Re: birding-aus Finding birds

To: "Pat O'Malley" <>
Subject: Re: birding-aus Finding birds
From: Brian Fleming <>
Date: Sat, 06 Nov 1999 16:12:10 +1100
Pat O'Malley wrote:
> Hi all
> The discussions of how people found birds on the Twitchathon set me to
> thinking about a gap in generally available/distributed knowledge
> about how
> to find particular species.
> By this I don't mean in which  specific places to find them, a la
> Thomas
> etc,  but rather something intermediate between this and the rather
> vague
> indications in most field guides. Key elements I guess would be the
> more
> obvious
> (a)what specific sorts of terrain/flora;
> (b)what techniques most reliably get them into view. (eg pishing,
> tapes,
> sitting and waiting, throwing a Collingwood supporter into the bushes
> etc)
> Its sometimes struck me that this would be a  useful model for a new
> type
> of field guide,  (no, seriously this time), albeit that for many
> species
> this would not be necessary. But I have a specific request in this
> regard.
> I have seen few of the Quail/Button Quail species in the last few
> years -
> in each case more or less by accident. How does one 'systematically'
> track
> them down? I have an image of seeing a paddock, donning long boots and
> stomping off through it in the hope of putting something up. There
> must be
> better ways.
> Best
> Pat
> (Pat O'Malley)
> PS no more advice on finding so-called  'Purple Crowned Lorikeets'
> please.
> Tony, this means you.
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Finding Quail
  I seem to recollect that some people in the first ATLAS, when
searching specifically for assorted Quail and Buttonquail in grassy
areas used a device known as a 'dog' - a long cord with empty tin cans
attached at intervals. (Perhaps one could put a few pebbles in each). 
The atlassers held each end and dragged the device through the grass,
each walking up the sides of the patch, while watching carefully to see
what it flushed. (I wouldnt do this unless you could already recognize
the likely species.)
  The other aid of course (I'm told) is a well-trained steady old
pointer dog.
  When we were at the Bungle Bungles a few years ago, Brown Quail were
everywhere (June) with families of half-grown young. In the long grass
they were invisible and they flushed with a great whirrr and were
invisible again - but tracks had been mown for camper access through the
grass. When a family of Brown Quail arrived at one of these breaks they
could be heard clucking together a little, then what I presume was the
male looked out, checked for predators, stood up very tall and called in
a high voice 'seee-see', and then the whole covey rushed across and into
the long grass again.
  We felt that the tall stance and high call were definitely analogous
to a Domestic Rooster's crowing in similar circumstances.
  Anthea Fleming in Melbourne
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