As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Site of planned Hunter coal plant is endangered bird's only NSW breeding area

The regent honeyeater’s plight has blocked previous Hunter Valley development plans in the Hunter economic zone
Thu 7 Mar 2019 01.09 GMTLast modified on Thu 7 Mar 2019 22.43 GMT
The site flagged for a 2,000 megawatt coal-fired power plant in the New South Wales Hunter region was the only breeding site in the state last year for the regent honeyeater, a critically endangered bird whose plight has blocked previous development plans.
Guardian Australia revealed yesterday that an agreement had been struck between the China Energy Engineering Corporation, Hong Kong-based Kaisun Holdings and a tiny Australian company, Cavcorp, to build a new coal plant.
Companies linked to Cavcorp’s sole director, Frank Cavasinni, own most of the land in the Hunter economic zone, a failed plan to stimulate local economies in the lower Hunter.
Previous plans to develop land in the HEZ failed to come to fruition because of their impact on the land, and particularly on the regent honeyeater.
In 2016 the NSW land and environment court overturned the approval for a steel plant on the grounds it would destroy the honeyeater’s habitat.

Mick Roderick, the NSW woodland bird program manager for BirdLife Australia, said the HEZ was the most important conservation property in the Hunter Valley. “It’s unparalleled in terms of the number of threatened species,” he said.
BirdLife Australia last year conducted searches for the regent honeyeater, which is estimated to have a remaining population of fewer than 400 birds. They could not find breeding sites elsewhere in the state, but observed nesting birds and chicks in the HEZ.

Roderick said the importance of the woodlands could not be overstated. “The fact that these are the only nests found so far this year shows how much trouble this species is in,” he said.
Dean Ingwersen, the national regent honeyeater recovery coordinator for BirdLife Australia, said the HEZ was “a critical piece of the conservation puzzle”.

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