To: birding-aus <>
From: Richard Baxter <>
Date: Thu, 22 Dec 2011 04:19:48 -0800 (PST)
       Christmas Island and Cocos-keeling Islands Birding Trip Report
                                        Nov-Dec 2011.
PART 4 (Final)
Our final full day on the island continued to produce more mega vagrants. The 
first one came before breakfast when we located a EURASIAN TEAL in the wetlands 
which was possibly the same bird as last year.  Certainly its behavior was the 
same as we watched it cruise the far end of the swamp and roost under the 
overhanging palm fronds.
Just before lunch Pam Jones came rushing down to our accommodation with a photo 
of a starling she had just taken from the bushes adjacent to one of the local 
parks.  Within minutes we were all assembled and looking at a young 
ROSE-COLOURED STARLING.  That afternoon we had further views of Asian Koel, 
Oriental Cuckoo, Striated Heron, Barn Swallow, Asian House Martin and Large 
Hawk Cuckoo.  With only half a day remaining before we flew home there was one 
more vagrant left to find.
Our final morning on the island continued to be productive with nice views of 
the Large Hawk Cuckoo, both male and female Asian Koel, Grey Wagtail and the 
teal. We had heard from one of the island’s residents that he had seen a small 
black and red bird near the cemetery two mornings previously.  Sounding like a 
second Mugamaki Flycatcher we searched the area, but unfortunately we only 
found a Striated Heron.  The best bird discovered that morning was found by 
Peter Wilk when he photographed a JAPANESE SPARROWHAWK soaring directly over 
our accommodation.      
Over two weeks we found a total of 80 species on both islands, including the 
highest number of rarities I’ve ever recorded, totaling an incredible 26 
species. Prior to our arrival there were no significant weather events that I 
could contribute this high number to but certainly after arriving the near 
daily rain fronts arriving on Christmas Island from the north contributed to 
the large number of swifts/swiftlets.  On Cocos, there is no doubt the nearby 
tropical low and subsequent tropical cyclone and associated northerly winds 
contributed to our tally.  
A total of 18/26 vagrant species re-occurred from last summer on the islands.  
In March 2011 we returned and relocated most of the vagrants and there is no 
doubt many of these will again remain until Feb 25th 2012 when my next tour 
departs for both Christmas and Cocos.  I’m also really looking forward to the 
Feb/March trip to see what arrives on the islands between now and then.  
Rarities/vagrants seen:
        1. Purple-backed Starling
        2. Eastern Yellow Wagtail
        3. Asian House Martin
        4. Edible-nest Swiftlet
        5. Himalayan Swiftlet
        6. House Swift
        7. Grey Wagtail
        8. Red-collared Dove
        9. Mossy-nest Swiftlet
        10. Asian Koel
        11. Gadwall
        12. Yellow Bittern
        13. Pin-tailed Snipe
        14. Silver-backed Needletail
        15. Pond Heron Prob Chinese
        16. Chinese Sparrowhawk
        17. Eye-browed Thrush
        18. Mugamaki Flycatcher
        19. Watercock
        20. Saunder’s Tern
        21. Little Stint
        22. Western Reef Egret
        23. Large Hawk Cuckoo
        24. Eurasian Teal
        25. Rose-coloured Starling
        26. Japanese Sparrowhawk
Other nice birds seen:
White-breasted Waterhen, Barn Swallow, Oriental Cuckoo, Oriental Pratincole, 
Green Junglefowl, Lesser, Christmas & Great Frigatebird, Masked, Red-footed, 
Abbott’s and Brown Booby, White-tailed, Golden Morph WT and Red-tailed 
Tropicbird, Island Thrush, CI White-eye, CI Imperial Pigeon, Variable Goshawk, 
Cave (Linchi) Swiftlet, CI Hawk Owl, Dollarbird, Sanderling, Grey Plover, Tree 
Sparrow, Lesser Crested Tern and Java Sparrow.  
Richard Baxter
Next CI/Cocos birding Tours 
25 Feb to 10 March 2012   & 
24 Nov to 8 Dec 2012. 

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