Re: birding-aus Snipe

To: (Danny Rogers),
Subject: Re: birding-aus Snipe
From: francis crome <>
Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 16:01:12 +1000

Dear Danny,
          I have found the discussions of snipe quite intriguing.  When we
did our snipe work in Canberra in the late seventies our carcass fat
analyses strongly suggested that birds were leaving the high country lean
and fattening on the coastal swamps.  We did no analyses of flight ranges
at the time but I always thought that even the really fat birds from the
NSW coast didn't have enough energy reserves to get them to japan in one
hop.  I presumed there must be another fattening area in NQ or PNG.  I have
lived on the Atherton Tablelands now for 18 years.  Latham?s are very
common on passage, both coming and going, in the wetter more southern parts
of the tableland in wet dairy paddocks.  You can find them less commonly on
the coast and around dams as far out as the McCleod River.  They are
singletons to small groups of 8 or so.  However I have never kept numbers
of dates.  The problem with snipe is that they are harder to flush than you
might think.  At CSIRO we used German pointers to work with them and it
really made a tremendous difference to finding them or not.  A dog would
point and everyone had plenty of time to slowly approach the spot and were
ready to count when the birds flushed.  I think snipe census work really
goes best with dogs.

Despite the commonness of snipe at home I don't feel they are there in big
numbers.  It might be that once they have left their southern coastal areas
they hop up the coast slowly in dribs and drabs feeding on the way and
maintaining weight until they get to the north coast of PNG then off they
go. The Philippines is still an option for a stopover but I doubt it.  God
help the birds if it is.


Francis Crome

Francis Crome
Francis Crome Pty Ltd
PO Box 1562
Qld 4064 Australia

phone: +61 7 3876 3210
fax    +61 7 3876 3281
mobile +61 41 773 0291
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