Black Bitterns and raptors but no Albert

To: "Birding Aus" <>
Subject: Black Bitterns and raptors but no Albert
From: "Bill Jolly" <>
Date: Fri, 18 Jun 2004 14:17:27 +1000
We're just back from spending a few days at Mount Tamborine, where friends
have a garden that merges with the forest right on the escarpment.

They regularly see an Albert's Lyrebird in their garden, which for about
three weeks from mid-May has been very vocal, and for some time recently has
been accompanied by a female. Regular phone calls and email updates
encouraged us to squeeze in a short-notice visit with the hope of getting
some good Albert Lyrebird photos - maybe even courtship - to share with

Howard, our friend up there, even went so far as to say "It's impossible to
come for a few days and not see Albert!". You can tell that Howard isn't a
long-standing birder. Experience has weaned most birders off making those
sorts of promises, or believing in them, no matter how well intentioned. I
think the last time I said something similar it was about nightjars, which
were performing every evening on cue - until I promised them to a friend who
travelled 100km or so to see them - in vain of course.
Despite all of which, we had to go.

But so it turned out with Albert. Something like 20 days in a row, then
nothing while we were there! And of course, to add insult to injury, I just
got this in my in-box:

"You realise of course that the same day you left Albert called out from the
forest, and the next day he was out the back - and came the closest he's
ever been!!!!  He was near the bird feeder and came right up to the fence
and just stared at me - I couldn't believe it!"

The fence isn't even the back fence, there isn't one, but a small fence
alongside the patio right outside their back door!

Well, back here at Abberton, things have been pretty good by way of

We had two Black Bitterns here yesterday. One paused on a mid-stream snag
right in front of the house, and an altogether darker individual flew past a
little later.

It's taken some time, but I've finally persuaded my digital camera to take
some in-flight shots - I didn't get the bitterns, but I did manage some
in-flights snaps of Wedge-tailed Eagles and Whistling Kites here. We've also
had an Australian Hobby zooming around over the last couple of days.

Chestnut-breasted Mannikins have been regular since we've been back, giving
us the full complement of local finches in the garden each day,
Double-barred, Zebra, Red-browed, Plum-headed and the mannikins.

Bill Jolly

Lockyer Valley, Queensland.

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