FW: [Birding-Aus] Australian Painted-snipe

To: Canberrabirds <>
Subject: FW: [Birding-Aus] Australian Painted-snipe
From: Geoffrey Dabb <>
Date: Tue, 3 Jan 2023 22:26:52 +0000

The reason for forwarding this message from birding.aus is the date.  Two years from the photo. The endangered species has not been reported in this area since then. There is no ebird record anywhere for the species in 2022.


The Dec/Jan 2021 visit was recorded by quite a few local observers, reflecting the enthusiasm of Canberrans for their rarities. (I think it was first picked up by Lyndon & Steve W, but I might be wrong about that.)  Such visits here have been  noted regularly but infrequently over the years, by contrast with the relative absence of reports from elsewhere. I would attribute this to local wetlands being quite intensively observed, compared to other places.  Even so there are many corners around the ACT where the species might have passed through unnoticed.   Perhaps a couple are lurking right now in a local wetspot.  Individuals of the (estimated, rapidly declining) population of 340 must be somewhere.



From: Birding-Aus <> On Behalf Of Geoffrey Dabb
Sent: Sunday, 1 January 2023 10:55 AM
Subject: [Birding-Aus] Australian Painted-snipe


Now that 2022 is done, I checked ebird for records of the species for that year.  This brought up a map unburdened by any reports, with the depressing notation ‘No data for this taxon’. This contrasts with the reporting for 2022 of the relatively commonplace Orange-bellied Parrot. I had previously mentioned to this forum a sighting of the p-snipe near Rockhampton at end October, but I can no longer find that ebird record. I cannot explain this.  Perhaps my memory is worse than I thought.


This led me to recall one of the last photographic records of the species, in Canberra almost exactly 2 years ago. This was photographed across Kelly Swamp at a distance of more than 100m, from the position indicated by the yellow star.  From that distance, it is quite possible to pick out the species with binoculars, and identify it. However, as with that pair there might be a certain amount of hide and seek as they move in and out of the vegetation.  At other times they might rest for hours at the one spot.  More recently, at the point indicated by the red star, the ACT authorities have taken the edge off the stern prohibition against proceeding further by offering the possibility of a distant view of a painted-snipe. While this is certainly a theoretical possibility, as the species has not been seen for two years it would be prudent for the out-of-town birdwatcher to check for any recent news of the species before travelling to this spot  with the expectation of seeing it.


I have included a dock in the picture.   The reason for this is that there seems to be some association between painted-snipe and this particular weed, in my experience anyway.  During more than one appearance of the painted-snipe at Kellys, the dock has been a useful reference point. ‘It’s near the dock’, people would say, ‘just find the dock and look right next to it’.


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