Migrants and Nomads

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Migrants and Nomads
From: "Alan Gillanders" <>
Date: Sat, 30 Apr 2005 12:49:12 +1000

Below is an extract from my April newsletter which I am currently writing. I will post the whole thing on my website when it is done. March is there but I did not post it to this list as most of the bird info had been passed on in separate emails.


This month is the most reliable for wet days and has lived up to its reputation. A few cold days early in the month sent us diving for our winter woollies, stop laughing you lot! Then came the rain and it warmed up. The unusual feature has been the strength of the south-easterly airflow. The winds have been more typical of late May and June. With only five dry days I was lucky in having to only cancel one nocturnal tour. Some people will go out in anything! Still, the rain has been most welcome as February and March were not up to scratch. The total rainfall for the year has been 863 mm with
April contributing 163 mm of that.

Birds, Migrants and nomads return

April is the time of year when we start to see the arrival of those birds which will stay with us during the winter and dry season. No Sarus Cranes are back yet but last year they did not return until June. Brolgas have been seen on the northern and southern edges of the Tablelands and a single bird
was seen near Atherton on the 2nd of April.

Last year both species of Pygmy Geese bred on our creek but this season they vacated the area completely. Cotton Pygmy Geese returned to Nadellos Lagoon by the 3rd of the month and to our creek by two weeks later. Green P G have yet to be seen around the lakes. Magpie Geese returned in their tens during
the first week of April and they are now here in their hundreds.

A family of Wandering Whistling Ducks have been seen at Pelican Point. One adult was accompanying six young birds. Plumed Whistling Ducks are at
Hasties Swamp and Lake Tinaroo in their thousands.

Masked and White-browed Woodswallows are on the Atherton Tablelands as well as the more common White-breasted and Dusky Woodswallows.

A few Cattle Egrets were seen on April the 3rd and by the week's end they were in most of their usual haunts. A Little Egret has been feeding along our creek and another two at Tinaburra. They are not that common in this area. It has been great to have all three species together, making comparisons easy for those visitors unfamiliar with their differences. All three species have been seen on the Esplanade in Cairns as well. Along with them have been Eastern Reef Egrets, Royal Spoonbills, Australian White Ibis and Australian Pelicans, making a great display of black and white. Four immature Black-necked Storks were a major surprise on the Esplanade. Most of the waders have gone north for the boreal summer but a few remain. They are mostly in non breeding plumage but some show some colouration. There are two Grey-tailed Tattlers and a Great Knot in full breeding colours. The numbers of Crested Terns is very high but I saw no Lesser Cresteds on a recent visit.

The Bush Thick-knees have returned from their summer breeding territory 40 metres to the north to live in my garden again. King Parrots and Currawongs have arrived for the winter. The adult parrots will soon move off to breed, leaving just the juveniles and non breeding adults in the village. I recently saw a flock of over fifty Silvereyes which is what we see in winter with the southern migrants but it is perhaps a little early for them.

Alan Gillanders

Alan's Wildlife Tours
2 Mather Road
Yungaburra 4884
Phone 07 4095 3784
Int. + 61 7 4095 3784

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