east Kimberley "Late Wet Season Pipits" and Morecombe's

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Subject: east Kimberley "Late Wet Season Pipits" and Morecombe's
From: Pat and Ian May <>
Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2000 16:30:07 +0930
G'Day Birders

>From 1993 until recently, Pat and myself lived on a boat (the
Pteranodon) along the Kimberley coast of Western Australia, commercially
fishing Trepang.   Our home anchorage was Wyndham, Western Australia,
but we also were based at Truscott in Napier Broome Bay for a couple of

Every year, towards the end of the wet season (usually from late
January) we regularly observed a small number of Pipits at the Wyndham
sports oval and also around Truscott airstrip a few hundred kilometres
to the north west.   We were always on the lookout for Red-throated
Pipit but were never privileged with a sighting of this.   These late
wet season Pipits (LWSP) however never quite comfortably fitted the
typical Richard's Pipit, a bird which we are familiar with from many
other areas, and occurs around Wyndham during the dry season.  Although
very similar to Richard's Pipit, these LWSP's appear on the small side,
being darker more streaked above and more heavily striated on the breast
with the markings extending to the lower breast almost to the legs. 
They have a pale unmarked throat.   But their habits appear a little
different as well.  They frequently skulk around the Wyndham oval near
the south western football goal posts but fly off into the low shrubs
around the oval if disturbed.  Once on a drive through open monsoon
forest adjacent to the Parry's Creek salt pans north of the Bastion
Range, we came across several scattered in the forest and at the time
thought it a bit unusual, but that how it is.

My reason for writing this is not to claim any new record, because on
more than one occasion these birds were discussed with Niven McCrie in
Darwin and at the time, I always decided they are probably some northern
race or darker form of Richard's Pipit either in juvenile or breeding

Its just that now we have the new Morecombe Field Guide, we have just
found what looks like "the birds".   The picture on page 421 (lower
right corner and the description of Pechora Pipit (Anthus gustavi)
matches closely the "LWSP's" although I never noted the double wing bar
or that the buffy white lines down the mantle formed deep "V" shapes.  
Anyway the good news is that they were there every year from 1993 to
1999 so they should be regular enough for others to see again,
particularly at the Wyndham oval.

Now that Morecombe's Guide has been mentioned however, we must say that
we think it is the "birdiest" of all the guides, frequently having that
little extra info that one is looking for (e.g.. see Painted
Honeyeater).   For a 1st edition it is really quite remarkable and we
love it.

And if one is to judge the book by its picture of a Domestic Pigeon, one
must ask, would we use the same standard to judge a Women's magazine
just because inside its covers there is a picture of a busty latex clad
super woman?


Ian May

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