To: "Edwin Vella" <>, "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Rarities
From: "Tim Murphy" <>
Date: Tue, 4 Jul 2006 11:44:32 +1000
Brian Finch and I one came across a full breeding plumage Black Tern in Port
Moresby.  It was likely that the bird has spent the summer over-wintering in
Australia and had been missed.

When you think of it, there are 10,000 moderately skilled bird watcher in
Australia, tops, and 4,000,000 square kilometres which means that we would
have to cover 40 square kilometres each if we were all spread out, but we're
not, of course.

It is easy to put a bird down as a common one when it is not. I remember in
Florida being asked by a non-birder what some birds were, I and a friend,
swung round, and both of us answered Grackles. It took about threre seconds
for it to sink in that they actually were Smooth-billed Anis (a type of
Cuckoo). Also, embarrassingly last week end, I and a friend both  dismissed
a Red-backed Kingfisher, which we were actually  looking for, as a small
Kookaburra.  It was only because the bird stuck around that we realised our

I would guess that we get one rarity in 50, if that. And half of those
discovered are not reported.

Tim Murphy

PS. The Red-backed Kingfisher WAS very pale until one saw its red-rump and
it was facing us - a picture is at

-----Original Message-----
 Behalf Of Edwin Vella
Sent: Monday, 3 July 2006 7:57 PM
To: Birding-aus
Subject: Rarities

And the Black-backed Wagtail that turned up once at Glendale shopping
centre (outside a Lone Star Restaurant to be more specific)near
Newcastle, NSW is a good example. I wonder how many of these turn up at
similar places throughout Australia. Perhaps we should pay more
attention for possible Wagtails when we visit these places.

-----Original Message-----
From: Edwin Vella 
Sent: Monday, 3 July 2006 7:43 PM
To: 'Peter Waanders'; 'Birding-aus (E-mail)'
Subject: Grey-headed Lapwing

Definitely agree on this one. I am sure lots of vagrants even get missed
close to the capital cities!!



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