Motacilla Wagtails on the Atherton Tablelands

To: "Birding_Aus" <>
Subject: Motacilla Wagtails on the Atherton Tablelands
From: "Alan Gillanders" <>
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2014 22:31:47 +1000
This afternoon there were possibly three species of Motacilla wagtail opposite 
the Tinaburra boat ramp to where the Red-rumped Swallows have not returned. I 
saw Grey Wagtail and Yellow Wagtail well and a  photo (not taken today) of one 
with a white vent so presumably Citrine Wagtail. At least 13 birds present and 
maybe as many as 16. I saw 11 on the wing at one time. They are feeding in the 
ankle to calf high grass with lots of rocks. Of the birds I saw there was a 
range of plumages including what I take to be two different races of Yellow 
Wagtail in breeding plumage. The white wing bars on the Grey Wagtails were 
obvious on at least two birds in flight and one bird was the typical non 
breeding, yellow white yellow below. One bird looking quite young and brownish 
was most likely a Yellow. I may have also seen a female Citrine Wagtail but 
poor views and lack of familiarity with the species preclude my claiming it.

I canoed there with Peter Tuck of Tablelands Adventure Guides along with Steve Murphy and 
Rachael. Peter has been seeing these birds for two weeks now with a peek in 
numbers of approximately 20 – 25. Peter is able to lead canoeing or kayaking 
visits to the spot which is on flood margin reserve. This is the best way to 
approach the birds as one can get quite close into the rocky shore. We landed 
and walked towards the birds but they became increasing nervous at our 
approach. The weather was shocking when we were closest to the birds so I did 
not pull my little camera out at that time. I have no commercial interest in 
Peter’s business but do recommend him as a professional leader.

There was one Brown-backed Honeyeater in the area too.

Alan's Wildlife Tours
2 Mather Road
Yungaburra 4884

Phone 07 4095 3784
Mobile 0408 953 786
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