To: (Dr Richard Nowotny) (by way of (Dr Richard Nowotny))
Subject: Ireland
From: Julian Bielewicz <>
Date: Sun, 12 Jul 1998 06:12:52 +1000

At 15:30 10/07/98 +1000, you wrote:

>2.Ireland: Eric, one of Ireland's best birders, author of "The
>Complete Guide to Ireland's Birds", a proud Dubliner and Irishman and a
>genuinely nice guy, 

Couldn't agree with you more!  Fay and I met Eric and his wife Esther when
they were out here birding in Oz and then again last year when we spent
three days with them in their Dublin home.  We also met their close friend
Michael O'Clery, the illustrator to Eric's book and one of Ireland's best
artists.  Indeed, Michael presented us with one of the original paintings
he'd produced for the book during their stay with us and we purchased a
further two when staying with Eric and Esther in April 1997.  Recently we
commissioned Michael to paint an original for us with the woodcock at
Stepaside (where Michael "housesits" for his Irish Times father)as the
subject.  It holds pride of place among our small but growing collection of
paintings.  Fay and I would have no hesitation in recommneding Michael's work.

>The target birds were Corncrake, Hen
>Harrier and Red Grouse.  

In our case Eric was finally able to show us Corncrake and the Irish race of
Red Grouse but we never came across Hen Harrier in Ireland.  Eric and
Michael were also able to show us a number of other great birds, some of
which became lifers or at least new additions to our European List...and no
doubt you noticed Eric's aversion to having Ireland referred to as "an
island off Britain" or more precisely to people referring to Britain as the
"mainland" when in Ireland.  Part of his pride in his heritage!  

>        While a total of 93 species in nearly 5 days of birding isn't
>sensational riches by Australian standards, 

Have you tried birding in and around Mt Isa???  93 would be good for that
area of Australia. I don't really want to get bogged down in a discussion
about comparative sizes of two different geographical locations butI feel
that if in Australia we can count Tasmania (some 200 miles off the
mainland), Antartica (a few thousand miles), Norfolk Island and Lord Howe
Island, not to mention the Cocos Keelings ... then we really should be
comparing Australian numbers to European totals rather than to one small
section of the continent.  

During my 1992 two-day birding trip through Fife and Speyside,in Scotland,
accompanied by American birder David Stemple (and therein lies another
amazing tale of "Hail fellow, well met, again!" I clocked 104 species on the
first day and 102 on the second.  I never came anywhere close to those
totals during my ten days on Lord Howe Island.  Nor at Mt Isa two weeks ago.
Indeed, as last year's QOSI "Twitchathon" co-ordinator I am well aware that
in a number of Queensland settings (and arguable we have Australia's best
birding "spots") a number of teams failed to reach 100 species - and that
was in a 24-hour period of concerted birding with several pairs of eyes and
ears fine tuned to ticking species.

However to return to more positive matters, I again fully concur with your
sentiments that
>Ireland was a special birding
>experience, with much to commend it to travelling birders.  (With special
>thanks to Eric and Esther.)... and Michael.

Julian Bielewicz
Past President
Queensland Ornithological Society

12 Florence Street
Kippa Ring, Q. 4021

Tel: +61 7 3283 4921
Fax: +61 7 3880 4272

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