Forest Wagtail - theories?

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Forest Wagtail - theories?
From: Mick Roderick <>
Date: Tue, 7 May 2013 22:39:23 -0700 (PDT)
Hi all,
My how Birding-aus has changed...we are getting a few updates from Chris, and a 
few congrats from others, but I haven't seen any suggestion of how or why the 
bird is where it is. When "the lapwing" was at Burren Junction, this list was 
alive with theories, ranging from over-shooting, reverse migration to 
conspiracies of jumping out of cargo boxes! 
I think the story with the Forest Wag might be similar. At this time of year, 
one would expect the bird to be flying north to their breeding grounds in 
North-east China, Korea, Japan etc from their wintering grounds in SE 
Asia....GENERALLY similar to a Grey-headed Lapwing. 
Perhaps this bird has simply gone south instead of north and presumably flew 
over the only suitable habitat along the way in the suitably-vegetated Top End 
and then struck gold in the comfy confines of an un-natural, but quite 
acceptable piece of habitat in suburban Alice Springs? Why would a bird like 
this over-shoot on a southerly trajectory at this time of year? Yes we know 
that Wagtails are long-distance migrants capable of long 'over-shoots' (noting 
that this is not a Motacilla Wagtail mind you), but the time of year suggests 
to me that it's a reverse migrant. 
If this is the case, then the bird might remain site-faithful (or at least in 
the area) for a while to come?
The lapwing was first reported on the 19th June (2006), but it could have been 
there since May and was there as far as I can tell until at least the 19th 
Just a theory...or rather, a series of theories / questions....something to get 
a good discussion going anyway.
p.s. cracking was always my #1 target when searching for vagrants on 
Christmas Island but Lisa Preston beat me to it! 
p.p.s to the Albany pelagic to Alice twitcher mentioned on Chris' blog - I 
remind you again John, 2012 has ended!! ;-)

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