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Search in a haystack produces some needles!

Western Local Land Services has teamed up with BirdLife Australia to conduct surveys in the White Cliffs region to confirm the presence of Grey Range Thick-billed Grasswrens.

The Grey Range Thick-billed Grasswren has been identified as one of the 20 Australian birds most likely to go extinct in the next 20 years.

Thick-billed Grasswrens are reputedly the least vocal of all the grasswrens, and this, combined with their often furtive nature, makes them rather difficult to find across the arid shrublands they inhabit.

When this is added to their rarity, it makes conducting surveys for them difficult in the extreme.

Nevertheless, despite these hurdles, a small team of scientists, guided by the landholder’s observations, were successful in finding some grasswrens.

In early April over a five day period, the scientists detected grasswrens in six of the seven sites where the landholders had reported seeing the birds, as well as an additional site that the scientists thought looked ‘promising’.

While it is too soon to estimate the size of the population of Grey Range Thick-billed Grasswrens, it was pleasing for all involved in the surveys, including the landholders, that the birds were confirmed.

Western Local Land Services Senior Land Services Officer, Brian Dohnt was pleased with the outcome from the surveys.

“This is a terrific outcome and has been a great project to be involved in,” Mr Dohnt said.

“The landholders in the area are to be commended for their involvement and they are as ecstatic as anyone with the outcome from the surveys.”

Results from these surveys, including sightings and vegetation structure assessments, will be used to inform future surveys.

This project was coordinated by Western Local Land Services in conjunction with BirdLife Australia, through Catchment Action NSW funding, and worked closely with local landholders in the region.  

Media contact:
Charlie Whiteley, Western Local Land Services, 0428 679 974.