report from centre/top end

Subject: report from centre/top end
Date: Fri, 21 Aug 1998 11:41:00 +1000
Hi everybody,
as I mentioned a month or so ago my parents and brother are at present 
travelling through the centre and top end of 
Australia.  They have been too busy seeing the birds to give me detailed 
reports but I have gleaned some rough 
information from them during short phone calls.  

They stayed for 2 days at Gluepot and were very excited about the place.  They 
loved the feeling of isolation here and 
felt excited to be about tenth on the visitors book.  They saw a few 
Black-eared miners and got a nice look at a party 
of Striated Grasswrens.

Around Uluru and Alice Springs there had been much rain and the desert was 
significantly in flower.  They suggested this 
would be a very good time to visit.  They found both Pied and Black honeyeaters 
and there were significant numbers of 
Crimson and Orange Chats.  Also found Dusky Grasswren fairly easily.

They looked without success at Pine Creek for Hooded Parrots.  A local 
(knowledgeable??) told them that no Hooded 
Parrots had been seen there for a number of years and he attributed their 
decline to predation by ferals.  Does anyone 
know if either of these beliefs are true.  They did however find a nice flock 
of Hooded Parrots further west (on the way 
to Victoria River I think).  Also got good views and video of Barking Owls near 
Victoria River.

Decided not to go to Kakadu as the main road between Darwin and Kakadu is cut 
due to the bridge on the Mary River 
collapsing.  You can still go via the southern route but as they were short on 
time and have been to Kakadu twice before 
decided to skip it.  Around Darwin saw Rainbow Pitta and Little Bronze-cuckoo 
and used tapes to call Mangrove Robin in 
very close.  

Last report was from Mt. Isa where they arrived yesterday.  On the way used 
tapes to call out some spinifexbirds (which 
I think was my brothers 500th aus bird) and got very close views of Bustards 
beside the road. Lots of Varied Lorikeets 
in Mt. Isa.  Next stop Lawn Hill NP.

As an aside my mother bought a new video camera before leaving and is very 
impressed with the new generation machines as 
a birdwatching aid.  It has a color lcd screen, 18x optical zoom and works in 
very low light.  Does anyone use a video 
as a primary tool for bird identification yet or are the lcd screens still too 
low resolution.  I wonder how long it 
will be before they are more useful than binoculars.  I know a good pair of 
binoculars will be better resolution at the 
moment but even a pair of leicas doesn't record image/sound for later 
comparison with field guides or allow you to go 
back and review interesting behaviours and 18x optical magnification is 
sometimes quite useful.

Best Wishes 
John Boyce

Best Wishes
John Boyce

Department of Microbiology
Monash University
Clayton, 3168
Vic. Australia
phone: work:  9905 4838
       home:  9376 6641

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