Melbourne, 2009

Book Cover

The best Melbourne birding is to be had through King’s Domain to the Botanic Gardens. I went on my last day, February 6, and racked up a decent 42 species to kick-start the Victoria list.

Red-rumped parrots were notable with their gorgeous bright emerald heads. Fast becoming another of my favour­ites, bell miners tinkled from the eucalypts. Noisy miners, one spinebill and wattlebirds completed the honeyeater roster, i.e. not a typical honeyeater among ’em.

The white-backed race of Australian magpie was new for the trip. The males are similar to western magpies and only females show any noticeable difference. Like the blokes, they live up to the subspecies name by having a paler back than their western sisters.

Melbourne is one of the last places in Australia for intro­duced song thrushes. Here’s where an alien species could hardly be deemed invasive so it seems to do no harm. We Brits may even need it as a safety net if we manage to wipe out all our specimens. The same may go for the skylarks throughout the state and on into South Australia.

The one invasive species the country can’t stand is us. It would be OK if we just occupied our Melbourne-size colonies, even to the exclusion of all else. It wouldn’t matter if these metropolises had no birds but… we take our species fascism everywhere. ⇐

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