Forest Wagtail at Alice Springs

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Subject: Forest Wagtail at Alice Springs
From: "Peter Marsh" <>
Date: Tue, 6 Aug 2013 22:11:55 +1000
Dear Birders,
I thought I had missed my opportunity to twitch the Forest Wagtail that was 
first reported from Alice Springs in early may when there had been no recent 
news of it. A recent blog from Chris Watson noted as an aside that the bird was 
still there. There were some award flights to the Alice on Monday so I headed 
off after checking that the was accommodation at the B&B where the bird has 
taken up residence. With award flights one has to take what is available and in 
this case it went from Sydney to Alice Springs via (who would believe it) 

On arrival at Anne and Will’s B&B  Will showed me into the back garden and sat 
me down in the shade to wait for the birds intermittent passage through the 
garden. Within 5 minutes the Forest Wagtail was doing its characteristic 
horizontal tail wag as it moved purposefully around the garden. It leapt up 
onto a small plant and hopped down with a large green caterpillar which it 
proceeded to devour avidly. A little later an injudicious moth landed beside 
the bird and was promptly devoured. After feeding actively for bout 15 minutes 
it then spend a similar period of time preening itself on the garden steps 
about 3 meters from me until a White –plumed Honeyeater swept down on the 
Wagtail and drove it away. I did not see it again that afternoon – though it 
must be said that much of that time was spent on a visit to the Alice poo farm .

On Tuesday morning the bird appeared at around 8:00 and stayed for around an 
hour until again driven away by aggression from a White-plumed Honeyeater. 
While present the Wagtail did circuits of the garden including walking along a 
concrete path no  more than a meter from where I was watching it. It seems very 
comfortable where it is but one can only assume that it will reverse its 
migration route reasonably soon given the changing seasons..
Peter Marsh 

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