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 morning....it's been a bit cold here
some mornings and not daylight until 6.50am.....and I am a late
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
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
Mount Isa, NW Qld.