Blue Rock-Thrushes and the resurgence of nudity

To: "List Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Blue Rock-Thrushes and the resurgence of nudity
From: "Glen Ingram" <>
Date: Thu, 13 Nov 1997 20:43:03 +1100
Thanks to Greg Roberts, this is the text of the Blue Rock-Thrush article in
the Sydney Morning Herald and the Melbourne Age today. Please note, in the
photograph, I am yawning, not gawking at the nudists as many people have
unkindly said.


Glen Ingram


Photographs: 1. Blue Rock-Thrush. 2. A male and female walking away from
the camera. 3. Glen Ingram yawning.
Caption: The main attraction as nudists stroll nonchalantly along the sand,
a tiny bird draws binocular-toting bird lovers rushing to Noosa in the hope
of catching a glimpse of him. Photographs by GREG WHITE. 


Sun-lovers at Queensland's best-known nudist beach are getting a little fed
up with the intrusions of a daily procession of visitors armed with
telescopes, binoculars and cameras with high-powered zoom lenses. 

But the visitors are not perving on the nudists enjoying the beach of
Noosa's picturesque Alexandra Bay. 

Bird-watchers from all over Australia have flocked to a headland at the
southern end of the beach to see a blue rock-thrush. 

Yes, a blue rock-thrush. This 18-centimetre bird has never been seen in
Australia before. 

So when word got around that the thrush had chosen one of the nation's
premier tourist destinations to spend the northern winter, the birding
community was all a flutter. 

`I didn't hesitate to get on a plane and you couldn't pick a nicer place to
see it,' said Mike Carter, of Melbourne, who has seen 757 species of birds
in Australia - a record no-one can match. 

Mr Carter was sitting on the headland with his telescope when a topless
woman stumbled upon him. 

`She looked at me as if I was a dirty old man,' he said. `We birders have
to put up with that sort of thing all the time.' 

The thrush is widespread in Asia and Europe and is the `sparrow alone upon
the house-top' referred to in the Bible. 

The Noosa bird is a smart- looking male, with a chestnut belly and
blue-grey back, typical of the species, which breeds in North-East Asia. 

The bird is elusive, spending much of the day hiding in rock crevices and
making only sporadic appearances. 

Dr Glen Ingram, senior curator of vertebrates at the Queensland Museum,
waited six hours before seeing it. 

`It's a bit of a mongrel when they don't co-operate, even if there are
other attractions around,' he said. 

Dr Ingram said the bird may have been on its annual migration to South-East
Asia when it became disorientated by smoke from Indonesia's forest fires. 

The thrush was found two weeks ago by a local bird enthusiast, Mr Robert
Shaw. `You could have knocked me over with a feather,' Mr Shaw said. 

The bird-watchers who came a-running are called `twitchers', a term coined
by British comedian Bill Oddie, because such people twitch with excitement
when they hear of a rare bird sighting. 

`It's a bit like climbing mountains,' said Mr Tony Palliser, a Sydney
twitcher who also made the pilgrimage to Noosa. `You do it because it's

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