Tuesday, 8 January 2019

A Big Aussie Twitch - Citrine Wagtail

I've been lucky to spend Christmas and New Year with my friends Dave and Sue in Adelaide this year and the day after Boxing Day whilst enjoying watching India stuffing Australia in the cricket Dave got a message from a birder with a report of a Citrine Wagtail in the town of Whyalla, about four and a half hours to the west of Adelaide. Now this is a serious Australian MEGA, with only 4 previous (accepted) records, one other of these records was also in South Australia.

Once we got a back of camera photograph of the bird, and confirmed the record was current etc we all jumped in the truck and so started my final twitch of 2018! 

Five hours after setting off from Adelaide we stepped out of the vehicle and right into an oven. It was baking hot, 45oC and blowing a gale (so felt a lot hotter). We set off out in different directions around the wetland composed of several small waterbodies hoping to find the bird. After a short while of searching the various pools Dave and Sue located the bird on one of the back pools. After a few nervous minutes after it had vanished before I could get across from where I was, the bird suddenly appeared and we then spent the next hour or so enjoying great views of the 5th for Australia.

The Citrine Wagtail was a very worn 1st-winter bird and seemed happy enough finding plenty of food along the lake shore. It would occasionally fly about and was heard calling several times.

5th for Australia Citrine Wagtail. 

We had a nice selection of other birds whilst looking for the wagtail, such as Australian Spotted Crake (pic below) and Wood Sandpiper.

Australian Spotted Crake

After grabbing some dinner in Whyalla we drove back to Adelaide, arriving back home near mid-night. What an awesome and exciting day! Huge thank you to Dave and Sue for all their driving! (and of course for having me for Christmas and New Year!)

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