Some 400 + free flying Magpie Geese arrived at Serendip, near Lara,
south-west of Melbourne in mid May.
Before about 1910 Magpie Geese were not uncommon in Victoria but due to
habitat loss and hunting they were all but wiped out until reintroduced to
Serendip Wildlife Reserve in 1964 and Tower Hill, west of Warrnambool, in
1974 (HANZAB Vol 1 part b).
Checking on Birdline, from 2004 to 2010 there were regular sightings in Vic
of from 1 to 50 birds in wetlands across the west of the state. In 2011
there was a flock of 1000 + at Yambuk, in the south-west of the state and
in 2013 a flock of 2000 + was seen at Lara. This year the flock size near
Lara is so far approx 400 birds.
Checking Birdline for NSW between 2006 and 2014 there were regular reports
of flocks of 5 to 100 birds, and some breeding took place in the north of
the state, but no flocks of 400 + were reported. I have heard that there
are large numbers seen at Macquarie Marshes but I cannot find details.
Magpie Geese in the Northern Territory are known to disperse at the end of
the wet season as wetlands start to dry but, according to HANZAB, the
movements are mainly "local".
The first of the big flocks reported in Vic coincide with the end of the
drought in Oct 2010 – March 2011 so the birds have probably arrived due to
continuing good conditions in the state.
So, to my query(ies). Where do flocks of 400 – 1000 + Magpie Geese in
Victoria come from? NSW? Qld? NT? WA? And as they appear to arrive as a
complete flock, why are there no reports from north of the Murray in the
days and weeks before they arrive in southern Victoria? Has anyone seen
flocks of 400 + Magpie Geese in NSW or SA this year and if so are they
I am fascinated that flocks of a very large black and white goose can
travel across multiple states without anyone seeing or reporting them. Is
it possible that they travel at night and only spend a limited amount of
time on the ground during the trip? Is it possible they do a non-stop
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