Painted Snipe confirmed - Banyule wetlands (Melb.)

Subject: Painted Snipe confirmed - Banyule wetlands (Melb.)
Date: Fri, 26 Oct 2001 09:51:41 +1000

From: Martin  on 26/10/2001 09:51 AM

Subject:  Painted Snipe confirmed - Banyule wetlands (Melb.)

Well, what a buzz.

Peter Menkhorst and myself were out at Banyule Wetlands in Heidelberg/Viewbank
this morning (26 Oct. at 6 a.m.) to catch up with the 'bird of the year' in
Melbourne.  Peter had already set up the scope but had only recorded a Latham's
Snipe which was feeding on open mud.

As reported yesterday, we also saw another Latham's Snipe try to land in the
little storm water area in the north-east corner of the wetlands.  This bird was
chased off by the original snipe with a few calls heard as well.

Then, not 15 minutes after arriving, a most unusual-in-flight bird arrived,
flying low into the little pond.  Straight away we knew this was something
different.  The white chest band was most distinctive and, contrary to what the
bird books show, the wings were much rounder and shorter.  A Painted Snipe
female or possibly a juvenile we thought.  Behaviour was also different to the
Latham's.  As the books mention, this bird froze and it was apparent it could
see us and was aware of being observed.  It did, however, move a few times and
bobbed its tail in the fashion of a Common Sandpiper.  At one stage we had both
the Latham's and Painted Snipe in the scope view, which clearly showed the
latter as a noticeably larger wader with a shorter bill and longer legs.

Peter and I agreed that given a quiet time (eg. early morning), a bit of luck
and some patience, one should not have any trouble seeing this bird.  Strongly
recommended for a non-twitcher like myself!


p.s. Painted Snipe have been nominated as a threatened species under Victoria's
Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act.  The Scientific Advisory Committee is yet to
assess the nomination.

Martin O'Brien
Executive Scientific Officer & Secretary
Scientific Advisory Committee
Parks Flora and Fauna Division
Department of Natural Resources and Environment
4/250 Victoria Pde.,
East Melbourne  3002

Tel: 9412 4567
Fax: 9412 4586
(prefixes: Interstate 03 International 613)
Visit the Flora and Fauna Guarantee section of the
Department of Natural Resources and Environment at:

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