David Parker wrote:
> OCD (or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Hmmmm what is life in the
> birding world coming to? <snip>
> But at the end of the day what have we got out of it? An idea of the
> distribution of the species seen, sore eyes, a migrane or two, boosted egos
> and a
> self-induced tension of hope (hope that we're the winners) Good one!!
> What haven't we got out of it which we might have if we sat and watched a
> little longer. A bit about the behaviour of the bird, maybe its social
> structure, or maybe even its interaction or role in the wider bird community.
> So often in the conservation world two words are placed next to a
> species. "Insufficently Known". Imagine what we could learn if for one day,
> the twitchers were to watch one bird each and write down everything which
> the bird does, be it eat, drink, call, fly or ...... yeah anyway. Maybe
> this thought is less than perfect and has obvious flaws, but what if? I for
> one would be happy to do this, ..Cheers, David
Well said, David! This is something that needs to be said. I am only
too delighted to see a new bird species myself - but merely seeing it
and hearing it is not the be-all and end-all. I don't have the chance
to get away to different habitats very often - but I'm lucky to have
reasonably good birding close to home in Heidelberg, Vic.
This year a pair of Blackwinged Stilts nested at Banyule Swamp. On
Sunday I had the opportunity to see their three, maybe four fluffy
chicks feeding in the shallows, accompanied by their attentive parents.
I now know something I didn't before- the parents defend their young
with great vigour, yapping as they fly at any other bird that approaches
and chasing it away. They attacked Starlings, Black-fronted Plovers, a
White-faced Heron and a Masked Lapwing - which gave them the most
trouble, as it was quite prepared to fight back. The Heron was made to
take wing with both Stilts chasing it quite acrobatically in the air.
Meanwhile the chicks continued to feed by dabbing tiny insects off the
water surface. I felt however that the solitary Great Egret, wading
knee-deep further out, might have posed a serious danger to them. It had
its beautiful breeding plumes quite well-grown, so will probably leave
A bit further down the path we had splendid views of Latham's Snipe -
4 of them - but after flying into longish grass, their only performance
was to sit still, apparently resting, with only heads showing for the
most part..We were watching from the bike-path (west side) which
provides grandstand views with no disturbance to the birds
Let's have more watching and keep ticking for recreation and special
occasions. Incidentally about 120 people - many of them beginners -
were able to see more than 60 species between them (including Baillons
Crake and Banded Landrail)at the Swamp between 7.30 and 8.30 that
morning at a BOCA 'Breakfast with the Birds'- with minimal disturbance.
Anthea Fleming in Melbourne
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