Endangered birds in Victoria, Australia

This 2012 video from Victoria in Australia is about mallee emu-wrens.

This video says about itself:

In September 2014, I had the excitement of finding a population of at least 3-4 Mallee Emu-wren, an endangered species, at Wyperfeld National Park in northwest Victoria, Australia. My video here is hand-held and rough but, along with the pictures I got, I hope it shows you that these tiny vulnerable birds are present at this location.

From BirdLife:

14 Sep 2017

Irreplaceable – Murray-Sunset, Hattah & Annuello, Australia

In our ‘Irreplaceable’ series, we cast a light on the globally-significant bird habitats that are in danger of disappearing forever.

By Alex Dale

Stretching across three national parks and covering 7,004 km2 of semi-arid shrubland in North-Western Victoria, this area is one of the last refuges for a number of endangered bird species dependent on its unique mallee habitat for survival.

Mallee is a term used to describe species of eucalypt plant that have adapted to survive in hot, dry areas prone to bushfires. They boast a swollen root crown laced with buds. When the plant is destroyed by fire, the dormant buds allow it to grow back in multi-stemmed form. After 15-20 years of unburnt growth, they offer the perfect environment to deliver sanctuary and shelter to several specialist species.

These include Malleefowl Leipoa ocellata, a chicken-sized megapode once widespread across Australia, but now restricted to scattered locations across southern Australia. Other resident species are scarcer still. A small colony of 20-40 breeding pairs of Black-eared Miner Manorina melanotis in Murray-Sunset National Park is considered one of only two populations deemed pure enough to be worth conserving, due to frequent interbreeding with Yellow-throated Miner Manorina flavigula. Also restricted to a handful of populations in Victoria, Mallee Emuwren Stipiturus mallee is more numerous within this Important Bird & Biodiversity Area (IBA), with an estimated 200 breeding pairs, but its numbers are plummeting fast.

For all these species, the biggest threat to their future is destruction of mallee habitat from further fires, both unplanned and planned. Victoria’s government currently adopts a policy of planned burning of 5% of public land ever year, an initiative intended to minimise the risk of human life from bushfires. However, since species such as Mallee Emuwren are poor flyers, these firebreaks further isolate their populations, as they’re unable to travel over the burnt heath.

Modelling indicates that due to the time it takes for the mallee vegetation to grow back, this policy will render this IBA uninhabitable for these species within 20 years. BirdLife Australia is calling on the Victorian government to ensure the needs of threatened species are incorporated into their fire management planning, drawing up the Threatened Malee Birds Conservation Action Plan which also advocates strategic revegetation programs to combat habitat fragmentation, and re-establishing populations in areas within the reserve which now have suitable habitat. Without these measures, these species could be just one blaze away from disaster.


Snake in Australian Christmas tree

Snake in Christmas tree, photo by Snakecatcher Victoria

From the BBC today:

Australian woman finds snake curled up in Christmas tree

A woman has discovered a 1m-long venomous snake wrapped around her Christmas tree in Australia.

The woman called for help to remove the tiger snake from her suburban home in Melbourne, Victoria, on Sunday.

Snake catcher Barry Goldsmith said the reptile entered through an open door before curling up among the decorations.

Tiger snakes, found along Australia’s coast, are highly venomous.

Mr Goldsmith said the woman “reacted quite well” after making the discovery.

“She left the room, put a towel down as a door jam and came and rang me,” he told the BBC.

The snake was released back into the wild. The species is protected in most Australian states.

Mr Goldsmith said he was used to finding snakes in unusual places.

“I’ve found them in ugg boots, washing machines, dog kennels, cat boxes, toilets, kitchen cupboards and bookcases,” he said.

See also here.

Endangered Australian regent honeyeaters’ victory in court

This video from Australia says about itself:

Release of captive bred Regent Honeyeaters

21 April 2015

The fourth and largest release of captive bred Regent Honeyeaters (Anthochaera phrygia), undertaken in the Chiltern-Mt Pilot National Park in Victoria’s north-east. The release of around 80 birds bred at Taronga Zoo will add to the wild population in north east Victoria and southern New South Wales, and increase community awareness and participation in the post-release monitoring program.

From BirdLife:

Win for Critically Endangered Australian Regent Honeyeater in Court Decision

By BirdLife Australia, Mon, 14/03/2016 – 03:54

BirdLife Australia is celebrating a landmark court decision to protect the Critically Endangered Regent Honeyeater. In a desperately needed win for the Critically Endangered bird, the NSW Land and Environment Court has found in favour of a challenge to the approval of a development which would have destroyed its habitat. In the decision, it was recognised that the Regent Honeyeater is in “grave peril” and that Cessnock City Council acted improperly in approving a Development Application for a steel fabrication facility in Regent Honeyeater habitat in the Hunter Economic Zone (HEZ) in the Lower Hunter Valley, NSW.

