Painted Snipe

To: "Birding Aus" <>
Subject: Painted Snipe
From: "Bill Jolly" <>
Date: Tue, 31 Dec 2002 11:38:29 +1000
Such was the intensity of the Christmas Day hailstorm hereabouts (around
Helidon, Qld) that many cars were dimpled to resemble golf balls, and a
neighbours calf was killed by the hail.

With this in mind, I felt very concerned for our local Painted Snipe when I
thought of them maybe crouching in their featureless paddock throughout the
storm with no semblance of cover. It would surely be impossible to be in
such an open situation without being hit by several of those large missiles
which came to earth at enormous speed. I did a web search the other day, and
found that with all due allowance made for atmospheric drag a large
hailstone can nonetheless reach a terminal velocity approaching 200kph.  

Given that this extra-large hail was preceded by a brief burst of not so
damaging, but spiteful, small hail, maybe everything in the open headed to
the nearest belt of tree-cover before the worst arrived. A camouflaged
crouch can only protect against so much.

My stomach really was leaping with nervousness as I approached the Painted
Snipe hangout on Sunday. Everything looked normal, extra wet and tussocky.
But only three Painted Snipe to be found. The original well-marked female
and two attendant males.

Maybe the others were just out of sight nearby, maybe they've headed off
somewhere else, maybe all sorts of things....
I'll keep watching and report back.

Bill Jolly
Lockyer Valley, Queensland.
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Ph: (+61) 7 4697 6111  Fax: (+61) 7 4697 6056 


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