night parrot story

Subject: night parrot story
From: "Tim Murphy" <>
Date: Sat, 17 Feb 2007 10:24:50 +1000
Birds Queensland has about 550 members (many of these are family members).

Not all of these are experts of course, or even expert enough to tell a rare
bird from a common one.

So a rough assumption is 4000 competent birds waters in Qeuunsland spread
over 1,852,642 square kilometres which means 463 square kilometres (a 21 X
21 km square) per person, ignoring the fact that the vast majority are in
the south east corner.

So the chance of a "Grey-headed Lapwing" being seen is practically zilch.
The vast majority will be missed.

For example, Brian Finch and I saw a full adult breeding plumage Black Tern
in May 1985 at the Port Moresby sewage ponds. This area is well covered and
it had not been observed there before. The probability is that it has spent
the previous northern winter unobserved somewhere in Australia (in
non-breeding plumage it would look very like a Whiskered Tern).

Tim Murphy

-----Original Message-----
 Behalf Of Dave Torr
Sent: Saturday, 17 February 2007 9:33 AM
To: Cas and Lisa Liber
Subject: night parrot story

Whatever the figure I suspect it is pretty low %age by comparison with some
countries - in the UK for example (pop around 60m) the RSPB has around 1
million members - now of course not all members are birdwatchers and not all
birdwatchers are members, but by comparison I believe the combined
membership of the two main clubs in Australia (pop around 20m) to be around
10,000, and of course many people belong to both!

Which leads also to ask how many "Grey-headed Lapwings" or equivalents turn
up here unnoticed - I suspect a vagrant has very little chance of escaping
detection in the UK compared to here, where vast areas of the country are
rarely observed.

On 17/02/07, Cas and Lisa Liber <> wrote:


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