Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The thing about car parks

In a recent post I was caught reflecting on birding and car parks!

A birder heading to a new destination opens their car door with much anticipation. Eyes scan the surrounds while ears soak in the sounds. What will reveal itself?

Sometimes a cacophony! The sounds are all around! Where to look? A buzz!

Sometimes, dead silence. Disappointment. Flatness.

I am thinking here of typical birding destinations where a country track delivers one into likely habitat. The "car park" may simply be a rarely visited clearing.

In response to mentioning the car park birding I recently enjoyed at Mouth of Powlett River, I was reminded that:
"...car parks are a very good choice to shoot birds, but that means people have been feeding them of left food of some kind...
With birds it might not be such a problem though, but where wild animals such as baboons in Africa are concerned, they become very dangerous and have to put be eventually put down... a pity!"
Thanks Noushka! We all know of such places where birds have become populous as a result of feeding at the car parks of tourist destinations or picnic areas. Noushka is right about such places and as birders, we tend not to frequent them!

I guess that my "great car park birding" sites are really places where simply opening the car door plunges one into a memorable birding experience - no actual car park required! Of course there are many factors contributing including season, time of day and weather.

I now feel an urge to make some lists (I am a birder after all)!

Pete's memorable "car park birding" sites:

  1. Ti-tree car park, Mouth of Powlett River Reserve, Vic
  2. Ben Bennett Bushland Park, Caloundra, Qld
  3. Kamarooka Forest, near Bendigo, Vic
  4. Oswin Roberts Sanctuary, Phillip Island, Vic
  5. Yellingbo Conservation Reserve, Vic

Pete's forgettable "car park birding" sites (big build up, dead silence):

  1. Mortimer Nature Walk, Bunyip State Park, Vic (the birding picked up, there was just not a sound at first)
  2. Chiltern Box-Ironbark National Park, Vic (ditto)
  3. Loch Ard Gorge, Vic (went for Rufous Bristlebird and dipped)

Car parks with bird populations affected by human feeding:

  1. Gloucester Tree, WA (Western rosella, Western ringneck)
  2. Wilsons Promontory, Vic (Crimson rosella)
  3. Sherbrooke Forest, Vic (King parrot, Crimson rosella)
  4. Anywhere there is a chip and a seagull
And of course some pictures:

Supposedly wild Western Ringneck (Barnardius zonarius) at the Gloucester Tree, WA. March 2007. Some bloke driving an electric scooter was selling seed for $2 per back (he didn't look official! I wonder if it is still happening?) 
Yes, the misguided parents of these kids bought a bag! Western rosella (Platycerus icterotis). Gloucester Tree, WA. March 2007
Australian King-parrot (Alisterus scapularis). Sherbrooke Forest car park
The picnic area at Sherbrooke Forest (on a quiet day!)
And now some excellent photos of signs at some of my favourite birding spots!

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