Rosy Starling in the Australian Nespaper

To: "Messages Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Rosy Starling in the Australian Nespaper
From: "Bob Forsyth HotMail" <>
Date: Wed, 15 Sep 2004 09:09:56 +1000
G'day all,
From the Australian Newspaper
re Rosy Starling
Bob Forsyth, Mount Isa, NW Qld.

Bird flies to wrong continent
By Mark Whittaker
September 15, 2004

A SOLITARY starling has set the birdwatching world aflutter after arriving in the Kimberley 12 days ago.

No ordinary backyard pest, this starling with a rose-coloured beak has never before been seen in Australia.
Normally it spreads across the central Asian steppe in great wheeling flocks, heading south at this time of year to winter in India.

How this lonely bird came to be in Australia has sparked a flurry of speculation about whether it overflew India and kept flying for 6000km, perhaps hitching a ride on a ship, or whether it just escaped from an aviary - even though the bird isn't kept in Australia.

One person who doesn't care how it got here is Joy Tansey, warden of the Broome Bird Observatory. She was the first person to see it, and in the birdwatching world, where ticking off new species is the name of the game, this was one very big tick.

She was taking a mother and daughter on a birdwatching tour of Roebuck Plains Station, outside Broome.

Out on a grassy plain dotted with fat termite mounds, they saw the strange, predominantly black and white bird with a rosy beak.
"I was pretty amazed," says Tansey, 50, whose personal tally of birds seen in Australia is now 556 species. "The adrenaline rush was huge. We grabbed the scopes and camera and started to take pictures. I was shouting: 'Find paper. Write this down.' But it was an obliging little fellow. It sat around for 35 minutes."

She started alerting others via phone and the internet, so by lunchtime, at La Trobe University in Melbourne, ornithologist Rohan Clarke was being alerted to the find by Mike Carter.

In the competitive but friendly world of twitchers - birdwatchers who list sightings of different species - Mike Carter sits atop the tree with more than 770 species in Australia, and here he was alerting Clarke, perched on 749 and closing, to the news.

By 11.30pm that night Clarke was touching down in Broome. Next morning, filled with anticipation, he drove out to the fence line where the starling had been seen. But it wasn't there, so Clarke spent the weekend scanning the plains with Broome's hard-core birdwatching community of about seven, becoming increasingly despondent that the bird had flown.

He flew back to Melbourne without the tick. The bird hasn't been seen since, despite the best efforts of the locals, who would kick off a mini tourism boom from all the likeminded souls if they could just get it to sit still for a couple of days.

The Australian
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