More Christmas Island news

Subject: More Christmas Island news
From: "Mike Carter" <>
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2002 19:01:31 +1100
    Sean Dooley and I are just back from a week on Christmas Island where we had a slightly disappointing time considering the excitement of the previous week, (see Dion's posting of 10 March) and the number of observers present (Glenn & Jenny Holmes, David James & Jeff Middleton were also there). In spite of much effort, we failed to find the Malayan Night Heron and Watercock seen just two days before our arrival.  
Cinnamon Bittern. In late February a live but emaciated Cinnamon Bittern was picked up by Environment Australia staff. It died within days. As I was asked to identify the specimen and this is a new bird for Australia, I'll be making a BARC submission.   
    Possibly of relevance to the above is the sad story of another that got away. At first light on 13 Mar., Sean and I flushed a small all-dark bittern from a road-side gutter. We followed it across adjacent open land to the edge of forest at the base of a cliff. Believing we had it confined in a clump of broad-leaved plants we waited till full light to flush it out. Somehow, it dematerialised!!!!!
    Other vagrant herons seen were Cattle Egret, Striated Heron and Black Bittern.
White Wagtails. On 11 & 12 Mar. we had 1 or 2 ocularis. I think this is only the second Australian record of this subspecies. On 18 Mar. we had 2 ad. breeding male leucopsis, both very tame and photogenic. The one found by David James about 12 days previously was similar.
Pin-tailed Snipe. At 08.00 on 15 Mar. one, heard to call, dropped steeply from flight into vegetation 20 m ahead of us. The small size (compared with Emerald Dove), fanned tail, legs and underside of wings were clearly visible. As we moved forward for another view, 3 more snipe, also calling, approached from the same direction as if to join the first bird. Startled by our presence they veered and headed away to the north. The grounded bird also flew off.
    We saw 32 species including all endemics and Little Black Cormorant. 
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