garden specials

To: Birding-Aus Mail <>
Subject: garden specials
From: (Richard Johnson)
Date: Thu, 08 Jun 2000 11:35:56 +1000
Hi all

Nice idea, Edwin, even though I do enjoy the conservation-related stuff.
To get into the swing of things, I'll list the special ones from my last
two gardens.

I lived in Gatton (pop. 6000), in the Lockyer Valley, about 90km W of
Brisbane, for 6 years. Every Australian raptor has been recorded in the
Valley, a distinction that I suspect not too many places can claim. I
managed to see most of them, missing Buzzard, Grey Falcon, Letter-winged
Kite and Red Goshawk, only getting one of those frustrating 'could have
been but you can't claim it' looks at a possible RG .
Anyway, to get to the garden: I saw Pacific Baza; Black-shouldered Kite;
Whistling Kite; Wedge-tailed Eagle; Little Eagle; White-bellied
Sea-eagle;  Square-tailed Kite; Kestrel, Hobby, Black and Peregrine
Falcons; Collared Sparrowhawk; and Grey Goshawk, either in or over my
garden (a suburban 1/4 acre). I rate the Grey Goshawk as the most
special - a truly marvellous bird, it visited irregularly while living
in the area for a couple of weeks before moving on. The Collared
Sparrowhawk(s) were regulars, playing havoc with the local population of
Spotted Turtle-doves.
There were plenty of non-raptors too, and of these the most unlikely
would have to be Major Mitchell Cockatoo and Superb Parrot. They were,
of course, just the most exotic of a steady stream of aviary escapees
that passed by, mostly budgies and lovebirds. God knows where they all
came from!
More latterly, I've been living in Roma (pop. 6000) in central southern
Qld. Plenty of nice birds in the garden here, too. The family group of
Ground Cuckoo-shrikes that roosted in the backyard trees and the
neighbouring park for a while were special, but an old favourite takes
the prize for most magic moment to date. I woke early one misty morning
thinking I was hearing things - that couldn't be Magpie Geese, could it?
The soft honking of Magpie Geese flying over unseen in the dark is a
sound I grew up with and is the most evocative bird sound I know.
Amazingly, the sound was coming from three birds perched in a tree in
the neighbours yard. A wonderful record and close enough to be a garden
bird, by my loose definition anyway!

Richard Johnson
Roma District
Tel: (07) 4622 4266  Fax: (07) 46 22 4151

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