re willy wagtails

Subject: re willy wagtails
From: (Alex Appleman)
Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 08:28:15 +1000
I've been  away shivering in the Blue (aptly named) mountains for a couple of 
days so I'm catching up with the back log of messages.

I realise the willy wagtail debate has probably moved on but.....I suspect 
their migration has much to do with the search for food.

Back in December I was working in Ingham and coordinated the ABC count for BOCA 
within a 40 km radius of the town, which is 108 km north of Townsville and 
climatically on the dry/wet tropic interface. We got a 160 species - mostly in 
small numbers (including a cassowary and chick) which reflects the diversity of 

But willy wagtails were everywhere around the town and cane fields  Every 
paddock seemed to have a pair.  It was oppressively hot before the onset of the 
wet season, but it didn't seem to faze them at all. I suspect that their number 
reflected the amount of food around - the crushing season was in full swing and 
sugar cane is harvested green around Ingham, so there were plenty of insects 
I didn't notice them drinking - so perhaps they get most of the liquid needs 
from the insects.

Other species in great numbers were magpie geese which flew around in packs of 
300-400; descending on paddocks were the cane had recently been cut to feast on 
the sugar cobs.  They also perched on the cane trains near the sugar mill in 
their tens of dozens.  The other species in large numbers were metallic 
starlings and masked lapwings (92 on a single sand bank in the Herbert River) 
though they 
didn't seem to avail themselves of the feast. 

Happy Birding

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>
  • re willy wagtails, Alex Appleman <=

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU