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Oh! What a weekend

White-browed Woodswallow - seldom seen on King Island

Wings on King’ Spring Surveys - another great weekend...


8 White-browed Woodswallows seen at Council Hill.

These birds are rarely seen on King Island and don't appear on the KI Bird List as we haven't had photos to prove they were here. But now we do. Very exciting. Apparently, there has been an influx into Victoria this spring and as they are very nomadic this may a response to the mainland drought. They were still around Council Hill on the 25th November – so if you are interested and on the island, head up to see if you can see them.

The other great sighting was 7 Pacific Golden Plovers at the Springs. These migratory waders are often present on the beaches during the summer but usually in ones or twos. So seeing 7 at once was a high point for the observers.

About the spring surveys:

We have just completed another fun weekend of getting out and about around King Island, finding our birds and learning their stories.

A total of 27 people took part, surveying 49 sites over 5 days. The weather held up – more or less – apart from a bit of an easterly breeze!

We thought we were kicking off with a welcome and team formation gathering at the King Island Cultural Centre on Thursday evening, but one team hit the roads early on Thursday morning and by the time the 'Welcome' happened had already surveyed 8 sites. Fantastic.

We cancelled the Beginners Workshop on Friday as everyone was surveying and that’s the best way to learn - on the job. This time 3 landholders joined with the teams surveying their sites. We hope this will happen more often in the future as knowing about the birds on your land is very useful for sustainable land management - the big picture. They had fun and I reckon will be onto it again for the next count

Other landowners provided tea and cake to help keep us going, and on Saturday evening tired but happy surveyors congregated at the Grassy Boat Club for a BBQ. Shelley Graham, KI Parks and Wildlife Ranger, gave an excellent talk and walk about Penguins, not that we had to walk far. These engaging little birds that ‘fly’ underwater, came to us pottering up the boat ramp in small groups on their way home.

On Sunday, we gathered at a private farmhouse for a workshop facilitated by Andrew Silcocks from BirdLife Australia. The aim was to learn about BirdLife Aus’s new birdata portal and data uploading app - its impressively easy - as well as how the data is used internationally, nationally, regionally and how we can use it locally. Good stuff – and in the process we got all that lovely information uploaded to birdata by team leaders.

A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who helped make these surveys happen and be so successful. It couldn’t happen without you all.

Here’s what one of the participants, Dominique Pomeroy, had to say about it:

Fortuitously, my visit to King Island coincided with the Wings on King bird survey. With no birding experience and armed with a love of the Australian bush and a passion for being outdoors, I was handed a pair of binoculars and welcomed with open arms by the people of KI and visitors alike. Birders are such an interesting group of people - all ages, all walks of life, happy to share their wealth of knowledge, happy to include you.

I got to go places that aren’t necessarily available to the average tourist - onto farmers’ properties, walks and talks with the rangers and out and about with a Birdata Australia expert! I will never ‘hear’ the world in the same way again! I cannot recommend highly enough being apart of the WOK Birdata survey and I can’t wait to see what is happening in my area when I get home!

Thank you so much Kate Ravich, Jenny Thorn, Andrew Silcocks, Helen Strickland, Shelley, Mel, Rod, Chris, Linda and Tim - for making this happen and sharing and showing the value and importance of being a part of this research for King Island and its community.

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