Blue-faced Beethoven and sacrificial pigeons

To: <>
Subject: Blue-faced Beethoven and sacrificial pigeons
From: "michael hunter" <>
Date: Mon, 3 Dec 2007 16:41:33 +1100
Hi All.
         We have just had a few days in Mudgee, picked up fifty plus
species, most of them in Lawson Park on the Cudgegong River. Commonest were
Galahs and European Starlings. Many birds nesting or feeding young.
         There was some interesting bird behavior.

         As part of the annual Huntington Estate Music Festival, a prodigy
pianist from New York was playing a Beethoven Sonata in E flat major on a
Steinway Grand in an otherwise hushed winery cum concerthall.  Very loud and
clear, the alarm call of a Blue-faced Honeyeater repeatedly interrupted at
critical moments, until chased away by the winemaker throwing stones. The
pianist appeared unfazed.  A regular attendee noted that this happened every
year, but only when piano movements in E flat major were playing.(?)

         A Pacific Black Duck fluttered up to an Elm Tree near the river,
landing on a horizontal branch about twenty metres up and just sat. This was
early morning. Elms don't have nesting holes, the duck wasn't being chased
and looked quite content, it wasn't in the sun. There were plenty of PBDs on
the river. Have never seen a PBD so high up a tree.

         Mudgee is famous for its wines, but vineyards and fruit-eating
birds dont mix. Most grapegrowers net their vines, but one  told me that she
bred pigeons which attracted "hawks" at the critical time when grapes were
ripening and Silvereyes were rampant. She assured me that the hawks,
gathered for a feed of pigeons, also kept the Silvereyes away.

             Brown Quail (H)
             Wood Duck
             Mallard, Mallard/PBD hybrids
             Muscovy hybrid.
             Pacific Black Duck
             Grey Teal
             Little Black Cormorant
             Little Pied Cormorant
             White-faced Heron
             Straw-necked Ibis
             Australian White Ibis
             Dusky Moorhen
             Purple Swamphen
             Eurasian Coot
             Masked Lapwing
             Spotted Turtledove
             Feral Pigeon
             Peaceful Dove
             Crested Pigeon
             Corella (?sp). Single bird.
             Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
             Musk Lorikeet
             Red-rumped Parrot
             Laughing Kookaburra
             Sacred Kingfisher
             Superb Fairy-wren
             White-browed Scrubwren
             Western Gerygone (H)
             Yellow-rumped Thornbill
             Red Wattlebird
             Noisy Friarbird
             Blue-faced Honeyeater
             Noisy Miner
             White-plumed Honeyeater
             Crested Shrike-tit
             Rufous Whistler
             Grey Shrike-thrush
             Willie Wagtail
             Grey Fantail
             Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
             Dusky Woodswallow
             Australian Magpie
             Australian Raven
             Red-browed Finch
             European Goldfinch
             House Sparrow
             Welcome Swallow
             Fairy Martin
             Clamorous Reedwarbler
             Brown Songlark
             Rufous Songlark
             Common Blackbird
             European Starling


Michael Hunter
Mulgoa Valley
50km west of Sydney Harbour Bridge


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