Will Birders Lose Bowra?

To: Carl Clifford <>
Subject: Will Birders Lose Bowra?
From: Merrilyn Serong <>
Date: Sun, 19 Sep 2010 14:39:40 +1000
Hi Carl,
I totally agree with you. I think most birders and bird photographers act in a responsible manner, but occasionally I see someone who is so keen to tick or photograph a bird (or other wildlife) that they act in a most inappropriate manner, e.g, banging on trees with hollows or otherwise intentionally flushing a bird, approaching very closely despite having good binoculars or a long lens, using flash at close range (no point if not close anyway), etc.. These people seem to be quite oblivious of the needs of the birds, or they just don't care. It is much better to be patient and wait quietly and unobtrusively for the good view or ideal shot; much more is learnt that way, too. If you miss out, so what! At least you've been outside and communed with nature.

Carl Clifford wrote:
Dear All,

I have just had a great couple of weeks at Bowra, a bit damp at times, but great birding and the BQ folks are doing a great job with managing the accommodation.

One thing concerns me though, the amount of play-back used to attract birds by birders and birder/photographers. During my stay there was a group doing audio recordings of bird songs. Some members of the group was less than amused when they discovered that they were probably recording near as much play-back as they were recording actual live bird-song. The worst incident I saw involved the Restless Flycatchers that have been nesting by the front door of the shearers quarters. Coming back for lunch one day, There, on a ladder by the nest was a "birder/photographer" repeatedly using play-back to make the Flycatcher chicks adopt the begging pose, until he had "the right shot'.

Several years ago while at another Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) property, "Scotia", I had a chat with a staff member regarding the AWC policy on using calls to attract birds for the purpose of ticking or photographing them. I was told that AWC does not support this type of call-in and that any-one found to continue using it after being asked to stop would be asked to leave the property.

Signs have already appeared at Bowra setting-out guidelines for photography and call use, so I presume this excessive play-back has been noted. Whether the notices will do any good is yet to be seen. as in the words of one of my fellow visitors said "they have to catch you doing it first".

So please folks, please play by the rules, as Bowra can be closed to the public at any time if the behaviour of some visitors is deemed to be not in the interests of the wildlife. Also, remember that this is no longer a private property, but part of the National Reserve System and subject to Federal environmental Legislation, and if anyone wants to tackle that Tar-Baby, have fun.

Please don't give the powers that be excuses to close down Bowra to visitors, too many people have given so much time and money to keep Bowra open for visitors, don't let them down.


Carl Clifford

P.S. No doubt some will regard this post as an anti-call-in rant, if so, sorry, but my birding philosophy is "if you can't find the bird by field-craft, you don't deserve it"


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