I headed out yesterday afternoon to my designated observation site near The Vines to take part in The Great Cocky Count. It was beautiful weather; clear skies with almost no cloud, and comfortably cool (around 22 degrees Celsius). The site was in a Bush Forever area, and a quick walk around it revealed large mature paperbark trees (mostly Melaleuca rhaphiophylla) as well as Marri (Corymbia calophylla) and other gum trees, surrounding a natural spring. I chose a place on top of nearby earthworks, about 180 metres away, to view the site as dusk approached. Two kangaroos bounded past, startled.
It was a quiet evening. I waited impatiently for Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus latirostris) to make an appearance. Usually flocks of these birds can be heard from several hundred metres away, but I heard only a few magpies and butcherbirds carolling the sunset. I watched the colours changing on the Perth Hills with the fading light, and picked a few more ticks off my socks. Commercial jets droned overhead on their early descent to Perth airport, all flashing lights and brightly-lit tails. But no flocks of big black birds arrived. It soon became obvious that Carnaby's might not be coming to roost on this occasion.
At 6:40pm, I packed up my binoculars and notepad. My count for the evening was zero. From a scientific viewpoint, this is still a result, and however disappointing, it's important that it's included in the survey. I hope the other volunteers had more impressive counts!