Migration in Willie Wagtails

To: Philip Veerman <>, "" <>
Subject: Migration in Willie Wagtails
From: brian fleming <>
Date: Sun, 14 Jun 2015 10:08:46 +0000
Here in Ivanhoe and Heidelberg, in Melbourne,  Willy Wagtails largely
disappear in winter. I have always wondered where they go.
Anthea Fleming

On 14/06/2015 4:34 PM, Philip Veerman wrote:
> Interesting to note. Most of the birds that are known to migrate
> latitudinally long distance in eastern Australia, we detect the changes
> quite obviously in the ACT. Also in the ACT we are more familiar with
> altitudinal migration than most parts of Australia. The COG Atlas, which was
> based on recording rates, shows reduced recording rates for Willie Wagtails
> in winter but this can be easily and was explained locally as altitudinal
> migration. The GBS data which are based on abundance, shows only slight
> monthly variations that does not suggest distance migration but just local
> movements and changes in behaviour, (e.g. singing frequency). So that little
> bit suggests to me that these movements of WW occur somewhere only north of
> our region in ACT. The Grey Fantail shows the same abundance changes through
> the year but far more marked between the highs and lows. The Grey Fantail
> assembles in larger numbers and probably migrates far more that the Willie
> Wagtails does.
> Philip
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Birding-Aus  On Behalf Of
> martin cachard
> Sent: Sunday, 14 June 2015 5:13 AM
> To: Lloyd Nielsen; 
> Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Migration in Willie Wagtails
> Hi Lloyd,
> Yes, that IS a very good point indeed! I was thinking the same thing when
> reading about the note someone made a day or 3 ago in that thread on here
> which Graeme Chapman started on the Pink Robin migration.
> I recall Lloyd that you and I discussed this quickly about a year ago after
> you had taken note of this migration over the years, and you had asked me
> about whether I'd noticed the same thing...
> Well, for the benefit of this important topic, I most definitely have
> noticed this too, and in exactly those parts of Qld.  I have seen this
> influx in the southern two-thirds of NT in the cooler months as well.
> But isn't it funny, or perhaps I should a shame, how we tend to forget about
> seeing such things with commonly seen species like Willie Wagtails - I'm
> just glad that people like you out there Lloyd take note of such things,
> because if you hadn't have mentioned it, then I'm absolutely positive that
> I'd never have given this a second thought!!
> Cheers for that   :-)
> martin cachard,
> trinity beach (it's still very dark here now, but I feel a nice calm
> peaceful sun-rise coming on in about 100 minutes or so...),
> cairns.
>> Date: Fri, 12 Jun 2015 14:08:47 +1000
>> From: 
>> To: 
>> Subject: [Birding-Aus] Migration in Willie Wagtails
>> There is a greater winter migration in Willie Wagtails than is realised.
>> On the vast near treeless plains in central western Queensland during
>> winter, e.g. Hughenden, Longreach, Winton, Boulia, Bedourie, there are
>> thousands of Willie Wagtails which spend the winter in basically
>> scattered low shrubbery, along fencelines and in grasslands. Driving the
>> roads, Wagtails are about every 100-200 metres. One will see several
>> hundred in a 100 km stretch.
>> When I lived at Jandowae on the Darling Downs in the 1960-70s, thousands
>> of Willie Wagtails would move in to harvested sorghum crops and spend
>> the winter in the stubble - right up until the paddocks were ploughed.
>> There must have been many thousands across those grain growing areas of
>> the Darling Downs. By about late August, they were all gone. The summer
>> population in the woodlands away from the open plains was normal - just
>> an odd pair here and there.
>> Lloyd Nielsen,
>> Mt Molloy, Nth Qld
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