Swift Parrot (Lathamus discolor) Recovery Plan 2001-2005

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Swift Parrot Recovery Team (2001)
Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment
ISBN 0 7246 6283 9

Recovery Actions

Action 1. Identify the Extent and Quality of Foraging Habitat.

Action 1a. Identify the extent and quality of foraging habitat within the overwintering range.

Aims

To identify priority habitats and sites so that appropriate management actions can be taken to protect and improve the habitats resulting in a sustained improvement in carrying capacity.

Justification

Although some priority habitats and sites have been identified, the variability in the distribution and extent of food resources between years means that many important habitats and sites are still little known. Some regions that swift parrots are known to use (eg. NSW coast, south east Qld) are little studied. This information is vital to the management of a species using fragmented habitats at a continental scale. Priority sites when identified can be protected using a range of administrative (eg. management prescriptions, threatened species legislation) and voluntary conservation measures (eg. LFW, covenants).

Methods

A project officer will visit regions with swift parrot non-breeding habitat during the winter. The regions in which work will be done will be dictated in part by the number of swift parrot records and the amount of flowering in that area during that winter. The priority areas for study are the south west slopes, the coastal spotted gum forests and swamp mahogany forests of New South Wales, the forest redgum/narrow leaved ironbark forests and yellow box forests in northern New South Wales and south east Queensland, the box ironbark forests in central and north east Victoria and the Gippsland box-ironbark forests. Local State agency staff and volunteer observers will be able to inform the project officer of the likelihood of finding swift parrots. The project officer will identify regions to be studied depending on swift parrot activity and record habitat use at foraging sites. The methods used will be those described in the guidelines to 'Assessing Swift Parrot habitat' to assess tree size distribution, vegetation type, tree species composition and bird community composition at foraging sites. The results of these studies will enable decisions to be made about suitable management regimes for the identified patches of swift parrot habitat. Funds will be required to employ a project officer, vehicle hire and travel expenses.

Responsibilities

Administration: NRE (Bendigo), NPWS (Queanbeyan), DPIWE (Hobart). Fieldwork: NRE and NPWS, volunteers

Costs ($1000s)

Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Year 4
Year 5
Total
25.0 25.0 29.0 17.0 17.0 113.0

Action 1b. Identify the flowering patterns of blue gum

Aims

To identify those grassy blue gum patches within the breeding range in Tasmania, which provide a consistent food source for breeding swift parrots by obtaining a long-term record of the flowering patterns of blue gum. This will also provide valuable data for the understanding of the relationship between blue gum flowering and swift parrot breeding success.

Justification

The intensity of Tasmanian blue gum flowering is a major factor affecting the reproductive success of the swift parrot. Long term records of the flowering patterns of blue gums are important in understanding the relationship between flowering and breeding success. Tasmanian blue gum is a biennial flowering tree although site type and environmental conditions also have a significant impact on flowering and in some areas flowering events can be up to seven years apart. A program to assess blue gum flowering in three southern Tasmanian populations was initiated by the Co-operative Research Centre for Temperate Hardwood Forestry (CRCTHF) at the University of Tasmania in 1993. A further six sites covering the range of blue gum in eastern Tasmania were added by the recovery program in 1997. The program has six years of data from the southern sites and three years from the rest of the range of blue gum. A preliminary analysis of this data has shown that major flowering events are uncommon but data over a longer period is required to obtain a better understanding of blue gum flowering.

Methods

The relative abundance and length of blue gum flowering will be measured by counting opercula (bud caps) which are collected in litter traps that are cleared monthly. The program will continue to be carried out jointly by DPIWE and CRCTHF. Funds are required to maintain the litter seed traps, for vehicle hire and the collection and sorting of samples.

Responsibilities

Administration: DPIWE (Hobart), UT. Fieldwork: DPIWE (Hobart and District staff), UT, volunteers

Costs ($1000s)

Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Year 4
Year 5
Total
11.0 11.0 11.0 11.0 11.0 55.0