Forest Wagtail - theories?

To: Mick Roderick <>
Subject: Forest Wagtail - theories?
From: Steve Clark <>
Date: Wed, 8 May 2013 15:56:57 +1000
G'day Mick *et al.*

I recall that there was a huge depression over the Top End and Kimberley in
late March.  This was the time the 'edible-nest' type swiftlets were being
seen at Broome sewerage ponds (4th April).


On Wed, May 8, 2013 at 3:39 PM, Mick Roderick <> wrote:

> 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 Sept.
> Just a theory...or rather, a series of theories / questions....something
> to get a good discussion going anyway.
> Cheers,
> Mick
> 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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