Tuesday, June 9, 2009

First trip for the Monga project

After receiving approval from the ABBBS and getting permits from NSW DECC, we finally began the Monga bird banding project on the June long weekend.

The main aim of the Monga project is to examine movements of birds between two tablelands sites (Monga NP and Reidsdale, both around 700m asl) and two escarpment sites (Araluen North and Monga NP, both around 250m asl).

I'm after a short, catchy and all-encompassing name for the project. I can't keep calling it Monga because that is only half the story. Please get your lateral thinking going and suggest a name to me!

On Friday evening Carole Elliott and I ventured to the Glencoe property at Araluen North. This property is owned by Judyth Gregory-Smith. Judyth's husband, Richard (unfortunately, he passed away a few years ago) banded birds at this site (and at Reidsdale) for many years. It is most fortunate that we have been given permission by Judyth to essentially re-open Richard's project and include it in our broader work. Judyth has also kindly allowed us to use the facilities on the property. And many thanks to Susie Edmonds who lives next door for looking after us too!

On Saturday morning Carole and I spent a couple of hours selecting net sites and generally setting the place up. We then operated for the rest of the day and Sunday morning.

We caught 27 birds out of eight nets. Not a huge number, but we caught 13 species which was impressive. There were no retraps. I was sort of hoping to get an old bird of Richard's but I think it's been too long. Maybe we might get an old bowerbird or currawong one day (here's hoping!). The usual bush junk was banded until the very last bird on Sunday which was a beautiful male Rose Robin.

Some pics from the weekend:

Brown Thornbill. The first bird to be banded for the project!

Eastern Spinebill.

Buff-rumped Thornbill.

White-browed Scrubwren.

Grey Butcherbird.

Grey Shrike-thrush. We also caught a Grey Fantail. All we needed was the Grey Currawong heard calling nearby and we'd have had the full set of local 'grey' species.

Rose Robin. A beautiful male.

Another shot of the Rose Robin. An amazing colour. The yellow on the soles of his feet was bright too.