Favourite birds, etc

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Subject: Favourite birds, etc
Date: Fri, 20 Mar 98 14:37:55 +1000
     For what it's worth, my own favourites are
     Rufous Fantail - whether in a wet forest gully with the sun glowing 
     through its tail or, as I once found it, in the lignum at the north 
     end of Lake Hindmarsh, in a late November heat-wave (probably wishing 
     it was in a wet forest gully)
     Mallee-fowl - iridescent wings, wide, ragged black tie, incredibly 
     Azure Kingfisher - brilliant dart of colour in the drab Red Gum 
     woodlands along the Goulburn
     White-browed Wood-swallow - rich colours and an eyebrow that looks 
     like it's been applied with oil paint
     Olive Whistler - unpretentious, confiding and melodious
     Speckled Warbler - plump, a neat contrast between bold pattern and 
     unassuming manners
     Diamond Firetail - crisp, positive markings and the rump brilliant in 
     the bright sun
     Powerful Owl - only seen a couple of times, but the first sighting 
     never to be forgotten - such a huge bird, and so totally 
     self-possessed, with a remote, golden-eyed stare and utterly aloof.  
     I'd hate to come back in another life as a Ringtail.
     A selection of the rarest (for me) - Pied Honeyeater (Chiltern, early 
     1980s), Mallee-fowl (Cherrypool, next to Glenelg River, 1981), Masked 
     Owl (Lower Glenelg NP, 1983), Beautiful Firetail (Wonthaggi, near 
     Apollo Bay and Providence Ponds; maybe not all that rare as such, but 
     very elusive), Elegant Parrot (old Kiata Lowan Sanctuary, Little 
     Desert), Little Wood-swallow (pair at Terrick Terrick four or five 
     years ago), regrettably unidentified Nightjar hawking moths around a 
     street-light in the main street of Kyneton, Feb 1989.  Also a few 
     others I'm personally convinced I saw, but for which I have no 
     confirmation and wouldn't dare claim in public.
     Least attractive - any Wattlebird outside the bedroom window at 4:30 
     on a spring morning; any introduced starling, sparrow, mynah, etc; any 
     blackird just after the beans start growing; any Tyto owlet (sorry, 
     but they do look apalling), any bird which disappears while I'm 
     lifting the binoculars; any species which can't be identified without 
     a blood sample and an electron microscope or something equally 
     And a couple of recent observations:
     Melton Reservoir, upstream of the railway bridge, mid February - at 
     least four Darters sitting on nests, and several others perched in 
     dead trees.
     Phillip Island, 19/3 - 67 Cape Barren Geese in a paddock a couple of 
     km north of the Pyramid Rock car park; one Painted Quail on Church 
     Road, Cowes (walked off the bitumen reluctantly as I drove past); and 
     one Pallid Cuckoo calling in the vicinity of Churchill Island, 
     sounding, on an autumn morning, even more plaintive than usual.
     Thanks to all whose postings do much to brighten up the day.
     Jack Krohn

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