The buds on my flowering plum trees are beginning to burst into blossom. And,
right on cue, Silvereyes are combing through the branches, gleaning a little
nectar here, a tiny insect there. The majority have yellow-plumaged chins which
seems to indicate they’re local yokels. But every day or so lately, I notice a
silvereye or two sporting a grey chin. This appears to indicate that the
grey-chins have traveled from southern Victoria and Tasmania, and I guess
they’re currently enroute back to their southern breeding grounds. According to
our books, some ventured as far north as central Queensland.
During late April, I began to look for Striated Pardalotes bearing a yellow
‘wing-spot’ which indicates they’re of the Tasmanian race, and I checked off a
couple at ANBG. The local striated pardners have a red ‘wing-spot’. I guess if
this an incorrect assumption I’ll soon hear about it.
So, I began to delve into the different races of species, and a whole new
widow on birding opened up before me. Accordingly, I’ve found The Directory
of Australian Birds – Passerines by Schodde and Mason to be a source of
information and inspiration. Although I’ve owned it for a good while, I never
referred to it much until twelve months ago when the southern silvereyes tweaked
my interest in different races.
A couple of points re Schodde & Mason though: I often notice the specific
parts of the scientific names they use differ from those in the field guides,
and even from those used in Christidis & Boles. Why is this so? It often has
Layton scratching his layperson’s head. And what happened to the subsequent
volume(s) of The Directory of Australian Birds? Did the wheels – wings –
fall off ?
Finally – and who said, "Thank goodness!" ? – I've heard there's a new
edition of Christidis & Boles in the offing. True?