Willie Wagtails were one of the few bird species seen constantly during my
recent drive along the Canning Stock Route. In fact, they and Magpie-Larks are
probably the most commonly encountered species.
Sent from my iPhone
> On 15 Jun 2015, at 7:27, Lloyd Nielsen <> wrote:
> Hi Martin, Marie, Greg and everyone,
> Just a bit more on the Willie Wagtail migration. A few years ago, I was
> around the Longreach, Winton, Boulia area, Bedourie area for a few weeks in
> late June. Willie Wagtails were everywhere, all out in very open areas. I
> camped for a few days on a long waterhole just south of Bedourie. There had
> been rain and the depressions between the sandhills had water in them. Around
> one stretch of water several hundred metres long where I was camping, I
> counted (standing on the one spot) over 70 Wagtails. They were living about
> the lignum, scattered shrubbery and open water and were avoiding the
> timber/coolibahs that lined the waterhole. I was back there in late September
> and there wasn't a Wagtail to be seen.
> Coming home from one trip, travelling between Winton and Hughenden in late
> June, Wagtails were sitting on the bitumen every 150 metres or so - probably
> because it was warm. The country is pretty well treeless - just a few odd
> small Acacia-like bushes here and there. From Hughenden I travelled north to
> The Lynd which is mostly mixed woodland. This is a stretch 260 km long.
> Willie Wagatils were pretty well absent. Without looking at my notes, I
> counted about a dozen Wagtails over the whole distance.
> On the Darling Downs when I lived there, they would spend the whole winter
> less than a metre above ground in the sorghum stubble while ever it was still
> standing and not ploughed in.
> I agree with Greg in that it has to be a latitudinal migration. Overall it is
> not a small movement - it is huge and involves many many thousands of birds!
> There is no doubt that the open farming lands and inland grassy plains of
> Queensland is a major wintering area of the Willie Wagtail. They do not seem
> to reach the Wet Tropics or Cape York Peninsula.
> On that note, it would be interesting to know what the situation is this year
> with extreme drought through much of that area.
> Lloyd Nielsen,
> Mt Molloy, Nth Qld
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