Christmas Island trip report (new bird for Oz?)

To: "" <>
Subject: Christmas Island trip report (new bird for Oz?)
From: Rohan Clarke <>
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2001 12:32:58 +1100
Hi All,
Just back from a week in SW WA and a week on Christmas Island (7th -14th
Dec). (I'll post a separate short report on SW WA).
I've summarized what I saw on Christmas Is as an annotated list as I've
usually found other's lists very useful in planning. Apart from the birds
(all the endemics, a few good migrants and a short-toed eagle, a shrike
(either tiger or brown) and a small accipiter) the red crab migration and
spawning was still going and the weather was superb. 

Species Observed.

Feral Chicken: 6 on Golf Course, Small numbers in settlements that were
probably feral.

Abbott's Booby: 20 in total, 1-3 on most days in or over rainforest canopy
on the plateau (mostly along Murray Rd).

Brown Booby: 40 in total. Small numbers on coast daily.

Red-footed Booby: 000's. Roosting on towers, palms, in rainforest, and
feeding inshore (mostly Juvs inshore).

Christmas Island Frigatebird: Common especially between the settlement and
the resort.

Greater Frigatebird: Very Common as above.

Lesser Frigatebird: 1-2 birds almost daily.

White-tailed Tropicbird: up to 20 per day. Common. Approx. 1 in  8 was
white, all others various golden shades. Nests with eggs and chicks.

Red-tailed Tropicbird: usually up to 10 per day but 30+ in front of Rumah
Tingih on 13/12. Nests with eggs.

Nankeen Kestrel: Very Common up to 20 on the airstrip.

Brown Goshawk: Uncommon 1 or 2 seen most days. Nest at the Dales.

Short-toed Eagle: 1 on 10/12 over forest near airstrip. In view for ~2 mins,
lots of notes, 6 or so distant photos that show most ventral features. First
record for Aust if accepted by BARC.

Small accipiter. Possible Japanese Sparrowhawk. Only dorsal surface seen as
it flew away. Small size (male Aust Sparrowhawk) slaty grey back, 4 or 5
alternating dark grey/black and slate grey bands on tail.

Common Tern: 1 at Flying fish cove on 7/12.

Common Noddy: 220+ at Flying fish cove. Some with eggs on cliffs near FF

White-breasted Waterhen: Common 2-6 seen every day. Mostly between resort,
plantation, airstrip and settlements. One with small black chick on 7/12,
nest with five eggs on 10/12.

Little Egret: 1 at the Dales 8/12 and 11/12.

Nankeen Night-Heron: Imm at the Dales 8/12 and 11/12.

E. Reef Egret: about 10 in total. Both white and grey morph. On rocky coast
around island and one at the Dales on 11/12.

White-faced Heron: 1-2 on the Golf Course most days. 20+ on Airstrip.

Common Sandpiper: 1 at Ethel Beach throughout stay. 1 at FF Cove on 13/12.

Large Sand-plover: 2 at Ethel Beach on 13/12.

Pacific Golden Plover: 12 above Lily Beach on 9-10/12.

Ruddy Turnstone: 1 above Lily Beach on 10/12.

Bar-tailed Godwit: 1 on airstrip on 8/12 and 10/12.

Pin-tailed Snipe: 1 at swamp near resort entrance on 13/12.

CI Imperial Pigeon: Common seen every day including perched on lamp posts in

Emerald Dove: Common. seen every day.

CI Hawk Owl: Heard at most sites in Rainforest. 2 seen well at the Pink
house/Research Station while spotlighting.

Oriental Cuckoo: 1 on Irvine Hill Rd near airstrip turnoff 8/12.

Barn Swallow: Seen every day. Max 11 at the dump ad 4 in settlement.

Glossy Swiftlet: abundant.

Grey Wagtail: 5 non-breeding adults at the plantation 11/12-13/12 (not seen
here earlier despite checking every day).

Shrike sp. (either Tiger or Brown) Juv. with pale lores....some texts
suggest this feature is diagnostic of Juv Tiger Shrike. Photos that look OK
and couple of pages of notes. Confident more research will allow ID to
species. Seen in Poon San 12-13/12.

CI White-eye: abundant seen where ever there was vegetation.

Island Thrush: Common 10+ seen every day.

Java Sparrow: uncommon to rare. Max 6 in Silver City but also 2 on Irvine
Hill Rd in rainforest and 1 flying over Drumsite and 1 flying over Poon San.

Also Mammals....CI Pipistrelle, CI Flying Fox, Black Rat, Spinner Dolphin,
Feral Cat.
Reptiles.... Crytodactylus sp., House Gecko, Gehyra sp, Emoia sp, Wolf
Snake, Green Turtle.

Rohan Clarke
PhD Candidate
'Conservation Biology of the Black-eared Miner'
Department of Zoology
La Trobe University
Bundoora Vic. 3083
Tel 03 9479 1672
Fax 03 94791551

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