Thomas & Thomas 2nd Edition - completeness v reluctance

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Thomas & Thomas 2nd Edition - completeness v reluctance
From: Trevor Ford <>
Date: Fri, 25 Mar 2011 13:01:11 +1000

First of all I must say that I thought the first edition was excellent. I travelled a little with Richard and Sarah when they were investigating some of the sites, and their enthusiasm and diligence shine through in the book. I don't yet have the second, photographic edition but I'm sure that it will have been written to the same high standard.

What I would like to comment on is Simon Mustoe's observation that: "Some failures to map sites correctly could come down to author error. In other cases, it's due to lack of advice from Australian birders ... in at least one recent example, the authors tried to get more information from a local expert but it was not forthcoming, leaving them to use material that was available from othe sources, such as birding-aus."

I am not this "local expert" but I was approached some time ago regarding the whereabouts of Beach Stone-curlews on Bribie Island. The justification provided was "in order to take the pressure off the site near Cairns". Hello! Do I really want to be responsible for putting that pressure on Bribie's birds instead, by mapping sites in a publication that will no doubt be used by the majority of visiting birders?

I think it quite appropriate that local birders should exercise the right, based on their intimate knowledge of specific sites, not to advertise that site in a global marketplace if they feel that by doing so it would affect the well-being of a "target" species. I really dislike any kind of "suppression" but sometimes you just need to do the right thing by the bird(s). But I also feel that the author of such a book has a right to ask such questions, with a sensible compromise often the result.

Incidentally, there are two sites locally where Beach Stone-curlews are seen regularly. At one site they would almost certainly breed if it were not for walkers, dog-walkers (with dogs on and off leash), fishermen, the odd 4wd and yes, even birdwatchers. At the other site they have attempted to breed twice in the past 10 years. On one occasion, the nest and eggs were destroyed by a hailstorm. On the other occasion, the nest was abandoned due to human disturbance (not birdwatchers). So these birds do not need any extra pressure in addition to that being provided by an increasing human population.

Cheers - Trevor.

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