Fwd: Over-wintering Yellow Wagtails in Australia? At this stage, more pr

To: New birding-aus <>
Subject: Fwd: Over-wintering Yellow Wagtails in Australia? At this stage, more properly a winter record.
From: Peter Shute <>
Date: Mon, 30 Jun 2014 18:39:19 +1000
Please see below.

Sent from my iPad

Begin forwarded message:

From: Mick Roderick <<>>
Date: 30 June 2014 6:35:55 pm AEST
To: Mike Carter <<>>, Bill 
Stent <<>>, 
Subject: Over-wintering Yellow Wagtails in Australia? At this stage, more 
properly a winter record.
Reply-To: Mick Roderick <<>>

Hi all,

Thanks for the responses and the suggestions from Niven and Mike that this 
might just be a winter record of "a Yellow Wagtail". I was a bit presumptuous I 
admit, but I was also a bit sloppy in not giving the full context in the 
original message. Before I earn the ire of anyone else, I should complete the 

In the past 'season', Yellow Wagtails started appearing at the Hexham site in 
late December (around the 21st Dec) and there were likely double figures of 
them during the early part of the year. I saw 7 birds in a short distance of 
track on the 10th Jan (including photographing 5 together). Birds were seen by 
many observers from Jan-March and I am sure there were reports into April (will 
need to check this). I do know that birds persisted on Ash Island (a now 
"unfavoured site" for them in the Hunter Estuary it seems), until early May in 
2012. Amongst the wagtails at Hexham this year were at least 2 (likely) taivana 
birds. I have collated a lot of images from observers during this time in an 
attempt to get a hold of how many birds were present, as well as confirm (or 
otherwise) the taivana birds. I am yet to reach this task on my to-do list!

Hence, there was a reason for suspecting that a bird present in June at a known 
site was one of a "group" present for several months during summer/autumn 
staying behind, as opposed to a bird that has arrived as a one-off at the wrong 
time of year. It just seems more plausible to me. Indeed you are correct Mike, 
that the bird would need to persist (and be recorded) at the site to be 
accepted as over-wintering. It is a shame that there are fewer visitors to this 
place now that the vast majority of shorebirds (including the Buff-breasted 
Sands and ~5000 Sharpies) have long gone.

On that note, and picking up on Adrian's comment, there appear to be more 
species/individuals of shorebirds present in the Hunter this winter too (more 
stints, golden plovers, curlew sands, a ruddy turnstone etc). Those who monitor 
them more closely would be better placed to say if they're overwintering or 
not, but from what I have read I think that they are. It is interesting to know 
though that similar things are being experienced elsewhere too.


On Monday, 30 June 2014 5:52 PM, Mike Carter 
<<>> wrote:

Hi Mick, Why assume that because a Yellow Wagtail is seen on 22 June in
Australia that it is necessarily overwintering? One can only make that claim
if the bird is seen throughout the winter, not on just one day. Someone else
made the same claim about another species seen recently on a single day and
although it raised my ire, I didn't complain. If it is still around in
September then it will have overwintered. Until then, this is just a winter
record, as significant as that may be.
A true case of overwintering was the Spotted Redshank found at the Eastern
Treatment Plant SE of Melbourne on 14 March 1992, that disappeared from that
site on 29 May 1992 but rediscovered on a nearby wetland on 17 June and
after moving to a number of other wetlands in the district was last seen in
the area on 14 September 1992.
Besides Yellow Wagtails, both White and Citrine have also appeared in
Australia in winter. A White Wagtail of the race leucopsis was present at
Portland, Victoria from 7 June to 23 August 1992 (I'd accept that bird
overwintered), and an adult male Citrine Wagtail was present at Goolwa,
South Australia from late May into early June 1987 when it suddenly
disappeared. Nearly two decades later we learnt that it had been shot and
prepared as a stuffed skin! It was found when a private collection was
gifted to the South Australian Museum following the demise of its owner! And
that wasn't the only rarity that he had collected!

Mike Carter
30 Canadian Bay Road
Mount Eliza  VIC 3930
Tel  (03) 9787 7136

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