Friday, May 10, 2013

April Stats

A cursory glance of the simple, raw statistics for birding the South Burnett in April 2013 would appear to suggest rather meagre pickings; a grim time, as per Allen Road in the same month.  We visited sixteen different locations to record 83 separate entries [5.18 entries per location] on Bird Journal.  Certainly, at 115 species, April has the lowest monthly tally for 2013 to date:
January 2013                          116 species
February 2013                        121 species
March 2013                            116 species
On the other hand, it has been the highest April tally since South Burnett records started seriously and consistently back in 2009:
April 2013                   115
April 2012                   112
April 2011                     70
April 2010                     80
April 2009                     94     
Prior to this [2006, the year we moved into the region permanently, to 2008] South Burnett records consisted only of Allen Road sightings with a preliminary survey of Blackbutt State School avifauna [2007]:
April 2008                     45
April 2007                     50
April 2006                     31     
It was also one of the better Aprils in terms of locations covered during that particular month, second only to 2012 when we notched up 21 different sites:
April 2013                   16 [average 7.18 species per location]
April 2012                   21 [average 3.33 species per location]
April 2011                   11 [average 6.36 species per location]
April 2010                   10 [average 8.0 species per location]                                                                         
April 2009                   12 [average 7.83 species per location]
Birding got off to a fine start as early as 1st April with Musk Duck Biziura lobata, Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus australis, Australasian Darter Anhinga novaehollandiae novaehollandiae and Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo novaehollandiae, all during our regular monitoring surveys at the nearby Tarong Power Station.  Later that day we added Plumed Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna eytoni, Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia plumifera
and Royal Spoonbill Platalea regia at the Grey Street Sewage Treatment Plant.   There were other species that day but these were never seen again during April.
The raptors were reasonably well represented during April.  Both the Pacific Baza Aviceda subcristata subcristata and Collared Sparrowhawk Accipiter cirrocephalus cirrocephalus have previously featured in the last Allen Road blog.
The Black-shouldered Kite Elanus axillaris put in four appearances: en route to Toowoomba on the 11th [during the same journey which brought us the month’s second Wedge-tailed Eagle Aquila audax audax]; on the 21st and 27th along Berlin Road and once [27th] along Neumgna Road.  As the latter runs off Berlin Road it is quite likely to have been identical to the Berlin Road bird. 
The Whistling Kite Haliastur sphenurus was recorded on three occasions: on 1st April at Tarong Power Station, the 14th along Berlin Road and at Allen Road on the 25th.
Only Fay observed the Nankeen Kestrel Falco cenchroides cenchroides at Kingaroy on 4th April but we were together when the raptor of the month flew across the Forester’s windscreen, lingering long enough to enable incontrovertible identification.   We were returning home, along Berlin Road, when the Spotted Harrier Circus assimilis suddenly appeared from our left, turned to fly ahead of us for a moment before veering right to continue on its way across and beyond Berlin Road.
The usual array of honeyeaters – with a handful of additional bonuses- appeared during the month.  The Eastern Spinebill Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris tenuirostris put in its sole April performance on the 7th in the general East Nanango area.  Its compatriots, the Scarlet Honeyeater Myzomela sanguinolenta and the Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater Acanthagenys rufogularis put in one showing each on the 7th [in East Nanango] and 28th [Allen Road] respectively.  The Brown Honeyeater Lichmera indistincta ocularis was another local gem noted in East Nanango on the 7th.
The others are all South Burnett regulars: Lewin’s Honeyeater Meliphaga lewinii lewinii; Yellow-faced Honeyeater Lichenostomus chrysops chrysops; Noisy Miner Manorina melanocephala lepidota; Blue-faced Honeyeater Entomyzon cyanotis cyanotis;  Noisy Friarbird Philemon corniculatus monachus; Little Friarbird Philemon citreogularis citreogularis and Striped Honeyeater Plectorhyncha lanceolata.

A small host of species put in a solitary appearance during the entire month: both the Eastern Yellow Robin Eopsaltria australis australis and [Common] Cicadabird Coracina tenuirostris tenuirostris showed well at Tarong Power Station on the 1st; the Golden-headed Cisticola Cisticola exilis exilis along Berlin Road on the 4th; the Australian Raven Corvus coronoides coronoides was in the East Nanango area on the 7th;; the elusive Black-faced Monarch Monarcha melanopsis at Blackbutt State School on the 10th and the Tawny Grassbird Megalurus timoriensis alisteri along the Rocky Creek Circuit on the 21st.
Overall, an enjoyable month of birding but the sands of time are already running out; even this early end of semester report cards begin to look ominously over the horizon.

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