Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Great Tassie Twitch 2007

John Tongue writes: It's on again! Yes, we know it's not 12 months since the last one! But some of the feedback suggested that a Spring Twitch would be preferable--more waders, cuckoos, Spring migrants etc. So we're planning for the last two weeks in October.
For those who haven't participated before, it's "Competitive Birdwatching"--with a fun edge. Pick your own 24 hour period between October 17th and 31st, and see how many species you can 'tick'. Or, enter one of the many novelty events (some new specials this time around).
Fund raising is not a big part of the contest (unlike Mainland events), but there is a fund raising element. Last time around, $300-400 was given to the "Save Ralph's Bay Fighting Fund". The recipient of funds from this year's event is still to be decided, but will be notified beforehand.
So, dust off your binoculars and species checklist, polish up your ID skills and get ready to 'twitch'. Send for an info. pack and registration form to:
John and Shirley Tongue
phone 64256475
or post 10, King's Parade,
Ulverstone, 7315.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

"Ring In"......Common Pheasant

In recent weeks I seem to have come across several Common Pheasant, sometimes called Ring-necked Pheasant, in my wandering around southern Tasmania. The most recent sightings were at Copping, on the road to Marion Bay, of two males, one pictured here. They are of course an introduced species, and those that I've seen around Copping and Forcett, are possibly escapees from the nearby game farm.
The only places that I am aware of feral populations in Tasmania, are on King and Flinders Islands, the former hosting a short, annual shooting season. But if the numbers that I've seen around the area South of Sorell are any indication, a feral population may already exist here too. However, as they are ground nesting, I suspect they're always going to struggle to successfully breed.
Although the male is a handsome looking bird, as with other introduced species, I don't see them as a positive addition to our bird fauna. They do however have one redeeming quality, they're magnificent roasted! Ive always considered roast pheasant with all the trimmings, to be among my most memorable meals--not to mention cold pheasant for breakfast the following morning. I still occasionally partake of pheasant, bought, of course, from my local butcher,