Christmas & Cocos Islands - recent rare & unusual sightings

Subject: Christmas & Cocos Islands - recent rare & unusual sightings
From: "Mike Carter" <>
Date: Sun, 3 May 2009 11:11:21 +1000
A Chinese Pond Heron was found by Lisa Preston & Ian McAllan at LB3 on Christmas Island on 1 May and was still there yesterday. A Little Ringed Plover is reported from there 21-23 April. The Javan Pond Heron found on West Island, Cocos earlier this year is still present and an Asian Koel is a recent report.

Of great interest is a WHISKERED TERN photographed by Lisa on Christmas Island on 30 April and still present. It is in transitional plumage and appears to me to be assuming breeding plumage. This could indicate that it is a northern hemisphere bird but the moulting times of our birds is variable and not well known. Northern hemisphere birds are of the nominate race hybridus whereas ours is javanicus which is a paler form. The CI bird is pale so that would not support that ID. In their non-breeding seasons both forms occur in Indonesia. Thus their ranges overlap but they don't occur there together. Our breeders are there May to September whereas the northern birds are there from October to May. Although suspected and might even be regular, the occurrence of the nominate race in Australia is not proven.

Mike Carter
30 Canadian Bay Road
Mount Eliza  VIC 3930
Tel  (03) 9787 7136


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