Hud-wit near Adelaide, Gluepot, and miners

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Hud-wit near Adelaide, Gluepot, and miners
From: Jonny Schoenjahn <>
Date: Sun, 23 Mar 2003 16:20:47 +0800
G'day all,

on Friday the 21 of March '03 the Hudsonian Godwit was still there. 5:30 pm.

Thank you very much for your help, Brian.

Before that I had visited Gluepot. Cool temperatures (by Broome standards) and strong winds made birding challenging. I found the following mallee specialists of interest:

Malleefowl (2, on the track #8 1.3 km S of Grasswren Tank)
White-browed Treecreeper (N of Grasswren Tank)
Striated Grasswren (Callitris Walk near S end of walk, and elsewhere)
Striped Honeyeater (Whistler Tank, drinking at new trough)
Purple-gaped Honeyeater
White-fronted Honeyeater (common)
Southern Scrub-robin (near Track #8 2.4 km E of Babbler Camp, and elsewhere)
Cinnamon Quail-thrush (common)
Red-lored Whistler (did I hear someone say 'spring only'?)
Gilbert's Whistler (singing, 500 m NW of Sittella Camp)

And, last not least, a mixed flock of ~30 miners of all variations between clear Yellow-throated and 2 or 3 dark individuals which may well be Black-eared. The flock came to drink at the new trough at Grasswren Tank (now with a 3 star hide which was erected while I was there).

I trust everyone is aware of the ongoing controversy of the taxonomy of the Black-eared Miner. Schodde & Mason (1999) treat this form as a subspecies Manorina flavigula melanotis of the Yellow-throated Miner Manorina flavigula. The authors give a detailed and long explanation for doing so on the basis of the biological species concept. Higgins, Peter & Steele (2001) treat the Black-eared as a full species Manorina melanotis. They as well discuss this controversy, however they follow the phylogenetic species concept.

Yellow-throated and Black-eared Miners are known to be "reproductively compatible and widely interfertile with one another; they produce hybrid swarms and are prone to complete generic introgression, in which flavigula swamps melanotis." (Schodde & Mason p. 273). And: " 'Species' or not, it is still a distinct biodiversity unit ultrataxically, and under threat of extinction." (Schodde & Mason p. 273).

It is my firm believe that actions to save the Black-eared Miner should not be undertaken to the cost of viable fertile birds of whatever man-made taxonomical status.

Happy birding

Jonny Schoenjahn
Broome WA
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