Christmas Island and Cocos-Keeling 15-21 Dec 07

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Subject: Christmas Island and Cocos-Keeling 15-21 Dec 07
From: "Dion Hobcroft" <>
Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2007 17:19:03 +1100
Hi all,
Just returned from a visit to these remarkable islands recording 50
species. On Christmas Island highlights were an Asian Koel (second year
male) at VQ3; an immature Black-winged Stilt at the cove behind the
Casino on 15 Dec with single Barn Swallows at both Flying Fish Cove and
the Airport on 16 Dec. No sign of the Malayan Night-Heron sadly.
Cracking views of the endemics. The Red Crab migration was in full
Cocos was highlighted by seven Saunder's Terns at South Island including
one still largely in alternate plumage on 19 Dec. Several Western Reef
Egret types were present on the lagoon at the north end of the airstrip
during our stay here. A north Asian breeding subspecies of Dollarbird
(nominate orientalis or abundus) was seen on South Island on 19 Dec.
Other unusual records for Cocos included singles of both Great and
Little Egret (nigripes), an adult leucocephalus Black-winged Stilt on
Horsburgh Island on 20 Dec and apparently the first record for Lesser
Sand-Plover with three present in a mixed shorebird roost of ten species
and 160 individuals at South Island. More regular visitors included a
high count of 12 Pacific Black Ducks, up to 3 Oriental Pratincoles, 4
Greenshanks and 5 White-breasted Water-hens.
For many though the major highlight was watching a pod of False Killer
Whales slamming the water and slowly pulverising a Sailfish that was
doing its best to escape predation off North Keeling Island.

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