The Hastings Birdwatchers Club is calling on members of the public to help locate and monitor endangered bird species in the region.
Birdlife Australia estimates there are less than 400 Regent Honeyeaters and 2000 Swift Parrots left in the wild.
Members of Hastings Birdwatchers, based in Port Macquarie, participate in the annual surveys.
Survey coordinator Ken Monson said information gathered through the surveys not only provides valuable data regarding the two species, but it also adds to the club’s knowledge of the Hastings Macleay Key Biodiversity Area.
The area, Mr Monson said, has a rich variety of habitats and hosts up to 320 species of birds, of which 51 species are listed as threatened or endangered.
At the end of April 2018, a club member first sighted eight Swift Parrots in Lyndale Avenue, Port Macquarie.
Within a week, another member sighted and photographed up to 20 of the birds in the Forest Redgums and Swamp Mahoganys in the Charles Sturt University area.
Mr Monson said subsequently the birds were sighted and photographed by many club members at the location, for a period of four months.
Simultaneous sightings were also recorded in the Tallong Drive area of Lake Cathie, the largest being 32 birds sighted by a member of the public on May 19.
Confirmed sightings of small numbers of the birds were also recorded at Wauchope, King Creek, Dunbogan, Ellensborough and scattered locations throughout suburban Port Macquarie.
Mr Monson said based on the data, including the dates of sightings, it appears that there were at least two separate clusters of the Swift Parrots, representing a minimum of between 50-70 birds in the area.
“The material (including photography) is very important in understanding the movement of these birds, their fluctuating numbers, their preferred habitats and their diet,” he said.
“This then enables better identification of the potential environmental threats to these critically endangered gems of Australian birdlife.
“Although the extent of Swift Parrot sightings was very rewarding for club members, there was some disappointment and concern based on the absence of any Regent Honeyeaters for the second year in a row.
“There was, however another positive outcome. Even though experienced local birders contributed the bulk of the verifiable information, local residents and visitors were also able to observe the Swift Parrots and contribute to the data.”
For more information or to join the group, please call Ken Monson on 0435 566 390.