It was great to meet a really interested crowd at our OBP Info Session in Koroit on Saturday 25th, with many local groups represented, such as the Warrnambool BirdLife branch, Portland Field Naturalists, and Killarney Coastcare.
Rachel Pritchard (from DELWP) and I gave an overview of the OBP recovery program to date, as well as what happens (and why) during our mainland winter searches.
After a brief look at identifying the OBP from other Neophema parrots we see along the SW Victorian coastline, everyone was challenged with an I.D. quiz. I didn’t quite expect such determination and focus from the crowd, who engaged in lots of quiet discussion… and frustrated sighs! Overall the quiz outcomes were really positive, and as I’d hoped – providing an informative way to get people thinking about what to look for in the field. Hopefully some of our attendees will join us in future OBP searches and further put their skills to the test!
Rachel’s overview of the recovery program really highlighted the amount of intricate work that is put into recovery efforts, such as the captive breeding program. I encourage anyone who is interested to visit the BirdLife Australia page and read the latest OBP National Recovery Plan Update, as there is a lot going on.
Our talks were followed by a visit to a nearby search location where the OBP has historically frequented. Myself and Robyn B had recently been monitoring a large Blue-winged Parrot flock at the site, hoping they would be present for our attendees to see on Saturday. However even searching on a sunny winter day, there were none to be seen, with bird life comparatively quieter than our visit less than a week before.
This looked to be a result of recent harsh winter weather and rains which had increased water holding in the wetland (and subsequently inundated preferred foraging habitat of the Blue-winged and Orange-bellied Parrots). Interestingly survey reports for the site from the last decade, when OBPs were observed at the site over successive years, noted that there seemed to be a pattern in movement of the OBPs who were utilising the site earlier in the season, often moving to nearby sites later on – possibly because of hydrological changes as a consequence of winter rains. This illustrates the importance of OBPs having access to multiple foraging locations within the landscape at different times.
Nonetheless the attendees enjoyed a visit to an absolutely stunning coastal wetland, and all round a great way to get out and active during our long winter!