Cocos (Keeling) Island birds

To: "Birding Aus" <>
Subject: Cocos (Keeling) Island birds
From: "Don and Llane Hadden" <>
Date: Sun, 16 Oct 2005 13:25:09 +0630
After we left Kupungarri Aboriginal community along the Gibb River Road (Managed to see two lots of Black Grasswrens up at Mitchell Plateau on my third visit there), we left for 3 months overseas. Best bird perhaps Moussier's Redstart in Tunisia. Best dead birds Ivory-billed Woodpecker and Stephen's Island Wren seen when I spent a couple of days behind the scenes in the American Museum of Natural History.
On our return we lived for 7 weeks at Marble Bar but are now on Home Is in the Cocos (Keeling) island group until 29 January next year. Most birds recorded for Cocos are to be found 24km north on the atoll known as Pulu Keeling National Park. At the moment the island is inaccessible because of the windy conditions and big swells. The only way on is by swimming across the reef. However, it is the time of the year when a few migratory species may turn up so I took the ferry across to West Island, hired a bicycle and checked out the lagoon to the north of the airstrip. On the way, I tried to photograph Green Jungle Fowl and found them more difficult than expected. They take no notice of passing vehicles or cyclists, but the moment you stop, these wary birds slip into the dense roadside vergetation. Spent a few hours just hidden in bushes overlooking the lagoon area and was rewarded with photographs of two Common Redshanks, a mottled Reef Egret, a Grey Wagtail and a White-breasted Waterhen. On Home Island I've seen Barn Swallows and Common Sandpiper and distant views of Red-footed Booby and Lesser Frigatebird. Commonest birds birds are Reef Egrets and White Terns. Rufous Night Herons can be easily seen in the evenings.
Don Hadden

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