Friends of Tumblebee, represented by community legal center EDO NSW, claimed that a Species Impact Statement (SIS) should have been carried out to properly assess the impacts of clearing for the development on Regent Honeyeaters. The Court agreed, concluding that in the absence of an SIS, the approval issued by Council is invalid. The Court added: “Preservation of this area is therefore of vital importance to the long term survival of the species. Habitat destruction is a primary reason for its imperiled status.”

The Regent Honeyeater may number as few as 350-400 birds in the wild.

The decision also recognises the important contribution BirdLife’s Regent Honeyeater data made to informing the decision, a testament to the huge amount of effort our volunteers put into searching for this elusive species each year.

BirdLife Australia is well aware of the significance of the HEZ for Regent Honeyeaters. In 2007/08 one of the most significant known Regent Honeyeater breeding events of the last decade (approximately 20 nests and up to 100 individuals) was recorded within the HEZ. Dean Ingwersen, BirdLife Australia’s Regent Honeyeater Recovery Coordinator, said “the Lower Hunter Valley is one of only four known core areas for Regent Honeyeaters and the HEZ site is possibly the most important part of these lowland forests for the species.” Dean added, “the biggest threat to the species is loss of habitat, so this is a common sense decision in the conservation of these birds. Further to the breeding event in 2007/08, this site has been one of the most consistently used in NSW in the past decade and is likely to be an important refuge under drying climatic conditions in the future.”

The HEZ is situated on one of the largest wooded remnants in the Hunter Valley and was rezoned for industrial purposes by the NSW Government in March 2002 after minimal ecological investigations. Since rezoning occurred, numerous ecological studies have shown that the HEZ contains a remarkably large range of threatened flora, fauna and ecological communities, including being one of the most important single sites for Regent Honeyeaters.

The Lower Hunter Valley Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) was recognised as one of five “IBAs in Danger” across Australia in a report by BirdLife Australia in 2014, due mainly to the threat posed by the broader HEZ development. The decision is welcome by BirdLife’s Woodland Birds for Biodiversity Project Coordinator, Mick Roderic; ”from the start this proposal failed to consider the ecological impacts the development would have on a range of threatened species. The ruling supports our long-held view that loss of these woodlands would imperil the Regent Honeyeater, a species our organisation and volunteers work tirelessly to save.”

The decision also demonstrates that cumulative impacts of smaller proposals within larger “staged” developments need to be properly considered by consent authorities.

Nankeen night heron in Australia

This video from Australia says about itself:

Nankeen night heron – trying to get some sleep – I am a night bird….

26 January 2014

First sighting of a Nankeen night heron recorded at Riverglade Reserve, NSW.

From Birdline Victoria in Australia:

Nankeen Night Heron

Banyule Flats Reserve

Flew from the viewing point of the main lake over to vegetation on the other side. First time I have seen one here.

Owen Lishmund, Steve Lishmund 19/12/2015

Australian hooded plovers, video

This video from Victoria in Australia says about itself:

Hooded Plover Threatened Species Surf Coast

3 August 2015

This little guy has featured regularly in the Surf Coast Times over several months now so SCT TV decided it was time to throw this threatened native into the spotlight and raise awareness for the Hooded Plover!

Blue-faced honeyeater in Victoria, Australia

This video from Australia says about itself:

Kookaburra Vs Blue-faced Honeyeaters on a balcony

3 May 2009

My usual kookaburra visitor seems nonplussed when a blue-faced honeyeater (also known as a Bananabird) tries to scare it off. The honeyeater gets some of his mates to come back, but the Kookaburra is bigger and not the least bit afraid. After they are gone, it sits there and grooms itself – it is the Lord of the Balcony.

From Birdline Victoria in Australia:

Monday 7 December

Blue-faced Honeyeater

Greensborough Secondary College

Still there at 6.30AM this morning, hanging around gym area. Seems to be a lone bird.

Peter Bennet

Eagle news from Australia

This video from Thailand is called White-bellied sea eagle hunting @ Elephant Hills Rainforest Camp.

From Birdline Victoria in Australia:

Sat 14 November 2015

White-bellied Sea-eagle

An adult sea eagle observed being harassed by ravens over Cardinia Reservoir at lunch today.