Re: Port Fairy - clarifications (longish).

To: Birding-Aus <>
Subject: Re: Port Fairy - clarifications (longish).
From: Eric Hocking <>
Date: Wed, 15 Apr 1998 22:59:17 +1000
See this is the beauty of Birding-Aus.  First it makes you pay attention and
take field notes, secondly it demonstrates to me the usefulness of posting
these trip reports.

Got an email regarding some too (sorry about the anti-spam thingy Paul - too
used to usenet I guess, here are the questionable ones:

Oh, BTW, if the rest of the list wants us to take this to email until it's
sorted give me a yell on the list and we will.  That way I'll just post the
result.  Unless everyone else enjoys this, I know I have on Usenet.

>My impression, and all my field guides agree, is that the Brown Booby
>doesn't range as far south as Victoria. Where is Killarney Beach? Did
>Eric really see a Brown Booby?

> I suspect that Eric needs to study his field guide a little more. For
> example, Variegated Fairy-wrens do not occur in southern Victoria, nor
> would White-fronted Honeyeaters be expected there etc.

>Double check the Variegated Fairy-wrens and Brown Booby!

Had Simpson and Day on hand with Pizzey backup, checked against Slater and
the Atlas.
Righto, first up (and feel free to give alternatives).

Variegated Fairy-wrens.
Firstly I was really hanging out to spot emu wrens, so these guys got
particular attention.
The feature that I used to distinguish between the Variegated and Superb was
mainly the dark bill and eye surround described as a male Variegated.  This
distinguished it from the female Superb female's reddish bill and chestnut
eye surround - even checked against the Splendid Fairy (no blue in wing,
tail was wrong) and Blue-breasted (range).  I realise that the Superb male
eclipse also has similar features to the male , but the tail feathers on
this bird were scalloped and tipped white.  The female Supurb seen had no
white tips and had a smooth tail, giving the appearance of a single
feather.  Male Supurb in breeding plumage were seen, and this confused me
that one species was in breeding plumage and one not.

As far as the range goes, Simpson and Day has the Variegated right across
the central and west of Victoria, Pizzey the same, but Slater has it solid
down the south-east coast of Australia from Brisbane to SA.  Atlas has no
entries south of, say, Hamilton.  So the range is feasible.

White-fronted Honeyeater.
It's a pretty distinctive bird.  Simpson and Day has the range for the
entire west half of Victoria, this based on the Atlas, Slater puts it in the
NW corner, as does Pizzey.  Nope, I'm pretty happy that it's feasible.

Brown Booby.
Definitely gannet-shaped.  Only had a top-side and side-on view.  Chocolate
brown on top, white below, with the chocolate extending solidly down the
chest.  Perhaps 30ft from it as it flew past.  A pretty distinctive bird. 
Now the Atlas puts it up north of Brisbane as does Pizzey.  Simpson and Day
and Slaters puts a small range around Port Phillip bay, west to the SA

So I'll ignore the snide remarks about my reading skills, but am quite happy
to discuss the accuracy of my references.  Where does Simpson and Day rate
with the other references?  Since this is my primary field guide I'd be very
interested.  Similarly I think the plates in Simpson and Day are more
indicative of distinguishing features.  The Slater's and Pizzey have a
number of shape and colour problems as far as I am concerned.

I welcome your comments, and as I said, if this is preferable off the list
just inform us.

Eric Hocking "A closed mouth gathers no feet."
::   Melbourne, Australia   ::
Remove "nospam." from address to email.

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