On our holiday earlier this year we stayed for several days with friends in Gisborne, north of Melbourne. I didn’t deliberately go our birding while there but we did go for several drives in the district and I’ll write about those in coming days.
Instead, I took note of those species I saw or heard around the garden and on a walk we did one evening. I was quite surprised by the numbers of Common Mynas now present in Gisborne. I can’t recall ever seeing so many on previous visits. On one occasion there must have been at least 30 sitting on a neighbour’s roof and fence. That is too many!
The town still has large numbers of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and Long Billed Corellas. Several times I heard a small flock of Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos flying over. Crimson Rosellas (photo) are also quite common in the area, but I can’t recall seeing or hearing any lorikeets or Galahs on this visit. They must have been around, but I didn’t record any this time.
The common garden birds, apart from the mynas, included House Sparrows, Common Blackbirds, Australian Magpies, Red Wattlebirds and New Holland Honeyeaters. Interestingly, the Mynas seem to have replaced the Common Starling.
I also saw a small flock of thornbills moving through the garden. None would give me a good enough look to positively ID them. They might have been Little Thornbills, but I can’t be sure.
South Australia’s longest serving member of parliament, Graham Gunn, has called for a cull of corellas in the mid-north of the state. He is advocating the use of strychnine. I heard him being interviewed on the radio this morning and he admitted that the use of strychnine was illegal in our state, but thought that National Parks Rangers could be employed to deal with the problem.
In parliament yesterday he even gave a suitable recipe using strychnine which would have them “falling out of the sky like Spitfires.” He went on to outline the great damage the species is doing in his electorate. He claimed that they were in plague proportions.
During his interview on the radio this morning, a very distraught caller rang in to remind listeners of the story of America’s Passenger Pigeons. Once seen in flocks of millions not a single bird remains.
Some might suggest he is focusing on the wrong “pest” species that needs culling.
To read the article in The Advertiser click here. (Sorry – this link no longer works)
Updated: May 30th, 2017.