Magpie Geese in Victoria query

To: Jenny Spry <>
Subject: Magpie Geese in Victoria query
From: David Clark <>
Date: Wed, 4 Jun 2014 21:16:50 +1000

Goose Lagoon near Yambuk got its name from the flocks of Magpie Geese that
lived there.

I just read through Harry Frith's Magpie Goose chapter and he doesn't
mention their travel habits.  However, he does mention fifteen irruptions
to southern Australia between 1888 and 1967, each following droughts in the
Northern Territory.  Interestingly, he discusses the attraction of
concentrations of geese and the tendency of groups to follow other groups
to night time roosts.



On Wed, Jun 4, 2014 at 5:19 PM, Jenny Spry <> wrote:

> Hi all,
> 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
> still there?
> 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
> flight?
> cheers
> Jenny
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