Australian Birdfair

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Australian Birdfair
From: Denise Goodfellow <>
Date: Sat, 28 Nov 2009 06:35:25 +0930
Earlier this month I was a guest speaker at the Australian Bird Fair held in
Leeton, western NSW.

The Bird Fair, and the preceding wetlands conference, attracted authorities
from all over the world, including Professor Chris Elphick who recently
produced a book with the doyen of US birding, David Sibley, and Dr. P
Balachandran who told us that his team, in the wetlands of southern India,
has banded 900 000 birds!  I was delighted to meet fellow Birding Aussers
such as Tim Dolby and Carol Proberts.

Wisely, the organisers ensured the event appealed to a wide audience, from
the obsessed twitcher to generalist birdwatcher.

Other guest speakers, Walter Boles of the Australian Museum, and Penny
Olsen, author of several bird books, covered fossil and rare parrots
(parrots being the theme this year). I spoke on connecting Indigenous and
non-Indigenous perspectives and my research on American birdwatchers.

Just in case readers think it was all too serious, there was Flockwiz, a
quiz based on SBS¹s Rockwiz.   Sean Dooley, well-known birder and author,
decked out in a red velvet suit (provided by the ABC who covered the event),
was quizmaster.

Elected team leader by Chris Elphick and David Parker, I suggested we call
ourselves the Fairy-wrens because these birds cooperate and breeding males
have big balls! I hoped this might inspire my male compatriots.

 We were somewhat handicapped, one team member, Chris, having only been in
the country for seven days.  Up against the Raptors, consisting of Walter,
Penny and Dean Ingwerson, we lost on the questions, but, I¹m sure Sean would
agree, got most of the laughs.

One night we hunted for the elusive Plains Wanderer.  After covering half
the country (or so it seemed), and falling down numerous holes and cracks in
the ground, we found it, an engaging little creature that took the
opportunity to run about seizing moths attracted by our torches.  It was one
of the best nights I¹d had in a long time - great tucker, company and birds.

The organization of the event was impressive, and little expense was spared.
The organisers, Fivebough and Tuckerbil Wetlands Trust, flew me from Darwin,
and next year¹s guest speaker, the legendary Fatbirder, Bo Beolens, will be
brought from the UK. The Trust also produced bags, T-shirts, bird lists,
postcards and even beer coasters!  There were stands manned by Australian
Geographic and Birds Australia, and birding groups from much of Australia,
and Papua New Guinea, plus optical suppliers, artists and many others.

This event was a prime example of what a tiny country town can do with its
natural assets, a vision and involved citizens.

Then Carol Proberts carted me off to the Capertee Valley. Scrambling up
rocky hills in gumboots is not something I recommend, but even though
handicapped I  managed to get excellent views of a male Spotted Quail-thrush
feeding an immature bird, and met a rare mint bush (Lamiacae ­ can¹t
remember the generic or specific names).  Also good views of Painted
Honeyeater and several other species.  Thanks very much Carol, and also to
Mike Schultz, Tracey, Pat and all others involved in the Birdfair.  I plan
to return next year and hope to see many more Birding-Aussers supporting
this wonderful event.

Denise Lawungkurr Goodfellow
PO Box 3460 NT 0832, AUSTRALIA
Ph. 61 08 89 328306
Mobile: 04 386 50 835

Birdwatching and Indigenous tourism consultant
PhD Candidate

Research survey:
For American birders -
For UK and other birders

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