Mackay Conservation Group has been successful in getting a $5,000 Natural Environment grant from Mackay Regional Council to partially fund Birdlife Mackay and other volunteers to repeat the 2014 weekly winter surveys for this and other bird species at three 10ha monitoring sites in northern Crediton State Forest next to Eungella National Park.
This is where the highest numbers of Eungella honeyeaters were recorded in 1998 which was one of the most severe La Nina years on record causing very dry conditions and a high density of flowering Eucalyptus trees.
Rainfall prior to winter 2015 is predicted to be drier than 2014 when there were few trees that blossomed despite heavy bud production. This was attributed to prior wetter conditions in winter 2014. The result was a low count for the Eungella honeyeater which feeds on nectar from the blossoms.
There was only one sighting for each of the two Eungella honeyeater monitoring sites near a selective logging permit area where sixteen per cent of the forest is being logged and thirty-nine records in the third more densely forested monitoring area.
So it is necessary to monitor the Eungella honeyeater under higher density blossom conditions to see if population estimates for the Eungella honeyeater have declined. If so that information can underpin a re-nomination by MCG to Environment Australia under the EPBC Act to have this near-threatened endemic species listed as threatened and prevent logging of its habitat. It would also provide data to support having the Eucalypt woodlands surrounding Eungella
National Park incorporated into that national park.
We presented results to the Queensland Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry and they are willing to work with us.
All bird species that were found in each of the monitoring sites bar two more disturbance tolerant species, Lewins honeyeater and the noisy miner, showed significant drops in counts at the two monitoring sites closest to the logging area.
We are $1,600 short of meeting our expenses for the winter 2015 surveys so any donations are welcome.
Patricia Julien (Research Analyst, MCG) and Daryl Barnes (President, Birdlife Mackay).