Thursday, August 31, 2006

All Their Finery

I wandered down to the nearby headland recently (Bellerive), mainly to try out my new toy (digital camera). As I have many times before, I used the local gulls as my subject matter and while editing the resulting images, I was struck by the beauty of the plumages. I probably shouldn't have been surprised as the breeding season for them is imminent and if they're going to impress their potential partners, it's now or never! Gone are the tatty feathers, missing primaries and dull coloured soft parts, and most appear to have paired off already, although there are always hopeful 'singles' to see off. It also gives me the opportunity to add another species to my 'image bank' of Tasmanian birds (accessed via the Tasmanian Species List link on the right).
The images at right show an adult Kelp Gull in typical pose and another giving a 'greeting' call to its' arriving mate.
While mentioning the Tasmanian Species List, I received an e-mail recently querying 'my' list--I had wondered whether someone might take me to task over it! The truth is that 'my' list is really only a vehicle for accessing the photos from this blog. It isn't by any means a definitive list, and I deliberately relegated the pelagic species to the also rans at the bottom, as I may never get round to photographing them. But it did raise the point about a legitimate list for Tasmanian birders (and visitors). I think it might be something that Birds Tasmania could take on board (they may be in the process of doing so), as they are effectively the record keepers. I would like to see a list on the www. that could be printed out (probably a pdf.) with brief status and a few columns for ticking off species, probably 'back to back' A5 size, to fit in the Field Guides. The Chicago Ornithological Society has an excellent example of what I envisage at (click the link under 'Featured Links' for checklist). Food for thought?


Martyn Price said...

Hi Alan

You can get a species list suitable take on your birding trips from Birdpedia ( - select Australia from dropdown or click on map). Go to the 'Reports' page (see left menu), locate the 'Field Trip Sheet' option, select TAS from the dropdown and click the 'PDF File' button. Alternatively, select 'Reserves' from the left menu, select TAS from the dropdown and enter 'TAS' in the Name box. You will get several hits from which you can print the appropriate species list.

One of the goals of Birdpedia is to be a source of species lists for as many birding sites as possible. People can then freely download a list to take with them on their field trips. Hopefully when the get home from a trip they would then update that site with their own observations thus keeping the list upto date.

BirdingTas said...

Hi Martyn,
Thanks for the info. I'm sure your lists will be very handy. The point I was trying to make, is that there needs to be a definitive list for Tasmania. I think that would have to be drawn up by Birds Tas. as keeper of the records. I am tempted to draw one up for download--and wait for the flak!

John Tongue said...

Hi all,
There is bound to be flak, Alan! Have you seen the bird lists for tassie on the NPWS sites? Some very interesting entries, and some very interesting omissions!

BirdingTas said...

Hi John,
Yes I'm aware of the bird list--it's a pig's breakfast. There are ommissions from the first part that are regulars here. And therefore, inclusions in the "rarely sighted" that should be promoted. It's time to draw up a definitive list, as we understand it at the moment. "One-offs" and some of the older records, need to be revisited and verified, and added where appropriate.The problem is that BTas have most of the records, and it's difficult to get agreement about the list in a timely way. I suggest that a list of non controversial species is used to build on. Any volunteers!! I'll certainly assist--I've been around long enough to have a pretty good idea.

John Tongue said...

It certainly could be useful in lots of ways (even the PDF list Martyn speaks of has some interesting inclusions!!). We are looking to organise a "Tassie-Twitch" later on (possibly Jan), and to give people a basic checklist from which to build could be quite useful for the event. I have a couple of weeks holidays coming up, so might just have to give it a go!!