I appreciated Carol Probets recent comments about not posting the location
for the Capertree Valley Painted Snipe.
Quote - "the reason I didn't post the exact location for the Painted
Snipe is that the bird was on private property and the owners specifically
don't want people going onto their land. Although we saw the bird from a
public road, I know that some birders would be tempted to jump the fence
for a better look and this would ultimately damage relations between
birdwatchers and landowners in the valley. The Regent Honeyeater Operations
Group has spent years building up a good relationship with landholders and
I wouldn't want this to be jeopardised. I'm sure most of you will
understand this." - unquote
Yes, Carol, that is a significant reason why it's hard to share locations of
some of the rarer sightings - especially if there's a chance the birds might
My birding in and around the valley is recognised with something approaching
friendly amusement by most of the local landholders. Some of them quite warm
to the activity as they come to realise that they live in a place that is
valued by others and important to the environment and to local wildlife.
But, there are also those who exhibit little more than a grudging tolerance,
while nonetheless allowing limited (controlled) access to some of their
creeks and paddocks - in part, I think, because I'm a local who is seen as
harmless enough! And they know where to find me if anything untoward
It can be a pretty delicate balance, and although it goes against the grain
not to share everything with everyone, we're sometimes struggling to
maintain any access at all. Strange vehicles hanging around fencelines are
seen as suspicious. Strangers are seen as suspicious. Anyone thought to have
'green' inclinations is seen as suspicious. They can be a suspicious lot
these Queensland landholders! And I'm not exaggerating.
Of course, no-one owns these birds, and I don't believe that any of us
birders should try to be proprietorial about them - they're usually found as
much by good luck as by skilled judgement. (I've been seeing a lot of Black
Falcons lately, but that isn't because I'm some exceptional birder - it's
because I'm out there, and they fly past).
I believe that in the long term the best thing we can do for the birds is to
share our knowledge and help other people to see them and value what they
are and what they represent. But, in the short term, when they turn up in
the corner of a suspicious farmer's paddock we have to tread very carefully.
Which brings me to the latest Lockyer Valley Painted Snipes. They've
remained faithful to the same muddy paddock now for the last few weeks.
Usually four males with the one female.
But on Friday when I had a good look, I couldn't see any males anywhere. The
female wasn't too hard to locate - but no sign of her harem of males.
I took several more photographs, which I'll post shortly. But I hasten to
point out that they're by no means of the standard of Tom Tarrant's
excellent recent pics. I'm not in that digiscoping league! These are just a
few shots of the old hide-on-your-belly-behind-a-blade-of-grass variety -
and I've got the mud and the prickles in my socks to prove it. However,
they're decent enough record shots, and I'll attach a couple to the off-line
copies of this posting.
Lockyer Valley, Queensland.
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