High numbers of Pictorella Mannikins in Bladensburg National Park, near

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Subject: High numbers of Pictorella Mannikins in Bladensburg National Park, near Winton (Central West Qld)
From: martin cachard <>
Date: Mon, 28 Feb 2011 19:19:28 +1100
G'day all
I have had the pleasure of spending this past weekend at Bladensburg National 
Park, just south of Winton. With the continued wet weather in Cairns setting in 
even more last week, I took the opportunity to drive 10 hours SW to this 
fabulous area which I hadn't visited for almost 10 years. The park is teeming 
with birds at the moment after much rain & to my surprise, I was the only 
visitor in the whole park from 2:30pm Friday 'til departing at 11am on Sunday.
There were many highlights, but the most exciting find was at least 40-odd 
Pictorella Mannikins with many juvenile birds amongst them. I saw this species 
at 4 locations in the park, so I am very sure that there were many more spread 
about in other parts of the immediate area. Anyone visiting western Qld south 
of where they normally are recorded (ie anywhere south of Georgetown, Richmond 
or Mt Isa) should keep their eyes & ears open - they seem to be far more 
nomadic than we previously thought & surely do visit areas well to the south of 
where we expect to see them. Last year some were recorded near Bladensburg by 
other observers at the Lark Quarry site approx 60km to the SW of Bladensburg. I 
know that Andrew Ley has had some quite a few years back at Diamantina NP 
further again to the SW. I was lucky enough to have 50-60 birds at Cuttaburra 
Crossing of Eyre Ck (midway between Bedourie & Birdsville in the very far SW of 
Qld) in June 2007. So it is pretty obvious that this spec
 ies ranges far & wide, quite possibly not just in very good seasons, as 2007 
wasn't anything special climate-wise. This bird is quite obvious in flight with 
it's unique 'pic-pic' calls & high direct (but undulating) flight pattern. This 
call is very useful in the field when learnt as these birds don't sound like 
anything else. Also, they are obviously bigger than the myriad Zebra Finches in 
these semi-arid & arid parts, so can be picked up fairly easily by an alert 
observer. Let's hope that more records turn up of this species of such subtle 
Other highlights at Bladensburg NP were Striated Grasswrens & Rufous-crowned 
Emu-wrens, many Ground Cuckoo-shrikes, plenty of Spinifexbirds, & a slightly 
lost Striped Honeyeater, not to mention the 1000's of Spinifex Pigeons abundant 
in this gereat park. Plus so much more...
I have put a few sight records onto Eremaea's Birdline Australia with a few 
further details. If anyone is interested in any further info or images from 
this trip, please just give me an email or phone call.
Martin Cachard
0428 782 808

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