Re: birds (surprise surprise)

To: "" <>
Subject: Re: birds (surprise surprise)
Date: Wed, 18 Mar 1998 10:39:32 +1100
Lorne wrote:

> Thanks for the BEST 8 lists folks. Most interesting.

> What about the hardest to see, although not uncommon or rare? For me...
> Owlet-nightjars... The amount of times I've called them in with tapes or
> my own impersonations, in suburban Sydney, and still never had a great
> view, even though they're twenty feet away, is amazing! I've had them
> fly several feet above my head in the gloom, but then vanish into the
> foliage again. Frustrating, incredibly elsuive, but terrific!

I have often heard Owlet-nightjars at many places. At West Wyalong where my 
colleagues and I band birds in a couple of nature reserves, we have a go at 
catching them by putting mist nets around a known nest tree. (If you hear a 
call during the day, try to track it down. You can usually locate the tree and 
if you knock it will pop its head out to have a look). We usually only catch 
bats! Recently on a field trip to the NSW south coast to catch bats we caught 
an Owlet-nightjar in a harp trap. I guess we should have been using a harp trap 
all along out west. The Owlet-nightjar is a very beautiful bird in the hand, 
with very finely marked plumage, short but wide bill, and very small pink feet 
with black claws. It was smaller than I expected.

The hardest bird I've never seen is the Masked Owl. The bird called right above 
me, probably about 5m up, but the vegetation was too thick for a good look.

For the record, here's my list of current favourites, some of which I have been 
fortunate enough to band or see in the hand:

1. Grey-crowned Babbler (behaviour)
2. White-bellied Sea-eagle (plumage, behaviour)
3. Marbled Frogmouth (CYP race, plumage, call)
4. Tawny Frogmouth (behaviour, observed feeding young recently)
5. Spotted Catbird (plumage)
6. Magnificent Riflebird (plumage, call)
7. Rose-crowned Fruit-dove (call)
8. Brown Gerygone (the smallest bird I have handled, 5g)


Anthony Overs

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