I had a great day last Saturday on Bruny Island as part of the Bird Festival. It was such a good opportunity to enjoy the island and learn lots about native birds at the same time. The trips organised in conjunction with the festival were outstanding. I was tempted to go on the boat trip to seabird rich Pedra Branca, a 2.6 hectare rock 22 nautical miles south of Bruny but the weather wasn’t particularly good and so I chose not to go. I am told that the trip on Friday was perfect weather and an amazing experience so hopefully they will do it again next year and I will be better organised. Instead I joined a group on a three hour walking tour bird watching on a property owned by Inala Tours. It was so good to be out in the bush to see the wild flowers, the birds and even a Bennetts wallaby.
At one stage we came across a clearing where a boronia plantation had just been harvested for the essential oil market. I didn’t realise that there were boronia plantations on Bruny so it was fascinating to see it.
I was especially impressed because I have tried to grow boronia over the years as I love the perfume but it always dies so I have given up. Many other wild flowers were on show including tiny orchids, and showy stink bush.
We saw flame robins and honeyeaters amongst others but the highlight was seeing the endangered 40 spotted pardalote, a tiny bird that depends upon the eucalyptus viminalis for its habitat. Sadly these woodland trees have been cleared and logged over the years to the point where the bird is struggling to survive. The good news is the number of Bruny Island residents who are now planting and protecting mature bush including these trees in the hope of staving off extinction. Climate change is of course a huge threat as drought decimates woodlands and this little bird is at the edge of its range.
There were several talks from experts on specific species including the swift parrot which also is declining in numbers as a result of loss of habitat and climate change with clear evidence that the bird changes its migration destination as a result of rainfall and therefore flowering patterns of its favoured eucalyptus species. It arrives home in Tasmania in the spring for breeding. I am hopeless at telling them apart from the lorikeets so was typically unable to decide if what I was seeing in the flowering eucalypt in the car park outside K&D was swift parrots or lorikeets. It would be so good if that one tree in the middle of the city provided a stop over for an endangered species. So over to you ???