Friday, March 28, 2014

First Western Ground Parrot field work

Doug Watkins, Ground Parrot Officer

In 1984, Doug was appointed to undertake the first ever comprehensive survey for Ground Parrots in Western Australia. The project was to last for seven months.

The text below is from Western Australian Bird Notes, no. 31, September 1984, published by the Western Australian branch of the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union.

In the article above, Doug mentions a tape that he was preparing. This was the first training tape to help volunteers learn the Ground Parrot call and distinguish it from other calls. A small excerpt from the tape is below. The voice is Doug's. The calls were recorded by Doug in the Fitzgerald River National Park.

Please <CLICK HERE> to play tape excerpt. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Ground Parrot maps from Australian bird atlas 1984

In 1984, The Atlas of Australian Birds was published by Melbourne University Press. It had been prepared by the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union, under editors M. Blakers, S.J.J.F. Davies and P. Reilly and had been compiled from thousands of records from across Australia by many contributors over five years from 1977. The records are in a grid of 1 degree blocks. The record in Western Australia that appears to be in the sea, is within the block that includes Cape Arid National Park and also extends beyond the coast.

The first map shows the Ground Parrot records over those five years. It can be seen that there were no breeding records in Western Australia and a very sparse distribution of records of the bird's presence. 

Historic distribution, compiled from available records - from observer's notebooks, museum specimens, and published reports.

From Left to Right:    Before 1901;    1901-1950;    1951-1976

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Research in the pipeline

From Western Australian Bird Notes, March 1984.

Ground Parrot Field Officer

The RAOU is still accepting applications for the position of Field Officer for its survey of the Distribution of the Ground Parrot in Western Australia. The period of employment will be from June to December, 1984 with a salary of $8000 and travelling allowance (23 cents per km.) for use of a private vehicle.

Duties will include identification of likely Ground Parrot habitat between Israelite Bay and Cape Leeuwin, organizing groups of amateurs in weekend searches at prospective sites, and preparation of a report.