Additional birds seen during WA twitch

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Additional birds seen during WA twitch
From: "Crispin Marsh" <>
Date: Wed, 6 Jun 2007 17:28:30 +1000
Dear Birders,
Following yesterdays report on my recent visit to the 2 vagrants in WA I 
thought I should mention some other nice birds seen on the trip. There were 
Spinifex Pigeons at the Whim Creek site as well as at a couple of other rather 
random stops  made for the purpose of seeing what was about. I also picked up 
Painted Finch on 2 occasions and 1 Pink-eared Duck in a pool on one of the 
rivers between Karratha and Whim Creek. There were a lot of raptors about 
including Spotted Harrier, Whistling Kite, Australian Kestrel, Black 
-shouldered Kite, Black Kite and Brown Falcon.

In Dampier (the port for Karratha) there was a flock of around 100 Star Finches 
in the bushes beside the Esplanade opposite what looked like a sailing club. 
They dropped down to the ground from time to time only to then burst into the 
air in a great cloud and settle back into the bushes for a few minutes before 
repeating the exercise. There were quite a lot of Zebra Finch at the same site.

On the rocks beside the sailing club were a pair of Beach Stone-curlews. I was 
interested to see one of them pick up a large spiral univalve mollusc. It then 
walked quite deliberately some 30 meters past a number of pointed rocks until 
it came to a rock with a horizontal upper surface. It then threw the mollusc 
with its beak against the flat surface of the rock. It repeated this some 6 
times before shaking off some or all of the broken shell and swallowing the 
remainder. Has anyone else seen this behaviour? The bird was clearly using the 
flat surface as a "passive" tool like an anvil in a most intelligent way.

I picked up male Red-capped Robins at both Karratha and Geraldton. Geraldton 
also yielded a couple of raptos not seen further north being Wedge-tailed Eagle 
and Osprey.
Peter Marsh

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