To: "'michael hunter'" <>, <>
Subject: Brisbane.
From: "Steve Murray" <>
Date: Tue, 17 Jul 2007 16:26:58 +1000
Michael...As someone who has lived in both Sydney and Melbourne and now
lives in Brisbane I can tell you that House Sparrows are nowhere near as
common here as they are down there. It took me all of January to see one for
my year list. They only ever seem to be around shopping centre carparks.
Maybe it's because of the Noisy Miners, or maybe it's just a later area of
Cheers Steve Murray

-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of michael hunter
Sent: Monday, 16 July 2007 7:40 PM
Subject: Brisbane.

      Hi All,

      Returned last night from a weekend conference in Brisbane and was
amazed at the paucity of bird numbers other than Torresan Crows, Noisy
Miners, White Ibis, Silver Gulls and Pigeons.

       Despite wandering, bins in hand, around the St. Lucia campus for a
few hours on Friday and again Saturday, not a small bush bird, not even a
wren, was seen or heard. Pied Butcherbirds politely waited until backs were
turned before picking at  our lunch leavings near the Darwin
Cafe.(Queenslanders must believe in evolution).  Welcome Swallows flew
around the treetops along with a few Tree Martins over the lakes.  Black
Ducks  Hardheads and Woodies, a male Mallard and some hybrids and a large
Muscovy Duck on the water. A couple of oddities stumped me from afar, turned
out to be ornamental life-sized ducks with fountain nozzles sticking out of
their backs. One Little Pied and seven Black Cormorants, fish splashing in
the waterlilies.  Fifty plus White Ibis and two Straw-necked, a few
Australasian Grebes, plenty of Moorhen and Coots, a couple of Purple
Swamphens and two immaculate Little Egrets. Scattered Masked Lapwings, three
joined up to see off a Crow. Some of the tall thin eucalypts were flowering,
with Rainbow and Scaly-breasted Lorikeets. Didn't know where to look for the
Stone-curlew and didn't see it. There were a few Peewees and Currawongs.
       Three Brush-turkeys were scratching around in the Rainforest walk
near a giant marquee housing a very good Rock Band who were practicing at
full volume. ? "The Saints"?.  Philip would have loved it.
       Not a single Sparrow!

        Southbank park had Brown Honeyeaters in flowering Bauhinias, another
Little Egret, Moorhens, Coot and Black Duck, a pair of Superb Fairywrens and
a long-tailed, dark-eyed female Variegated wren, Noisy Miners, feral
pigeons, Spotted Turtle-dove, Silver Gulls.     No Sparrows.

       The Riverside walk along the City Botanic Gardens produced a Brahminy
Kite but no Mangrove Warblers; are they still  there? In the small
rainforest walk an Eastern Whipbird was giving an unanswered call. We
followed its noisy progress through the fallen leaves as it scratched along
then hopped onto the path just ahead. A pair of tame White-browed Scrubwrens
nearby. In a small twenty metre pond in the rainforest an unconcerned
Pacific Black Duck was at one end, two ducklings at the other.
   More, (many more) Noisy Miners and Torresian Crows in the open areas, the
latter having their own corrobboree and making a terrible din for about ten
minutes up in a couple of Bunya Pines. More Rainbow Lorikeets and
Scaly-breasteds. What might have been a group of Blue-faced Honeyeaters was
flying upstream through he treetops.
     These gardens have a great Palm collection among other interesting
trees. Three large Eastern Water Dragons were sitting on three piles of
rocks below the waterfall pool, a fourth on the shore, lazy and approachable
to within a metre when it moved behind a shrub. The temptation was to grab
it by the extended tail. Resisted.
     A Crow was eating the entrails out of a medium-sized Canetoad, its head
and poison glands untouched. One immature Australian Magpie sat near the Bo

     A pair of House Sparrows eventually presented next to Michaels
Restaurant behind the market stalls on the river. These markets sold
everything from Siamese Fighting Fish, from $8 in a plastic bag, to
Carnivorous Plants, also from $8 up, as well as the usual fascinating junk.

     At dusk on the railway station, while we were waiting for the
ingenuously named "Airport Express", a Welcome Swallow flew in to roost
behind the glare of neon lights. Tweet dreams!

Michael Hunter
Mulgoa Valley
50km west of Sydney Harbour Bridge


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