Swift Parrots spotted in Port Macquarie, Ellenborough, Camden Head and King Creek

Nectar feeding parrot: A Swift Parrot in forest red gum at Port Macquarie in June 2018. Photo: Liam Murphy

Nectar feeding parrot: A Swift Parrot in forest red gum at Port Macquarie in June 2018. Photo: Liam Murphy

Members of Hastings Birdwatchers have spotted the critically endangered Swift Parrot in the area.

The medium-sized parrot has been identified in forest red gums in the Charles Sturt University Port Macquarie Campus area as well as other locations around Port Macquarie, Ellenborough, Camden Head and King Creek.

Swift Parrots, which breed in Tasmania, migrate to the mainland.

The nomadic birds can fly long distances depending on the availability of nectar.

But Hastings Birdwatchers members have not seen the critically endangered Regent Honeyeater for some time.

The last sighting was in mid-2016 when a lone Regent Honeyeater was seen feeding in a grevillia and swamp mahogany at Lake Cathie.

Striking bird: A Regent Honeyeater in swamp mahogany at Lake Cathie in July 2016. Photo: Peter West

Striking bird: A Regent Honeyeater in swamp mahogany at Lake Cathie in July 2016. Photo: Peter West

Two birds visited the same area in May 2015.

The region is home to two key biodiversity areas – one in the Werrikimbe area, about 70 kilometres inland from Port Macquarie, and the other in the Hastings-Macleay stretching from the Camden Haven to Stuarts Point.

The Hastings-Macleay Key Biodiversity Area contains ephemerally flooded lower floodplain wetlands with swamp forests used by Swift Parrots and Regent Honeyeaters. 

Hastings Birdwatchers conservation officer Sue Proust said there were many intact lower floodplain wetlands in the area.

But she said forest red gums, which were often in people’s backyards, were slowly disappearing from the landscape.

Swift Parrots and Regent Honeyeaters both feed on forest red gums.

The group’s main conservation concern is along the coastal strip with its development pressures.

Ms Proust said if we looked after the key biodiversity areas, we would save most of the biodiversity on the planet.

Key biodiversity areas, which provide a benchmark in environmental site conservation, contribute significantly to the global persistence of biodiversity.

Hastings Birdwatchers member Ken Monson is the designated guardian for the Werrikimbe and Hastings-Macleay key biodiversity areas.

Port Macquarie’s koala corridors also benefit birds.

Hastings Birdwatchers committee member Peter West said the corridors were vitally important because they saved forest trees.

Ms Proust, on behalf of Hastings Birdwatchers, has lodged submissions to Port Macquarie-Hastings Council about key documents including the draft Biodiversity Strategy and the then draft Urban Growth Management Strategy.

The Hastings Birdwatchers group welcomes new members.

For more information visit the club’s website or email hastingsbirdwatchers@hotmail.com

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