ultimate tick

To: "Birding-aus (E-mail)" <>
Subject: ultimate tick
From: "Stephen Ambrose" <>
Date: Sat, 25 Feb 2006 09:47:36 +1100
My ultimate ticks:
!.  Blue Petrel at Warnbro Beach, c. 45 km S of Perth in 1981. It was a dead bird that had been washed up on the beach, so I took the carcass to the WA Museum.  The Museum only had 2 other Blue Petrel specimens in its collection at the time (if my memory serves me correctly), so the museum staff were delighted to receive another specimen.  Over the next couple of weeks, up to 250 Blue Petrels had been recorded collectively on beaches around Perth by other birdwatchers .  My specimen was thus a small part of a much larger beach wreck. Presumably, the petrels were victims of stormy weather and blown way out of their usual range to the south-west coastline of WA.
2.  Spinifexbird.  Not hard to find once you know where to look for them. They can be rather thin on the ground on the mainland (especially in the Pilbara), but quite densely populated on Barrow Island, off the north-west coast of WA.  Had fun studying aspects of the ecophysiology of the Spinifexbird on Barrow Island between 1990 and 1993 in collaboration with Darren Murphy, Don Bradshaw and Phil Withers from the University of WA.
3.  Superb Lyrebird.  Okay, not an uncommon bird in forests of south-eastern Australia. But it WAS a thrill to see my first lyrebird in 1985 (in New England National Park) shortly after moving from Perth to Armidale in northern NSW, especially when one had been used to studying arid and semi-arid zone bird species in WA.
Therefore, I agree with the previous sentiment of some birding-aussers, that ultimate ticks don't necessarily have to be rare finds, but can be species that can give you a lot of joy the first time you see them.
(Dr) Stephen Ambrose
Sydney, Australia
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