Woodswallows on Norfolk Island

To: Mike Carter <>
Subject: Woodswallows on Norfolk Island
From: Margaret Christian <>
Date: Tue, 19 May 2009 10:00:39 +1130
Thanks for helping Jan with the query Mike. I've been off the island and out of contact. Masked Woodswallows are being observed more here of late, judging by the number of locals calling me for i.d. on them. It is true that White-browed have not been observed in recent years, although they were with the initial group of Masked when they arrived.

You may all be interested to know we have had 4 Royal Spoonbills here last week, only two still dabbling about in Kingston this week. This is the highest number at one time recorded here to my knowledge. A couple of Marsh Harriers are working over Kingston also, (normal at this time of year) and they have also been observed at Headstone and Douglas Drive (valley between the airport and Mission Chapel). The most interesting observation this month is a lutino Crimson Rosella, reported by two observers (locals), but no photographs obtained yet.

cheers for now

Mike Carter wrote:
Margaret Christians book 'Norfolk Island ... The Birds', gives the status of both Masked and White-browed Woodswallow as 'native'. That may be true now for Masked Woodswallow but my understanding is that wasn't always the case and I'd doubt that status for White-browed. In my first visit in 1992 I didn't see either species but in 1998 I saw several Masked Woodswallows. As I recall, they had arrived fairly recently. Masked have been present ever since but I suspected that White-browed had died out. 'Notornis' publishes updates on Norfolk Is birds about every ten years so you could trace the status there. HANZAB says Masked regular but 'not recorded before 1996' and lists White-browed as a vagrant there so the Atlas is right in querying your claim and you should provide justification. Latham's Snipe is a vagrant with several records. I have also seen it there, e.g. 1 at Headstone on 2 March 1998. Because so few of us send our records to the Atlas when holidaying on these offshore islands there are few Atlas entries. An example of this is that recently I was asked whether reports of species at Cocos (Keeling) Islands were likely to be correct. The species queried breed there in large numbers and have done so since the islands were first surveyed!

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

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