birding-aus Slender-billed Thornbill in Gluepot

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Subject: birding-aus Slender-billed Thornbill in Gluepot
From: "Irene Denton" <>
Date: Mon, 6 Sep 1999 16:43:09 +1000
Hello everyone
In April 1999 I travelled with Emu Tours including a few days at Gluepot station in South Australia.  On my trips, I prepare for trying to find lifers by studying up beforehand regarding ranges of birds, their habitat, distinguishing features etc. so that I can specifically look for them rather than just leaving it to chance.  Then, if and when I see the bird, I know immediately what plumage features etc. to look for.  As birds seem to move about so much these days, and published material about ranges of birds can be rather high level, I also look for birds close to but outside their generally accepted range.  I do consult the 1985 Atlas of Australian Birds.
I happily look not only for "showy" birds but plainer ones as well.  Therefore, despite Slender-billed Thornbill not being on the official bird list for Gluepot, I decided there was a chance of it being there and kept on the lookout for it.  And found it!!
I then submitted an Unusual Records Report form and am pleased to say that the management committee has accepted the sighting and added the species to the Gluepot bird list.  They have also sent a copy of my documentation to the Birds Australia Atlas Project.
Some details are:
  • 29 April 1999, 2.30-2.36pm
  • 3 birds
  • just near the entrance to the circular driveway of the Babbler campsite
  • in casuarinas (near bluebush/saltbush), foraging and never lower than 3 metres above ground
  • Eye definite white with black centre, rather than fully brown
  • face plain, no eyebrow
  • forehead with distinct but subtle marks/spotting
  • long slender bill (a little pink rather than dark black - sub-adult?), bill definitely not stubby such as Weebill
  • lemon yellow flush over entire belly, vent and rump (note that the inland form of Weebill can also have a yellow flush over underparts, however the long slender bill rather than stubby bill, plus other features, eliminated the possibility of Weebil)
  • throat and breast greyish
  • legs dark grey to black 
  • dark tail with light tip
  • double-noted thin call, given some 8-10 seconds apart
Happy Birding to you all
Irene Denton
Sydney   NSW
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