Having recently returned from a sojourn in Tasmania
I thought I'd make a few observations about the 40 Spots and Corvids - the
Corvids on King Is that is.
On King we found whole paddocks full of corvids
which we physically ID'd as Little Ravens but which had voices much deeper
than mainland Littles. There were other corvids in pairs or small groups
which to us looked like Forest Ravens and which had very gutteral
Local birders (anon) assured us that we were
mistaken about the Little Ravens and that we had been seeing large numbers of
Forest Ravens, which seemed odd to us as previous experience on the mainland
with Forest Ravens was that they occur in pairs or small groups, whilst Littles
do often flock in large numbers.
However, Watts D. 1999. A Field Guide to
Tasmanian Birds, p170, states that there are no
Forest Ravens on King Is. !! ( both map and distribution
All the "regular" field guides - Pizzey, Simpson
and Day, and Slater- all say that both occur there.
Schodde & Mason, 1999, pp 609 - 611 state that
both Corvus mellori ( Little Raven) and Corvus tasmanicus
tasmanicus ( Forest Raven ) occur on King Is, and refer to Littles as
the flocking species. They also say that
" known morphological and voice traits suggest that
mellori may form a superspecies with C. tasmanicus " and that
" a molecular survey of differentiation in this morphologically cryptic group is
Does anyone have a really definitive view on this
Part of our itinerary was of course to locate some
Forty-spotted Pardalotes. At first we checked at Tinderbox but although
there were lots of Pardalotes about they were all regular Spotted's. I had
previously reported 40-spotteds from a section of the Peter Murrell reserve in
1998 - not the Coffee Creek section - so we headed off to Howden in search of
these. We went through Howden from south to north and found a small track going
off to the right, just on a curve near a house with a sign " Phillip Barrender ,
Builder" , adjacent to power pole 28 and opposite a blue letterbox and sign
saying " Horses, shut the gate".
The track led in between back gardens and was
cluttered with old household junk , old trucks and other vehicle parts.
This looked interesting so in we went and at about 200 metres in we quickly
found a pair of 40-spotteds flying to and from a nest hole. We also found
several more 40-spotteds in the same area. There were some very fine leaved
eucalypts in the area which the birds were frequenting which we thought might be
We actually thought we'd stumbled on the Coffee
Creek site as reported on b-a ( or was it Wingspan ?), but as we left and went
on a further half kilometre or so we came to the actual Coffee Creek site and
sign. Had we discovered yet another small colony ?
Later in our trip we also found Forty-spotteds
in the large fine leaved eucalypt at McCrackens Gully ( Thomas &
Thomas 1996 p27), about 1.5km south of Barnes Bay, (couldn't exactly find
Waterview Hill though, p26 ), and of course also found them in the
garden at Inala Cottage.
Any comments/ additions or contributions