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