(no subject)

Subject: (no subject)
From: Michael Morcombe <>
Date: Sat, 8 Jul 2006 11:26:09 +1000 (EST)
Hi All

Re: Lloyd Nielsen' comments  on Morcombe field guide
maps, July 6, 2006

The comments posted to this site by Lloyd Nielsen, on
6th July, are similar to his critical comments in his
review in The  Emu (Vol.105  No. 3 2005) of my
Complete Compact Guide to Australian Birds. There he
described as "misleading" and "absurdity" my map of
the Cassowary . He claims this species "ventures to
the edge of its rainforest habitat but never far from
it", whereas my map shows if far further to the west.
In Birding-Aus he describes this as an example of maps
that are "shockers".

More shocking is his failure to research with greater
care before describing the subject of his comments in
such derogatory terms , which in the review included
"misleading" and "absurdity".

Here in Birding-Aus he recommends HANZAB for its maps.
 But presumably he did not compare my  map of the
Southern Cassowary with that in HANZAB, for they are
near identical in the westward extent of range of the
Cassowary.   Apparently he had carefully scaled the
westward extent of the Morcombe map to arrive at his
claim of "~a 200 km W of the rainforest".  My map of
the Cassoway can be measured to show the western
extremity of range  approximately at  the Einasleigh

HANZAB  (Vo. 1 Part A, page 62 ) on its map of the
range of the Cassoway, shows it extending west to the
Einasleigh River, and in text paragraph 1 page 62,
states:  "S. population ....  in region bounded by
Townsville, Einasleigh, Mt Garnet...." .  Furthermore,
HANZAB's two-colour map has most of the far western
range red rather than pink to show a breeding

In personal communication, Dr S.J.J.F Davies, author
of the definitive Ratites  field guides, confirms the
presence of the Cassowary in the region shown by the
maps of both my guide and of HANZAB. In the absence of
extensive rainforest, the species crosses intervening
dry country to utilize habitat such as riverine

Space here does not allow dealing with more than this
species which is so obviously the basis of Nielsen's
comment   in Birding Aus on 6th July.

The use in my maps of a pale tint is effective showing
that most of the range west of rainforest is extremely
sparsely populated,  despite  Nielsen's claim that the
method "doesn't work". He evidently does not know or
just fails to mention that the same or similar use of
tints is a feature of hundreds of  maps in the latest
edition of Simpson and Day field guide,  a great many
in Pizzey, and a few in Slater; his criticism of the
pale tint must be taken to apply to most of their
maps. although he always brings up the matter only in
relation to the  Morcombe guides.

As but one example, the  White-browed Woodswallow.  I
suggest anyone interested in this matter compare the
four field guides each against the data presented  in
Atlas 1 and  Atlas 2 combined. The value of the two
tints to show abundance as well as range as used by
three of the guides, is most obvious, and they may
care to note which guide is closes to the recorded
sightings of both atlases combined.

It is most unfortunate that Loyd Nielsen had not taken
the trouble to better research his subject, via the
resource of his preferred HANZAB. His review claims
many "basic errors that are glaring". My investigation
of his review has, in almost every instance, found
suppport in the literature for the accuracy of my
work. Not only in HANZAB,  but in also in many other
works by authors highly respected in their field.
Consequently, Nielsen's review appears far short of
the standard that should be maintained by such a
respected juournal as "The Emu. "

Perhaps  Lloyd Nielsen is indeed correct, and those
respected reference that support my maps and text are
wrong. But until that is proven, there will be very
few  changes made to my guides as a result of
Nielsen's review or similar comments made in his
review on on July 6th in Birding-Aus.

Further to the review in Emu:  complete  details from
the literature (page numbers,  quotes) substantiating
the facts as presented in my Compete Compact Guide,
refuting Nielsens many claims of errors found by him ,
will be published on my website and possibly elsewhere
in coming months. I have a duty to assure the great
many users of my guides, that the facts as in my
guides are  strongly supported by references, and
substantially correct .

Michael Morcombe

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