Happy New Year to you all. I have just returned from Hobart, where I
spent nearly four weeks with my family.
I have been visiting Hobart for years, but this time - almost two
years since my last trip - I was really bowled over by the domination
of exotic birds in the city. There seems to be a greater presence of
ferals and a lesser presence of natives, than ever before.
My husband and I continued our habit of walking for 6 or 7 km every
morning very early from my parents' home in Salamanca Square, Battery
Point - right on the edge of the city. Wherever we walked we saw
large numbers of blackbirds, starlings, goldfinches and sparrows. One
morning we were walking through a park, and before I realised what I
was saying, I had said, "Oh look, there's a native bird!" It was a
Masked Lapwing, one of the beneficiaries of habitat clearing. All
around the grassy park and gardens were dozes of feral birds foraging
Same story half an hour away at rural Richmond, where my brother
farms walnuts on the banks of the Coal River. I guess the best thing
you could say about my brother's property is that he grows trees, but
they're of little use to native birds. Most of the surrounding land
is used for grazing or other agricultural purposes, and the same
line-up of feral birds is present, mixed with low numbers of native
birds. Oh, Musk Lorikeets are abundant at the moment in the
I found the birding situation in Hobart quite depressing this trip. I
have enjoyed chasing the endemics in years gone by, but nowadays I
see only a landscape that's practically a desert for native birds.
And I keep thinking about all the land clearing going on here in
South-East Queensland, laying the foundations of an equally
disastrous future for native birds here. Just this morning I had to
walk past a pair of Indian Mynas in semi-rural Beerwah (Sunshine
Coast hinterland), and that felt pretty bad.
As I said, Happy New Year!
Sunshine Coast, Qld
26º 51' 152º 56'
Ph (07) 5494 0994
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