Unusual interaction between White throated nightjar and GST

To: "Birding- aus" <>
Subject: Unusual interaction between White throated nightjar and GST
Date: Mon, 16 Jun 2008 07:16:08 +0000
Yesterday I was at Boondah wetlands in Brisbane about 8.15am when I saw a 
nightjar perched about 4 metres above ground on a horizontal bare branch of a 
dead sapling. The sapling was in the midst of some casuarina saplings just 
behind the mangroves along the edge of the creek. It was side-on to my 
position, so I had an uninterupted view of it. It was in a cryptic posture with 
wings drooped, neck extended and eyes closed into a slit. I identified it as a 
White throated nightjar from it's fieldmarks but I guess it couldn't have 
really been anything else. 

It didn't move during the 40 minutes or so that I watched it although I made 
myself as inconspicuous as possible in the hope that it would relax.  

I returned about 11am with a volunteer guide from the wetland centre. While we 
were watching it, a Grey Shrike Thrush approached the nightjar, first landing 
on another dead branch, then approaching in a series of small hops until it 
positioned itself on the same branch about 8 inches (don't know the 
centimetres) behind the bird's tail. After a couple of minutes (while we waited 
with bated breath), the GST hopped forward and seemed to peck the nightjar on 
the tail.

Although the nightjar hadn't moved a feather up to this point, it immediately 
twisted it's body toward the GST, without moving its feet, so that it was fully 
face-on to us. Both wings were opened fully and lifted up and out, making it 
look huge. The head went back and the bill opened widely. As the neck extended, 
the white patches of feathers on the side of the throat stood out noticeably 
further than the surrounding dark feathers which seemed to fold back flat 
against the neck. This gave the distinct impression of a ruff of the 
Elizabethan type (although it didn't go all the way around of course). 

The whole display was so startling that I honestly can't say whether any sound 
was made or not, but I think there was some sort of noise that accompanied it. 

The GST was also apparently startled because it skedaddled
quick smart to another tree and didn't go back again during the time we stayed, 
another 10 minutes or so - although it stayed in the area. The nightjar held 
the position for maybe a full minute then settled back to its previous posture. 

The White throated nightjar is not on the bird list for the Boondall wetlands. 
Can anyone comment on whether it is an unusual sighting? Also, I thought that 
was rather an unusual roosting place for a nightjar?

Best wishes

Sent from my BlackBerry® from Optus

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