On a number of occasions throughout the month it appeared to be a real struggle to survive April – in birding terms. Much of our monitoring was restricted to the weekends but with several major projects in hand [e.g. completing the new pigeon loft; lining the inside of the garage to prepare for a brewing area] at times the tallies became quite meagre [only two species recorded on 26 April]. Nevertheless we managed 19 surveys which produced a tally of 53 species; our lowest average [2.78] species-per-survey score since 2008 when we finished April with an average of 1.60 species per survey [45 species over 28 surveys].
It was our third lowest species-per-survey average since Allen Road records began in 2002 [2007 came in at 2.63, 50 species over 19 surveys].
There were nevertheless some notable highlights, not the least of which being the sudden and unexpected return of the Olive-backed Oriole Oriolus sagittatuswhich we thought had made its swansong appearance in the area back on 22 February 2013. It surprised with a brief vocal entrance on 6 April at the Nanango Fauna Sanctuary, followed by four whirlwind encores at Allen Road on 21, 25, 27 and 28 of the month.
The Australian Owlet-nightjar Aegotheles cristatus, which had first reappeared on 16 March [following an absence since 16 September 2012] called on three occasions during April; 21, 25 and 28. The Southern Boobook Ninox boobook called on 4 and 27 April.
The Pacific Baza Aviceda subcristata put in two consecutive appearances; 13 and 14 April. On 25 April we were graced by a Whistling Kite Haliastur sphenurus and a Collared Sparrowhawk Accipiter cirrocephalus; the latter returned on 28 April.
A pair of our “Backyard Darlings”, the Glossy Black-Cockatoos Calyptorhynchus lathami, was noted flying east to west across our property on 8 April. The Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus funereus called towards the end of the month [28th].
Six Little Lorikeets Glossopsitta pusilla, their first visit since 24 March, flew over on 4 April. The following day we noted a trio of Red-rumped Parrots Psephotus haematonotus at the Andrews Road end of Allen Road.
A Fan-tailed Cuckoo Cacomantis flabelliformis was prominent on 21 April; a week later [28th] the Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater called for the first time since 23 January. The Grey Fantail Rhipidura albiscapa on 25 April was its first appearance here since July 2012!
Yes, April may have felt slow but there was quality in the species that put in an appearance. May is an entirely new month.