Grey-Headed Lapwing 22 July

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Grey-Headed Lapwing 22 July
From: L&L Knight <>
Date: Sun, 23 Jul 2006 15:31:30 +1000
As Paul Taylor notes in his signature block: Veni, vidi, tici - I came, I saw, I ticked. This is one of the few times I've ticked a bird without having a field guide in my hands.

I left Brisbane at 5.30 am and got to Burren Junction shortly after 1 pm. The lapwing was virtually the first bird I saw in town.

I had been concerned that with the amount of water lying around [at many spots beside the road on the way from Inglewood to Burren Junction], the lapwing might have moved on. Driving in to Burren Junction from Wee Waa, I stopped to have a look at a pool of water and consult the notes. I drove down the road to the vacant block (100 m) to the north-east of the silos - beside the lane going up to the stockyards. I could see the rear end a lapwing from the road, and looking through the knockers, the bumblefoot was obvious and I knew I had found the bird. The irony of finding a particular bird within a couple of minutes of driving 7.5 hours made me chuckle to myself.

As previous viewers have noted, the bird is very tame - if you stay in your car you can drive to within 10 metres without unduly disturbing it. If it is in an accessible area, you could drive around it to get views/pictures from all angles [or to get the sun the right position]. I moved off to the picnic area after a quarter of an hour with the bird - it seemed to have moved somewhere else when I drove through town - possibly because a worker walking along the lane had disturbed it.

The bird was pretty much on its own when I saw it - the only other bird in the paddock was a peewee. The thing I find strange is that a shorebird that apparently hangs out near water in Asia would choose to settle in a dry paddock in the middle of a cotton growing area. Perhaps that is the sort of environment it would find near its breeding grounds in Japan/China.

As others have mentioned, there were plenty of Weeros in town [one was missing its tail, which made it an interesting sight - gave it a profile a bit like a needletail]. Burren Junction must be Weero city, because there was a dead tree with a flock of hundreds perched in it.

Apostlebirds were abundant on the way to and from the site, with many flocks fossicking beside the road. One collective had over 40 individuals [he says confidently based on an observation made at 110 km/hr]. Kestrels, Black-Shouldered Kites and Brown Falcons were also common. I saw two Spotted Harriers to the east of the Great Dividing Range, and three Emus in a field of sorghum while heading south along the Newell Hwy.

I did briefly entertain the thought of trying out the artesian pool 1 km to the east of BJ, but there were 20+ vehicles and caravans laagered around it, so I drove on.

In conclusion, I suspect the bird is used to being looked at and agree that it is likely to stay there. If you haven't already seen the bird, and have an excuse to drive through central NSW, it's worth deviating to have a gander at the lapwing.

Regards, Laurie.


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