Dear Lorne & others,
Unfortunately sightings of rare birds sometimes go unreported to the
wider birding community and my posting yesterday (Blue Mountains Report)
was an attempt to redress this situation.
Let me offer a bit of background on the Blue Mountains Bird Observers.
Since they began, the club has been compiling lists each month but these
never went any further than the club itself and until fairly recently
many members had little or no contact with birders outside the group.
Over the years the club has grown and has been joined by several
experienced birders who have helped to give direction.
Members send in their lists of sightings at the end of each month. These
are compiled into a master list, and then (usually around the 9th or
10th of each month) everyone's lists and comments are passed on to the
Newsletter Editor so that they can pick out the interesting bits and
turn it all into a newsletter, which is then sent to all the members.
That's the way the club has been doing things since they started, long
before I was a member.
I took on the job of Newsletter Editor in July 1998. Since then I have
tried to encourage the club's interaction with other groups (in my very
first newsletter I wrote an editorial on this, also emphasising the
importance of reliable reporting). We have a wonderful network of keen
birdwatchers here in the mountains and it's good to see their enthusiasm
is now also being harnessed in projects like the Atlas.
I will be posting highlights each month as soon as I get the information
myself - about the 10th of the following month. It's better than
nothing. The only way you can get the information immediately is if the
individual observer reports it to Birdline or Birding-Aus.
Regarding the Letter-winged Kite: I have no doubt this is correct. It
was seen separately by two different observers who each provided an
excellent description. Letter-winged Kites do occasionally turn up in
Regarding the Spotted Bowerbirds: I was sceptical too. Our club has a
Vetting Committee which will examine this report. It appears that the
observer has taken care with his identification and I think the report
should be taken seriously. They were definitely bowerbirds and
apparently had a pink nape-mark.
And now there's a new development to this story. This morning I was
talking to one of my students at the local community college and she
remembers seeing a bower a couple of years ago which contained red
decorations, and it was near the area at Valley Heights where the
Spotted Bowerbirds were reported. At the time she did not realise this
was unusual. I did a bit of research today and found a reference to a
Spotted Bowerbird which was resident at Tuggerah (coastal NSW) during
1985-87 (Chaffer & Waterhouse, Australian Birds 21(2) pp58-59).
I will provide more information when it comes to hand.
>Date: Fri, 12 Feb 1999 10:12:48 +1000
>From: lorne <>
>Subject: birding-aus blue mountains rarities
>I am VERY VERY VERY excited, albeit bewildered, re. the sightings of
>Spotted Bowerbirds and Letter-winged Kites in the Blue Mountains.
>How come the Letter-winged Kite observations from Blackheath area last
>April didn't get any attention/publicity. I would have gone there in
>minutes if I'd known about the bird. I don't remember any BIRDLINE NSW
>info on it or BIRDING-AUS noise. Is this authentic???????!!!!!!
>Where exactly have these three Spotted Bowerbirds been located??? In
>vicinity of Springwood?????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
>I must say, I'm pretty sceptical, but happy to be pointed to the truth!
>Yours in shock,
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