Yellow-plumed Honeyeater

Moorunde spring bird surveys turned-up old favourites and spring visitors to please both eyes and ears with 68 species and over 3,000 individual birds noted in our September and October surveys! Full lists can be seen via the attached document* but highlights include wonderfully bright Crimson Chats – occasional transients from more northern climes, and hundreds of visiting White-browed and Masked Woodswallows. These latter species are heard more often than seen, chattering away high in the sky, hawking for insects. Other spring visitors bring wonderful songs – Rufous and Brown Songlarks and White-winged Trillers, for example. Equally vocal in spring are the resident songsters – Grey Shrike-thrushes and Gilbert’s Whistlers, and the persistent, enthusiastic songs of Rufous Whistlers.

Honeyeaters abound with the musical calls of Yellow-plumed Honeyeaters giving away their presence in the mallee, and the delightful gurgling song of the Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater heard throughout much of Moorunde.

A bird of special significance to the reserve is the Southern Scrub-robin an iconic mallee species, important because of its habitat requirements – fairly dense shrub-land with ground litter – usually adjacent to or within an area of mallee woodland. Notoriously reluctant to show themselves and always presumed to be scarce on the reserve, Scrub-robins may be present in greater numbers after all thanks to John and his trusty whistle!! The robins respond almost instantaneously to simulation of their calls and, at our initial trial, nine robins responded in a small area of suitable shrub-land!! At least in spring, the method seems infallible! More later!

Happy birding!!

Graham Nye and John “Whistler” Endersby.

Download: Bird List – Moorunde Spring 2013