Orange-bellied Parrots have flown back across Bass Strait to Tasmania for the summer

The OBP season here on the mainland has come to an end for 2019. With the last count weekend in September, and other field work earlier this month, we are wrapping up efforts for the Orange-Bellied Parrot Recovery Program this year.

Volunteers and NGT staff searched widely, but unfortunately we have not found any OBPs in south-west Victoria this year. With an unusually dry start to the season, we even struggled to find Blue-winged Parrots in their usual habitat areas. There have been a lot of conservation actions in south-west Victoria with seed collecting, habitat assessments, and some trials of land management changes to see if we can improve the suitability of foraging habitat.

Assessing the habitat and food plant availability in one of the key OBP sites in south-west Victoria.

In other mainland OBP news outside the far South West, captive-bred OBPs were released on the mainland again this year, following the first mainland release in 2018. Two wild birds joined the released birds for many months during 2019. The captive birds interacted with wild birds, hopefully providing them with some local knowledge of favourable winter sites.

As of this week, eighteen OBPs had returned to their breeding site in Melaleuca, Tasmania, including one male adult who is at least nine years old. While this male has returned to the breeding ground in Tasmania every year, it was last spotted on the mainland in Winter 2016. Where is this bird spending its winter days? This is one of the questions we’re trying to answer by searching as many potential habitats every winter across their likely mainland range. While we didn’t observe any OBPs during our local efforts this year, the story of this hardy and determined individual OBP gives us encouragement to continue our efforts again next winter!

Save the dates if you would like to be part of next years survey team.

If you are interested in helping us out next season, save the dates for the 2020 counts, which will take place over three weekends:

16th / 17th May 2020

25th / 26th July 2020

12th / 13th September 2020

We also would like to thank all the volunteers who spent many hours in the field, searching for parrots, seeds and new potential habitat, and being great company!

 

The OBP winter monitoring program in south-west Victoria is undertaken by Nature Glenelg Trust in close partnership with BirdLife Australia and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. This project is supported by Glenelg Hopkins CMA and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

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