To: "Birding-aus" <>
From: "Simon Mustoe" <>
Date: Fri, 14 Jul 2006 08:13:24 +0800

I hope this email will serve to ensure I regain some credibility after my 
terrible misidentification of western corella in WA. Thankfully, Jeff Davies 
has been swift to comment and it is very clear these were NOT western corellas, 
they were long-billed corellas.

I do not however, take all the blame. I had no reason to suspect that these 
birds would have occurred at this location and It seems that there is potential 
for immense confusion. I think Australian birders must be drawn to the 
difficulties. Not least, I am again very disappointed with a certain fieldguide 
which, if anyone wishes to join me, I am planning to ceremoniously burn at some 
point in the near future. I am not going to name it as I have had difficulties 
in the past with all of them and would prefer to use none of them. Western 
Corella is a difficult identification and in hindsight, I was stupid not to 
spend more time familiarising myself. For my sins, and those of the fieldguide 
producers, I will be forced again at some point in the future to again head 
north of Perth to look for this species!

On a serious note though, I notice that Tony Palliser as early as 1999 was 
asking about long-billed corellas in WA. A response received on the listserver 
said that they were getting "more common". At no point have any WA birders 
mentioned this species to me but I have had them refer numerous times to 
"long-billed corellas". I think I am right in saying that when WA birders refer 
to long-billed corellas they mean western corellas, which I believe may be what 
the response to Tony was referring to. I actually queried this the other day 
and still no warning was issued about long-billed corellas in the area. The 
disgraced fieldguide doesn't show them as occurring either, though they have 
clearly been present for a number of years!

Is this a conservation issue for western corella? Some people think so. Should 
it be taken more seriously?

At least this should issue a warning to all birders visiting the area north of 
Northam to look for Western Corella. There are now long-billed corellas in the 
flock. Jeff drew my attention to pictures on the Australian Bird Image 
Database, amazingly depicting (1) little corella; and (2) long-billed corella 
(it seems I may not be the only Australian birder required to revisit the site 
in future).

When oh when will be HANZAB fieldguide be coming out? Australia is in dire need 
of a decent fieldguide. If we cannot even identify our birds properly, how 
would we ever hope to conserve them?

Yours ticked off,

Simon Mustoe.


Simon Mustoe, Director

AES Applied Ecology Solutions Pty. Ltd
39 The Crescent
Belgrave Heights
Victoria 3160

Tel +61 (0)3 9752 6398
Fax +61 (0)3 9754 6083
Mob 0405 220830

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