More rare birds on Ashmore Reef

Subject: More rare birds on Ashmore Reef
From: "Mike Carter" <>
Date: Wed, 5 Feb 2003 21:14:40 -0000
George Swann is just back from 15 days on Ashmore Reef. He got the first report for continental Australia of White-breasted Waterhen, the second record of Pale-headed Mannikin (photographed) and the first record for WA of Nutmeg Mannikin. George is the only birder to have seen Pale-headed Mannikin in Australia, having got the first record (3 birds accepted by BARC) at the same location a few years ago. The Waterhen is on the Australian list by virtue of its expanding presence on Christmas Is. Nutmeg Mannikin is otherwise known as Scaly-breasted Munia or Spice Finch. There are some 13 subspecies of this taxon so it will be interesting to learn which he saw. The form considered to have been introduced to Queensland is topela which occurs naturally in Thailand and China. Sumbae is the subspecies which occurs to the NW on Sumba but blasii, the form resident on Timor seems more likely. This could be the first naturally occurring Nutmeg Mannikin in Australia, at least that we know about.
Incidentally, BARC has just accepted one of our sightings of Jouanin's Petrel off Ashmore from October 2000. Our trip there this year will be from 20 to 27 September. There are still a few berths left if anyone is interested.
Mike Carter
30 Canadian Bay Road
Mt Eliza    VIC     3930
Ph:  (03) 9787 7136
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