Pictorella Mannikin Location

To: "Messages Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Pictorella Mannikin Location
From: "Bob Forsyth" <>
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 21:37:17 +1000
g'Day All,
A few intending visitors to the Isa have enquired about the possibility of sighting Pictorella Mannikins (PM's) so I thought some other potential visitors may be interested in the following........
Late Sunday, David Andrew (now with Lonely Planet) rang me and said he was passing thru the Isa, but   "did I know where to find Pictorella's ?"
I answered in the affirmative & in a moment of weakness said I would show him early the following's been a bit cold here some mornings and not daylight until 6.50am.....and I am a late starter.
So, early next morning we drove out along the road towards the Lake Moondarra dam wall and turned off at the road leading to the entrance to  the Clear Water (sediment settling) Reservoir.  Just before the access gate we turned left (south-west) onto the dirt track to a wide open bay..... and waited.
Very shortly about 7.20am the PM's started arriving in small groups to drink and some times bathe. Some would leave in groups of up to 12. Others, would preen themselves on dead trees before flying off.  We saw at least 30 birds unless some came back twice. They never left singly and frequently in pairs. A few had not yet reached full adult plumage.
This is an area where before the wet season I would also observe Painted Finches (Firetails) and during the wet season the Shorebird experts believe the Snipes hiding in the reeds are Swinhoe's. These Snipe have been here the last 3 years at least.
In the past I have found daybreak birding no advantage.....but in this case I was very wrong !
The PM's can often be seen coming into this location in the late afternoon, (which is more to my bird watching likes)..but over a longer time frame. 
The PM's  were not upset by our presence. With another birdo, 3 days ago at another but much more inaccessible location we sat only 5 meters from a shallow pool and watched them coming in to drink and bathe.
Bob Forsyth
Mount Isa, NW Qld.
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