I think that was my observation you have in mind.
I've kept most of the email exchange re HANZAB from the time. Following is
what appeared in Canberra Bird Notes, 30 (2), June 2005, p. 84.
Unfortunately the Magpie-larks do not visit frequently these days,
and I've had no more interesting sightings.
A pair of Magpie-larks Grallina
cyanoleuca have been resident in our neighbourhood for many
years, rearing a good number of youngsters. We have a pond in which
multi-coloured goldfish successfully breed every summer. The pond has a three
metre by half a metre shallow section over river stones, where the fish,
especially the young ones, spend time feeding. The Magpie-larks paddle through
the shallows, finding insects among the plants edging the pond, small black
water snails on the stones, and sometimes successfully eating the flesh of a
ramshorn snail (though more often we find the safely withdrawn ramshorn on the
ground around the pond ? safe, that is, if we get it back to the water in
In March 2004 the male Magpie-lark took a young white goldfish
about four centimetres long. I saw him first with the wriggling fish firmly in
his beak (fish tail one side, head the other) as he moved out of the water and
over several metres of paving to where the female and offspring were fossi c k
in g in l e a f l i t t e r . Unfortunately they were just out of clear view and
I could not see what he finally did with the fish. It would have been
interesting to know if indeed he ate it as, so far as I am aware, fish are not
normally part of the diet of Magpielarks.
21 Boobialla Street, O'Connor, ACT
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ABN 18 142 854
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O'Connor ACT 2602
Phone: 61 2 6247
Fax: 61 2 6247 8779
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