To use the extensive lexicon of the fanatical birdwatchers, the twitchers, I “dipped out” on one of the rarest birds to be seen in Tasmania in recent years. To make matters worse, the rarity from Eurasia, the grey wagtail turned up at my local birdwatching spot, the Waterworks Reserve. I was told later that it was a “crippler”, another twitcher term for a bird of stunning beauty which hangs around to be observed and photographed. I’m far from a “dude” in these matters (a … [Read more...] about Dipping out on a crippler
On The Wing
A column for all seasons
Everyone has a story about birds. They are all about us and are our contact point with nature. The birds I see are usually in an urban environment and so I concentrate on these in my writing. I don’t pretend to be an expert but birds of the city and suburb are also the ones that most people identify with, the species you do not need a compass and binoculars to seek out. A scarlet robin singing in a garden is just as exciting as a swift parrot in an ancient forest and is worth just as many words in my On the Wing writings.
There’s no sound in the Tasmanian bush as mystical and magical as the call of the boobook owl ringing out in the night. It’s onomatopoeic, of course, the “boo-book” giving the bird its common name. In New Zealand a closely-related species is called the morepork, which perhaps is the same sound but with a New Zealand accent. The call is a haunting, rhythmic two-note sound, which can carry for a kilometre on a still, summer night. It’s symbolic of the wilder Tasmanian bush but … [Read more...] about Boobook comes to call
The Friends of the Sandy Bay Rivulet are keeping their hopes alive of one day being able to walk the watercourse on a new trail linking city and mountain. Amid all the talk of development in Hobart, from high-rise buildings to cable cars, the organisation has been quietly advancing the case for the Sandy Bay Rivulet Linear Park hoping it has not slipped from the Hobart Council’s radar. At the Friends’ recent annual general meeting, however, members were assured the plan was … [Read more...] about Walk on the wildside
Two wedge-tailed eagles soared high in the sky as supporters of the Raptor and Wildlife Refuge of Tasmania gathered to mark another milestone in the organisation’s history. The refuge’s founder, Craig Webb, announced the launch of a dedicated 24-hour hotline on which members of the public could report injured and dead raptors. Despite being given endangered status, eagle numbers in Tasmania are under severe threat. There are only about 100 nesting pairs in the state and … [Read more...] about Eagle hotline takes flight
The Bruny Island Bird Festival took place of the weekend of October 19-22 , showcasing what Bruny Islanders describe as the “birdwatching capital of Tasmania”. This might sound like a bit of an exaggeration but the four festivals so far since the event’s inception in 2010 have certainly attracted large numbers of both mainland and international birdwatchers. And in the past two years Bruny birding “hotspot” status has been further enhanced by the twin Bruny islands also … [Read more...] about Bruny flies high