On Tuesday, 3/11/98, late afternoon, I stopped in at Lake William, part of
the Kerang lakes between Swan Hill and Kerang. I drove down to the waters'
edge from the signposted entrance road off the Murray Valley Highway. After
flushing a flock of Silver Gulls and 3 Greenshanks and noting that
Hoary-headed Grebes were almost the only other birds present, I scanned the
shoreline. At about 30 metres distance, I noted a Tringa-like bird; all
dark grey above, with clear pale supercilium extending from the base of the
bill to well behind the eyes. It also had a contrastingly dark loral
stripe. The bill was long, straight and at least as robust as a Greenshank,
and appeared dull orange at its base. At this point leg colour could not be
seen due to the sloping nature of the shore obscuring the legs from me. I
approached the bird for better views, already suspecting it was a Tattler.
When about 20 m from it, the orange legs became visible and the bird
flushed, showing uniform dark grey upperside including rump and uppertail.
The bird repeated a 'pee-ooo' call three times. I am in no doubt that it
was a Grey-tailed Tattler Heteroscelus brevipes.
Grey-tailed Tattler is very rarely recorded inland in Aust., HANZAB
mentioning only a record from Burdekin Weir near Charters Towers, a few
records from L. Argyle in WA, and an unconfirmed record at Muloorina Stn,
SA. Another unidentified Tattler was seen at Mt. Isa. The Atlas of
Victorian Birds (1973-86) shows no inland records. However, Roy Wheeler's
book Birds of Victoria and where to find them (1979) lists the species for
the Kerang lakes area. I would be interested in knowing the details of this
record. It would also be of interest to know whether the bird remains in
the area or, as seems likely, was just passing through on its way to the
Peter S Lansley <>
tel. +61 (0)3 9375 4564