intern to get a first insight into an endangered species recovery project.

Now we are all crossing our fingers that the OBPs released on the mainland this winter will find their way to Tasmania to take part in this coming breeding season and hopefully next winter we have some OBPs returning to South-West Victoria.

Featuring Image: two southern right whales playing in a quiet bay in South-West Victoria. (Image supplied by Chris Farrell Nature Photography. Please respect copyright)

Nicole Mojonnier
Nicole Mojonnier
nicole.mojonnier@natureglenelg.org.au