Welcome to the News section of the iNSiGHT Ornithology website (
www.simoncherriman.com). This blog contains updates about various things I've been up to, interesting environmental issues and observations I make regularly while going about my day. It is designed to be fun AND educational, and inspire you about our wonderful natural world. Happy reading!

Thursday, 30 August 2012

First Tenants



I was really happy to receive an email from Ardross Primary School today to tell me some tenants have moved into one of their nest boxes! This is what teacher Catherine Bishop told me:

“Here's a picture of one of the ring neck pair that have moved into the bird box you put up outside Room 5...



“It's lovely to hear him whistling and funny to see his tail waggling when it wants other birds to clear off. His lady is inside.”

How cool is THAT!? This box was installed earlier in 2012 (see this post for the full story) and already some local native birds are nesting inside. I’m heading back to the school soon so can hopefully get some photos of the chicks
:-)

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Echo Article

The Echo Newspaper contacted me last week to do a story about my eagle research in the Murchison region. Today it was published! A big thank you to Sarah Brookes for her excellent story!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Desert Eagles


I’ve just returned from 2 weeks in the fabulous desert of central Western Australia. This field trip was part of a Wedge-tailed Eagle research project I’m doing in conjunction with the Department of Environment and Conservation at Lorna Glen. The aim was to locate as many eagle nests as possible and get a picture of eagle breeding density across the landscape. The DEC has reintroduced several species of threatened native mammals (including Bilbies, Boodies and Golden Bandicoots) here, so I am particularly interested in eagle diet to see if the wedgies are taking any ‘native prey’ yet, and keeping track of diet to see if they begin to in the future.

My good friend Jeff and I had a fantastic fortnight - we found 38 eagle nests (35 new ones), 11 of which were active and 7 of these contained either eggs or chicks. How exciting! We managed to get some great information about nest site characteristics and record the location of nests, which I will revisit in November to collect prey remains from.

Click here to look at photo album from my latest trip, which includes a whole lot of cool wildlife and landscapes from this spectacular part of Australia.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Ducklings OUT!


The lighting wasn't the best... the camera angle is a bit dodgy... but nevertheless, the stage was set and there was plenty of action. My high-definition, motion-sensing video camera set up on this nest box successfully captured the big moment. Not one, not five, not eight, but FOURTEEN Australian Wood Ducklings coming out! Here it is:



Wood Ducks from Simon Cherriman on Vimeo.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Eagle Tracking


Today I had the THRILLING news that I received a DEC Community Grant for an eagle tracking project at Lorna Glen!! In previous posts, I’ve mentioned beginning research at this DEC reserve in WA’s arid interior - click here to read about my first field trip in 2011. Now this project has kicked into full swing with the injection of valuable funds!

Later in 2012 I plan to conduct an Australian first and fit adult Wedge-tailed Eagles with satellite transmitter units, which will provide me with daily fixes on their location. This information will be used to achieve some of the following aims:
  1.    What is the average daily movement of an adult breeding Wedge-tail?
  2. •   How often to eagles resident at Lorna Glen prey on reintroduced mammals from the fenced enclosure?
  3. •   What is the home range of breeding eagles in this habitat?
  4.    How far to the fledgling eagles born in the Murchison region travel, and where do they go?
Such questions have been partially answered before but not in this region of Australia. Also, research conducted in this field occurred at a time when technology was not very advanced, so methods of determining territory size and habitat use were far less accurate.

I am very excited to be involved in this project, and must thank Keith Morris from DEC for being so encouraging and supportive of the work. I also need to thank the many people who have helped me along the way, including Gill Basnett, Judy Dunlop, Colleen Sims, Rowena Connolly, Neil Hamilton, Mark Blythman, Tegan Douglas, Allan Kuffer, Stephen Davies, and anyone else I’ve forgotten!