birding-aus Frigatebirds; Lady Elliot Island birds

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Subject: birding-aus Frigatebirds; Lady Elliot Island birds
From: "sonnenburg" <>
Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 11:03:02 +1000

Mike Hines and David James both had some comment on Frigatebirds in Q'ld in
the last week or so.  I was involved with Lady Elliot Island's Bird Week
(2-7 Feb) and one of the things we tried to do was work out what species of
Fregata we were seeing.  We saw two adult male Greats (Fregata minor) and
one adult male Lesser (Fregata ariel).  The maximum number of birds we saw
in any one day was 22. Apart from the three birds just mentioned, the rest
of the birds were juveniles; very hard to pick which species.  In the end I
estimated that about two thirds of the birds were Greats.  We got a really
good look at four perched in a tree one day.  All had blue/green eye ring,
black eye, pinkish fleshy feet/legs, greyish white bills, brown scapulars. 
 They all had varying amounts of white on head, throat, breast and

Lady Elliot is a 42 hectare coral cay at the southern-most end of the Great
Barrier Reef and is about 50 km off the coast between Bundaberg and
Gladstone.  Apart from the birds, the snorkelling/diving is wonderful and I
would recommend a visit. Herewith is our bird list for the week. 

Wedge-tailed Shearwater Puffinus pacificus      150+    
Red-tailed Tropicbird   Phaethon rubricauda     6 adult, 3 chicks       
Brown Booby             Sula leucogaster                48      
Great Frigatebird               Fregata minor           2 male} 20 juveniles 
Lesser Frigatebird      F. ariel                        1 male} could be either 
Eastern Reef Egret      Egretta sacra           11 white, 9 grey        
White-faced Heron       E. novaehollandiae      2       
White-bellied Sea-Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster  2 juvenile      
Buff-banded Rail                Gallirallus philippensis        50+     
Bar-tailed Godwit               Limosa lapponica        3       
Whimbril                Numenius phaeopus       4       
Grey-tailed Tattler     Heteroscelus brevipes   9       
Wandering Tattler       H. incanus              5       
Ruddy Turnstone         Arenaria interpres      200+    
Pied Oystercatcher      Haematopus longirostris 3       
Sooty Oystercatcher     H. fuliginosus          1       
Pacific Golden Plover   Pluvailis fulva         30+     
Grey Plover             P. squatarola           2       
Lesser Sand Plover      Charadrius mongolus     13      
Silver Gull             Larus novaehollandiae   250+    
Crested Tern            Sterna bergii           500+ adult, 250+ juvenile       
Roseate Tern            S. dougallii            1       
Black-naped Tern                S. sumatrana            30+     
Bridled Tern            S. anaethetus           1000+   
Sooty Tern              S. fuscata              6 adult, 3 chicks       
Common Noddy            Anous stolidus          1000+   
Black Noddy             A. minutus              10000+  
Grey Ternlet            Procelsterna cerulea    1       
Shining Bronze-Cuckoo   Chrysococcyx lucidus    1       
Channel-billed Cuckoo   Scythrops novaehollandiae       1       
Sacred Kingfisher               Todirhampus sanctus     2       
Brown Honeyeater        Lichmera indistincta    3       
House Sparrow           Passer domesticus       30+     
Tawny Grassbird         Megalurus timoriensis   10+     
Silvereye               Zosterops lateralis     30+     
List in taxonomic order as per Christidis & Boles (1994)                        
Numbers are either exact number counted or estimates from rough census
(where +sign is used)                   

Roy Sonnenburg

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