Tasmanian migrants and brolgas

Subject: Tasmanian migrants and brolgas
From: John Gibson <>
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 1997 15:35:47 +1000
Hello All

Spring must be here even in Hobart - I heard my first black faced cuckoo
shrike for many months at lunch time. This led me to ponder the question of
why some birds (including small ones like silvereyes) happily migrate
across Bass Strait, whereas other eminently migratory species, eg olive
backed orioles, stop at Wilson's Prom. Presumably many migratory species
reached 'Tasmania' when a land bridge still existed to the mainland, and
the ones that still reach here have retained some memory/instinct of
southern climes. The species that don't cross Bass Strait might have
expanded their range to the south as temperatures warmed and after the land
bridge disappeared, and thus now think there is nothing beyond the Prom
(like many mainlanders!)

Does anyone have any deeper thoughts on the subject, or is there perhaps
some scholarly analysis of which species go where?

On another matter, I recently spent a few pleasant days at Lake Hattah in
northwestern Victoria dipping on striated grasswrens (and fighting off the
tame blue faced honeyeaters/kookaburras/pied butcherbirds/noisy miners at
the camping ground). I also travelled through the Sunset-Murray national
park from Underbool/Pink Lakes to Werrimul. Very dry at that stage and not
a lot to report, though Jacky Winters were common (and nearly always with
hooded robins). The roads were quite trafficable with just a bit of sand. I
wouldn't like to be there after rain, though, which came the day after I
left. If you are thinking of going to this area, check on road conditions
with the friendly rangers at Underbool.

The best birds for the entire trip were a pair of brolgas in a young wheat
field near Lake Cope Cope close to the town of Donald. This was the first
time I'd seen them in many trips through western Victoria.

John Gibson
John Gibson                     Email: 
Australian Antarctic Division   Phone: +61 3 6232 3244
Channel Highway                 Fax:   +61 3 6232 3351
Tasmania        7050

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