Kangaroo Island Bird News

To: "Birding-Aus" <>
Subject: Kangaroo Island Bird News
From: "Chris Baxter" <>
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 2009 22:24:19 +1030
Hi All


Some Kangaroo Island bird news for your interest. For past month we have had
tens of thousands of Short-tailed Shearwaters streaming past S coast of KI
heading for breeding grounds further west. Have had small number breed on
central S coast of KI (remote site) but not sure if they are planning to
nest there this year. May get there to check on them-time will tell. Only
other pelagic species known to breed here is the White-faced Storm-Petrel.
Also on central S coast of Island. Many hundreds of dead S-t Shearwaters
washed up on our S beaches. Also found dead on beaches over past months are
Cape Petrel (1), Southern Fulmar (1), Shy Albatross (1), Southern Giant
Petrel (1), Kerguelen Petrel (1) and quite a few Australasian Gannets. Some
interesting and rare visitors included White-winged Triller, Crimson Chat
and Orange Chat-the latter a new species for KI. The former two having been
recorded a few times previously. Straw-necked ibis have always been a bit of
a novelty, visiting in very low numbers. However, this year they have turned
up with a vengeance and are becoming quite ho-hum about KI farming and
wetland areas. A flock over my property inland from Emu Bay numbered 33 the
other day. Hundreds of Black-tailed Native Hens on almost all wetlands are a
nice addition to our bird ranks as they have not irrupted here for quite
some years now. A White-necked Heron (possibly two) was also a rare visitor
that stayed for a month or more. My first breeding record (and first record
for KI) of Royal Spoonbill was a highlight. 20 pairs bred amongst c. 200
pairs of White Ibis on a Nitre Bush/Samphire marine islet on E KI. They are
most often seen foraging in marine shallows over tidal flats. Its
Yellow-billed cousin known to breed in small numbers on River Red Gum Swamps
of Cygnet River for past 20 years or so. Both have increased markedly in
numbers over past 10+ years. An introduced native, the Brush Turkey, was
observed in S coast mallee at D'Estrees Bay and this is the most E
progression of its distribution since being introduced to Flinders Chase NP
on W end of Island in 1936. D'Estrees Bay being c. 90 km E of FCNP. It loves
taller mallee growing on calcareous coastal/sub-coastal dunes. Not sure what
impact it has on other KI terrestrial bird species? Rather it was not here
but too late for that it would seem. Hooded Plover have managed to fledge
off several broods already this year and Black-winged Stilts have got young
on many wetlands. Black Swans and other waterfowl such as Teal spp; Black
Duck, Australasian Shoveler, Aust Shelduck, Cape Barren Goose, Musk Duck and
Blue-billed Duck have all bred -the Black Swan having produced hundreds of
young. Most interesting of migratory waders has been arrival of small
numbers of Sanderling at four different beaches-a species we expect to see
more of but it still remains a rare visitor. Common Sandpiper at D'Estrees
Bay (4) always a treat and seemingly always keeping to rocky coast at that
location. Otherwise single birds on river estuaries mostly. I am a wildlife
guide on KI and presently have pleasure of two birdos from New Jersey, USA
on tour with me and we are chasing after all of the rarer ones (and not so
rare) KI bird species for them and managed to track down and get great views
and pics of Glossy Black Cockatoo (8) today (endemic race halmaturinus).
Other species we caught up with or about to chase include: Western Whipbird,
Southern Emu-wren, Shy Heathwren, Golden Whistler, Purple-gaped Honeyeater,
Tawny-crowned H/E; White-eared H/E, Purple-crowned Lorikeet and Blue-billed
Duck. Sounds like a good job to me! In closing, one of these American birdos
told me today that he saw a Stilt Sandpiper when birding the Cairns
Esplanade a month ago. They are on extended holiday in Aust. I don't know
this species at all, except to tell him that it was an extremely rare
visitor to OZ and was he sure of his ID. He said he was sure of his ID as it
was a species he was familiar with as it migrated annually through New
Jersey to winter further S (in S America?). What are your thoughts on this??
Oh well, time to go. Nice to catch up. Until next time. 


Cheers and Happy Birding


Chris Baxter

Kangaroo Island 

South Australia


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