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Our biggest surveys yet.........

The 2024 Autumn Wings on King (WoK) bird surveys took place from the 25th to the 28th of April, boasting a record-breaking 41 volunteers! In its eighth year, the WoK survey aims to monitor King Island’s unique birds and environment for long-term sustainability. The data collected serves as a crucial tool for future conservation efforts by identifying key habitats and species.


We were delighted to have the Friends of the Orange-bellied Parrot group join us on the Island, assisting with the WoK surveys and also conducting targeted Orange-bellied parrot (OBP) monitoring.


The weekend kicked off with our orientation evening on Thursday night. We gathered at the King Island Gallery and nibbled on King Island cheese and fine wine while we allocated teams and distributed field kits. Local Carmen Holloway shared information to participants on Asparagus Fern (a Weed of National  Significance) to be on the look out for and report any sightings) & to end the night Bob Green, the South Australian OBP Regional Coordinator, also gave a presentation on the Orange-bellied parrot.


In autumn, the Orange-bellied parrot travels through the island on its way to the mainland. Despite an estimated 188 birds expected to migrate through, none were found during the surveys.


On Friday and Saturday, we divided into our teams and monitored the 60 standard survey sites across King Island. Mark Holdsworth, a bird legend, led a group of passionate volunteers to witness the Critically endangered King Island Brown thornbill. The King Island brown thornbill, the Australian bird most at risk of extinction, is a rare sight and sound worth cherishing.


On Saturday night we all gathered for dinner at the King Island Club where we debriefed after our surveys, and bragged about our sightings such as KI Brown Thornbills, Pink Robins, Nankeen Kestrels & White-bellied Sea-eagles that only fellow bird nerds would understand. Mark Holdsworth gave us a presentation on the pest eradication project at Lord Howe Island, which was fascinating.


Held in conjunction with our surveys, the King Island Gallery held an exhibition simply called “Birds”. The exhibition celebrates the beauty and fragility of birds with a special focus on the endangered and migratory birds of King Island. Artworks include the Wall of Wings- a large-scale installation by Kate Gorringe Smith, stunning photography from the 2023 Birdlife Australia Bird Photographer of the Year award, and bird-themed works by local artists.


Thanks to everyone who took part in these surveys, we couldn’t continue this significant project without volunteers. Everyone enjoyed themselves with many vowing to return, and of course the real winners are the birds.



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