Martin and all,
A couple of notes on the Magpie Goose situation -
As I recall, a bloke called H. Wheelwright (wouldn't swear to the initial),
who was a shooter for the Melbourne poultry market, wrote a book with a
title along the lines of "Bush Wanderings of a Naturalist" in about 1865.
I don't have a copy but I remember reading bits of it years ago. I think
he quoted prices for Magpie Goose and Black Duck which, given the
difference in size between the birds, suggested that they were probably
roughly equally easy to obtain around Western Port in those days. There
were quite a few interesting notes in the book - I think the copy I looked
at was in the Victorian State Library.
An elderly relative of mine (long since dead) who lived just north of
Warrnambool described for me a pair of birds he had seen near a lake I
think near Mortlake, round about 1970. I don't recall the exact terms of
his description, just my conviction that what he had seen almost certainly
had to be Magpie Geese. He had seen the birds some time (possibly a couple
of years) before he told me about them. At the time I might have known
about the Serendip birds, but the accepted view was that there were no wild
Magpie Geese in Victoria. Does anyone know when the Tower Hill colony was
established, and when birds from there might first have been liberated?
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