Your response about the two
crows does nothing to dispel my incredulity. I would have expected you to
be in Mackay about the same time as David James and the other
After all, the House Crow and Black-billed Magpie are well
documented commensal species. They are both good candidates for
ship-assisted passage because they scavenge freely round human habitation.
My moderate experience with both in the field has been almost exclusively round
houses and farms. The Magpie is such a stunning garden bird that it is
worth seeing again whether ticking it for Australia or not !!
You seem to miss the points of my two postings [23/2, 4/3], in
particular about being consistent in assessing the likely provenance of both
Even so, I dusted off some of my volumes of Emu that
are older than me, to read McGill's 1949 account of House Crow in
Australia. Did you see an addendum by Gibson [61:244] that described the
passage of three birds between Colombo and Geelong, from 10 to 29 May 1959
? Unfortunately I could not locate another old account, of a wagtail that
hitched a long ride, I think in the western Pacific.
The species that you or others decide to tick does not concern
me at all. Current practice in Australia seems encumbered with few
constraints anyway. The Grafton ducks provide a salutary example of this
practice .... when birders fail to prove, or perhaps do not consider
scrupulously, that birds may have escaped, then the occurrence is validated by
lack of evidence about captivity.
You have already ticked the Pintail and Crow. We have
both ticked Blue Rock Thrush, in my case accepting that it very likely came at
least halfway by ship.
I would interpret your previous energetic birding activities
to mean that if the Magpie cannot be proved to have escaped, then in this
instance you have missed a tick.
Glenn Holmes & Associates
**birding & botanical
PO Box 1246 Atherton Qld