Birdline Australia Weekly Update

Subject: Birdline Australia Weekly Update
Date: 19 Mar 2012 01:30:40 +1000

Birdline Australia

Published sightings for the week ending 18 Mar 2012.

Fri 16 Mar Oriental Plover Norfolk Is. Airfield, New South Wales
Observed x1 bird (partial Breeding Plumage) sitting on a disused airstrip with a flock of Golden Plovers and Double-banded Dotterels (Plovers). Long way off so photo is a bit off, high winds blowing too. Margaret says this may be a new bird for the Island, no earlier records in the literature. Also seen by Margaret was a Little Ringed Plover a few days earlier, no photo to confirm, but hoping!
John & Sue O'Malley. Margaret Christian

Great Shearwater Marmion Marine Park, Perth WA, Western Australia
Saw it flying around near the boat today, diving down into the water. Impressive bird. Sorry, I didn't have a camera. It was flying pretty close to the shore from about 2 km out where we were to 0.5 km from the beach, just north of Hillarys Boat Harbour. This went on for about 30 mins before I lost it. It had the distinctive flight and shape of a shearwater, with its wings pointed out very straight (I'm from the UK and I'm used to seeing shearwater's back there). As it was flying about it appeared have white wings with black tips, but when it came close I could see there was a black trim to the edges of the whole wing. The rest of the wings were white with some dark speckling. The head was white below the beak and dark speckled above it. I had the feeling the plumage on the head was either undeveloped or in transition. When it dived into the water, it dropped like an arrow, folding its wings (a bit like a peregrine falcon) and sometimes adjusting them to correct its descent. It was only when it came close to the boat that I could see how large it was. I'm from the UK and I would say that it was as large as a Greater Black-backed Gull, but with a greater wingspan. It was definitely bigger than the Manx Shearwater back home, though very similar. [Ed note: there is some debate over the identity of this bird, with other suggestions being Streaked Shearwater or immature Australasian Gannet. Comments welcomed.]
Andrew Mackey

Thu 15 Mar Grey Phalarope Greenough River, Geraldton, Western Australia
Morning update from Mike Carter: So far, the bird has not been found this morning in a four hour search which is continuing. The weather is deteriorating and there is now a strong wind as that deep low up the coast to the north moves south. So it is suggested that potential twitchers await more positive news before venturing off. Afternoon update from Sue Abbotts: I just spoke with Frank O'Connor and the bird has not been seen today. Conditions remain very difficult with strong winds.
Frank O'Connor per Sue Abbotts (BirdsWA) & Mike Carter (Birding-Aus)

Wed 14 Mar Grey Phalarope Greenough River, Geraldton, Western Australia
Mike Lawrie found a Grey Phalarope on the Greenough River at Geraldton, WA, yesterday afternoon and it was still there this morning. Photos confirm the ID. He is willing to show people the bird. His email is If accepted by BARC it will be their fifth for Australia but I think there is one other record. It will be the first for WA but two previous reports were not accepted as was another from Christmas Island. [Note: the site is accessed from the Brand Highway, about 15km south of Geradlton. The turn off is a gravel road about 1-3km north of the right hand turnoff into West Bank Road. If you're coming from the north, it isn't signposted. On the right hand side, there is a sign advertising Royce Timber Works. Continue down this gravel track to the car park then follow the trail up the farm paddock fence. It's a 2-3 km walk to the spot where the bird was seen: S 28 53.645 | E 114 40.543 - per]
Mike Lawrie per Mike Carter

Wed 7 Mar Saunder's Tern Cocos (Keeling ) Islands - South Island, Cocos-Keeling Islands
Richard Baxter's group located a group of 14 terns on a sandspit on South Island. Good views through scope showing clearly identifying features of black outer primaries and distinctively shaped black cap.
Steve Murray etc

Fri 2 Mar Grey Nightjar Christmas Island Airport, Christmas Island
Richard Baxter's tour group (total of 8 people) all saw the Grey Nightjar on the last night of our stay on Christmas Island. After several attempts the bird finally came in to the tape on the second last night when only half the group was present and again on the last night when everyone was present. It landed briefly on the road just metres from the group and could be seen quite well as it flew off. The wings and tail showed no white markings at all indicating this is a female bird. The size is noticeably larger than Savannah Nightjar.
Steve Murray

Wed 29 Feb Grey Wagtail Blowholes Track, Christmas Island
A Female Grey Wagtail was spotted on the Blowholes Track on Christmas Island. Later another was seen further on but could possibly have been the same bird.
Steve Murray

Mon 27 Feb Malayan Night Heron Margaret Knoll Track, Christmas Island, Christmas Island
Juvenile Malayan Night Heron was seen a few times in a small pond on the Margaret Knoll Track. The identifying features of grey back and black and white plumes down the nape were clearly visible through scope. Only managed a poor quality record shot.
Steve Murray

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The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU