Re: birding-aus Night Parrot sighting in 1979

To: "Nigel Sterpin" <>
Subject: Re: birding-aus Night Parrot sighting in 1979
From: Hugo Phillipps <>
Date: Wed, 05 Jan 2000 10:19:34 +1100
Hi Nigel -

At 08:03  4/01/00 +1100, you wrote:
>Why is this sighting not accepted as "scientific confirmation"? What makes
something "scientific confirmation"?

I suppose some people would say that you need a specimen (or at least an
unambiguous photograph) before you have 'scientific confirmation'.

The sighting you refer to was one of four accepted for the first Atlas of
Australian Birds.  These 'confirmed' reports (there were also some
unconfirmed ones) were also accepted for the account on Night Parrot
distribution in HANZAB (Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic
Birds).  Shane Parker was Curator of Birds at the South Australian Museum
at the time of the sighting, and it is evident that the acceptance of the
record rests largely on his authority and credibility in field
identification, although he was not the only person who saw the birds.

An extract from the published Atlas (Blakers et al, 1984) reads "All the
confirmed Field Atlas reports as well as some additional unconfirmed
sightings were made in 1979-80: one bird south of Muncoonie L. (25/138),
four near L. Perigundi (27/139), one near Meentheena (21/120) and one north
of Glenayle (25/122)."  [Numbers refer to one-degree grid blocks.]

The Parker sighting was the second of the above.  Unfortunately, it was
never properly written up.  The only published account (by Shane Parker)
was a brief note in 'South Australian Parks and Conservation' which says
"...the latest sighting, in June 1979, was of four [Night Parrots] flushed
from extensive tract of the samphire-like bassia Sclerolaena intricata on
the Cooper's Creek floodplain east of Lake Perigundi" with the reference
given as 'Parker in prep.'.   In the circumstances I imagine there was not
much opportunity for photography.


Hugo Phillipps
Communications Coordinator
Birds Australia
415 Riversdale Road
HAWTHORN EAST 3123, Australia
Tel: (03) 9882 2622, fax: (03) 9882 2677
Email: <>
Web site: <>

To unsubscribe from this list, please send a message to

Include ONLY "unsubscribe birding-aus" in the message body (without the

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU