Regent Honeyeater Captive Release 2018
Regent Honeyeater Image: Neville Bartlett.
This page builds on information regarding the Regent Honeyeater captive release program. For more details on previous years activities.
Updates continue on from 2017
These updates are provided to follow the release of captive bred Regent Honeyeaters in April 2017.
The second confirmed evidence of an ex release Regent Honeyeater ‘crossing the Alps’ (or perhaps going the long route) to Gippsland was made in January 2018 when one of the 2017 released birds (Blue White Orange Metal - BWOM) was discovered at Stratford by an observant resident.
The previous record of a Regent travelling to Gippsland was in November 2016 when one of the 2015 release birds was recorded 270 km from the Chiltern release site at Outtrim in East Gippsland. This bird subsequently returned to Chiltern and was photographed on 7 June 2017 (Update No. 10).
Almost two months on from the original sighting, the Regent Honeyeater ‘Blue White” is still periodically being observed in at a garden in Stratford. Using an automatic camera, it was discovered that a second regent was in the area, (Orange Metal ‘Blue Orange’). Both regents are females from the 2017 release over 200 kilometres away.
First sighting at Chiltern in 2018
The first regent sighting at Chiltern was recorded in a garden bird bath. The male regent Orange Metal ‘Orange Green was last recorded in Chiltern in early November 2017. The bird was still wearing an old transmitter (fitted in late Aug. 2017). Harnesses are designed with a weak point to enable the transmitter to drop off the bird. Accordingly, while this one is taking a bit longer than usual, the observation is great as it documents Orange Green’s ongoing survival despite still wearing its backpack and antennae.
Grey Box (Eucalyptus macrocarpa) is in full swing in North East Victoria, although birds and bees are generally scarce indicating there’s little nectar or pollen associated with its current flowering. And unfortunately, Mugga Ironbark (E. sideroxylon) flowering prospects in and around Chiltern this year appear to be below average with relatively poor levels of budding currently observed.
Report any sightings
Now is the time to search for returning Regents. Please let the Regent Team know ASAP if you spot any or hear of Regents observations (so they can help follow-up to check for further birds etc). Reports of incidental sightings have proven to be very valuable in the past. Remember to check for bands with binoculars and take & forward photo's were possible.
Land-holders and community groups are requested to keep an eye and ear open for Regents around flowering bottlebrush, grevillea etc. in native gardens with bird baths or farm dams.
Surveys in May 2018 near Chiltern found 4 of the 2017 release Regent Honeyeaters. A further survey in August found another Regent and 2 Swift Parrots.
At least eight captive reared Regents have now been recorded alive 12 months + post their April 2017 release.
Also the Regent Honeyeaters previously recorded in Gippsland nick named ‘Thelma and Louise’, were recently recorded in the Maffra area. Update No. 25
Male Regent Honeyeater, this is a captive reared bird - Orange Metal White Pink (OMWK) leg bands. It was last recorded in late October 2017 (following a failed nesting attempt near Chiltern).
Dry conditions have resulted in remarkably poor autumn / winter (Mugga and White Box) flowering compared to other years. The May and August surveys (and other monitoring in between) in Chiltern resulted in ‘almost nil’ observations of the usually dominant Noisy & Little Friarbirds, and very few target birds.
At least 6 Regent Honeyeaters were sighted at dispersed locations during September. Five were all part of the 2017 release and one a 2015 release, which is good news as these birds have survived in the wild since their release.
Whorouly - 4 (+?) Regents (all 2017 release cohort) were recently recorded near Whorouly – feeding on flowering White Box.
Warby Ranges – Sighting of a Regent with Mauve Green Orange Metal (UPOM) leg bands (now sporting only one Green band on its left leg). This bird was last seen on 1st May 2017. This is sensational news as one could have assumed this bird had died relatively soon after its April 2017 release.
Killawarra – Sighting of a Regent with White Orange Red Metal (WORM) is another sensational find. This is a 2015 release bird, last seen in August 2016 at Chiltern.
Dry conditions this Autumn and Winter resulted in a lack of Mugga Ironbark flowering, blossom was almost non-existent this year.
During September there was some patchy but, in some areas, (relatively) bountiful White Box flowering.
Map showing recent Regent re-sightings
Spot a Regent Honeyeater in the meantime?
Please search flowering White Box remnants or other areas where honeyeaters are present. Reports of incidental sightings have proven to be very valuable in the past. Remember to check for bands with binoculars and take & forward photo's were possible.
Report any sightings