Home' Plains Producer : Plains Producer December 11, 2013 Contents Plains Producer,Wednesday, December 11, 2013
NEWS FEATURE PEOPLE
CLOCKWISE from above, Paul with
his book, “Birds of the Port Wakefield
Area”; a caricature of his daughter,
Abbey and his intricate decorative
painting of wooden toys.
best – in
HE’S the ‘Bird man of Balaklava’ – a renowned expert on birds of all species. But there’s
even more talent held by Paul Taylor, our respected and likeable quiet achiever.
PAUL with princess
parrots and scarlet
chested parrots in Peter
WEETING is old news
to Balaklava local Paul
Taylor, as he’s been doing
it for years.
Paul has been an avid bird-
watcher for almost 50 years, and
says his obsession is growing!
He can identify many birds by
their tweets and can also imitate
So how and where did it all start?
“Years ago, my dad’s cousin,
Harold Crouch, was one of the
leading bird watchers in SA, and he
had a great influence on my father,
and later, on me,” Paul said.
Paul was born in Wallaroo in
1953, but grew up on the fam-
ily farm on the other side of the
He lived with his parents, Ron
and Sylvia and his older sister, Judy,
(now Milde, from Eudunda.)
“In the early days, dad made
home movies of birds, and also
drew pictures of them,” Paul said.
Paul also draws birds, and has
branched out into drawing cari-
catures of people, as many locals
Paul attended Beaufort primary
school and Balaklava high school,
and left school after Year 11 to work
on the farm.
Paul’s interest in birds started
when he was about 10 years old,
but for a few years as he grew up,
his interests changed from the
feathered bird variety to the hu-
Paul married Halbury local,
Judy (Simon,) and they have two
daughters, Abbey and Jessica, who
now live in Adelaide.
And no, neither of the girls really
have Paul’s bird interests!
In 1989, Paul wrote a weekly
column for the Plains Producer
titled “A Bird’s Eye View,” which
detailed birds in our area.
Paul and Judy had a grain and
sheep farm at Nantawarra for a
number of years, but in 2001, on
Paul’s birthday, sold the farm and
moved into Balaklava.
Since then, Paul has had a vari-
ety of jobs, including shearing shed
hand, grape picking, silo work,
and is regularly seen at the bottle
recycling depot in Balaklava.
Almost every day in hay season,
for the past nine years, Paul shares
the job of taking hay samples for
Balco to SARDI (SA Research and
In the height of the season, this
becomes a seven-days a week job.
Being a talented artist with a
steady hand, Paul also is kept busy
signwriting and painting local
honour club boards.
In 2005, Paul’s book “Birds
of the Port Wakefield Area” was
printed, and is still a great source
of information for bird lovers.
Paul is known as a “Twitcher”
the name for an obsessed bird
watcher who wants to see as many
birds as possible!
How many has he seen? “I’ve
seen 638 types inAustralia (another
one just last week), but 700 is
“There are always new species
and reclassifications, and many
Asian birds blow in,” he said.
He has a written record of every
bird he’s seen, and would see about
50 different types each month in
the Balaklava area.
Paul has travelled everywhere
except ACT in Australia, and the
most impressive birds he’s seen
in Australia would probably be
the black falcon, rifle bird, and at
Gluepot, a scarlet chested parrot!
“I saw a wandering albatross at
Port MacDonnell, which has the
largest wingspan of any living bird
in the world.”
It’s not just Australian bird
watching for Paul, as he’s seen more
than 2000 birds while travelling to
all seven continents of the world,
either on special bird watching
tours, or a quick tour while on a
family holiday! Judy is accustomed
to Paul’s ears pricking up at the first
sound of a tweet!
To complete his seven conti-
nents, Paul travelled to Borneo this
year with a small group of eight to
10 other bird watchers.
“I’ve gone to Peru, Nepal,
Alaska and Malawi (Africa) on
bird watching tours.”
Shouldn’t bird watching be a
“Nepal was my first overseas
bird trip and was a real cultural
experience. We stayed in the moun-
tains and a robber came and slit our
tent open with a knife, but luckily
he got scared off before any harm
In Malawi, the tour group was
under armed guard, as when in the
jungle, there was a possibility of
them being charged at by hippos
“Peru has so many birds but the
Scarlett Macaw was a highlight.”
While in Peru at the Machu
Picchu ruins, Paul was very lucky
to see an Inca Wren, which was
discovered a couple of years prior,
and is only found at that location.
Paul currently is working with
Birds SA completing a two-year
The census covers an area from
Kangaroo Island to north of Blyth.
Every month, Paul monitors
the birds he has noticed around the
northern Adelaide Plains area and
records his results.
Over the years, those who
played with, or against, Paul in
many sports, will agree he was a
very talented sportsperson in his
He played football for Hum-
mocks and also played in the as-
Paul also played basketball and
table tennis for Bulldogs, and was
a slick left handed tennis player for
Nantawarra and Balaklava.
While his sporting days might
be over, Paul keeps fit by going
bushwalking, with binoculars
around his neck, taking notes as he
goes of the birds he sees and hears
along the way.
“Bushwalkers appreciate na-
ture, and we use our ears more than
our eyes,” he said.
Links Archive Plains Producer December 4, 2013 Plains Producer December 18, 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page