News from S.W.QLD.

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Subject: News from S.W.QLD.
From: "Julie Lynn McLaren" <>
Date: Tue, 20 Aug 2002 10:39:12 +0930
This dreadful drought is really taking its toll now, with thousands of kangaroos and emus dying everywhere,including my house yard.It is also taking its toll on the psyche of the people who are seeing the death of the animals day after day.
We've had some great bird experiences in the last few weeks though and these lift your spirits if only for a short while.
On 10th August I showed a guest to the accommodation at the quarters and on the edge of the little lake[artificial one fed by bore water] in front of the building was a Latham's Snipe. Next morning there were 2 of them. They're still here and never seem to stop feeding.
I've been watching a pair of Whistling Kites down there for ages and about a week ago one of them started picking up sticks and sitting in a box tree with the other kite, still holding the stick with one foot. Is this a courtship thing or are they actually starting to build a nest?
About 10 days ago Ian, Anna and I were standing outside the shed when we saw a few raptors circling above us, this number gradually swelled to probably 100 or more with them coming from all directions.As well as those in the air there were dozens perched in trees.With 3 pairs of binoculars we identified 4 species, Whistling Kites, Black Kites,[the majority] Brown Falcons and a couple of Black-breasted Buzzards, then lower down from the main lot and a little to the side a pair of Black-shouldered Kites, and further away from these two was a lone Letter-winged Kite.Anna has seen the L.W.Kite on a few different occasions recently, and on Sunday was lucky enough to see a Grey Falcon at close range.Yesterday Ian saw a pair of Black Falcons about a kilometre from the house and to-day is mustering down in the Cuttaburra Creek country where he saw Grey Falcons on a fairly regular basis last year, so will be interested to hear tonight if he saw any.
We had a group of people here last week who all wanted to see the Hall's Babblers and Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush, and all 15 were lucky enough to see both birds. In fact some people were surrounded by the Babblers, and someone commented "just like House Sparrows". Anna has named one of our stony hills "Quail-thrush Hill". The same group of people were lucky enough to see a mob of about 50 Major Mitchell's, which is always a beautiful sight.
Heaps of Spotted Bowerbirds around, and the bower which we check every week or so is becoming a very splendid display, with marbles,teaspoons,hose clamps and the usual glass,a wonderful entrance and exit lined with fencing staples in the style of a picket fence on either side.
The Fairy-wrens haven't really coloured up yet so it's a bit difficult for us to identify them. A couple of males in one flock have a little bit of blue on the wings.
Cheers, and I hope that my next bit of news tells of wonderful rain and with its coming an array of Waterbirds for me to report.
Julie McLaren.
"Bowra", Cunnamulla,Qld.4490
PH.  O746551238
FAX 0746552368
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