Notes to readers of this Blog


Thank you for dropping by to check out my blog. You will see a lot of other Blogs about birds I follow down the left hand side. I strongly encourage you to check some of these out as well, they are entertaining and I love to see birds from all over the world, I hope you do too.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

A relaxing week - road trip Alice to Camoweal to Mataranka to Alice

Spent a week with an old good friend last week. Even though I travel all the time for work, last week was more a return to the past, two mates, get in the car, decide where we are heading once the car is rolling, and wherever we end up, that's where we are going.

Our initial thoughts were to head to the warmer north. We pretty much stuck to that. Alice Springs to Camoweal to Mataranka and back to Alice Springs. Over 3000 kms, not a single second of music in the car, just waffling on and the sound of silence (apart from the car noise).

Day 1 was a cultural experience for Mick. Wycliffe Well, Devils Marbles then stop by the side of the Barkly Highway for the night, the obligatory fire-side discussions and a few ales.

Day 2 was a drive across to Camoweal in Queensland, a few stops along the way to look at trees, shrubs, plants and flowers, as well as a few thousand budgerigars. After restocking for the evening we headed out to the caves, then back to the lagoons for the night, the obligatory fire, lovely lilies in the water, a few feral pigs for company that night, and an Owlet-Nightjar just above our heads to send us off into lala land.

Day 3 was a short drive to Mataranka, and somehow we managed to arrive at Jularark campground before dark. No fire tonight as it was very warm and a bit sweaty, mozzies inside the swag, and the complaints of a 50 year old man in the morning about sore neck, back etc from the lack of practice driving, well, being in a car anyway.

Day 4 was off to the Mataranka Hot Springs. Mick was very impressed and couldn't believe it was free, and the lack of tourists at the Springs, then to Bitter Springs. The 50 year old was like my pre-teenage kids - had to drag him out of the swimming loop to go and grab some lunch. Then back in the car to head to Longreach Waterhole near Elliott. Again, no fire as it was still warm, but very enjoyable discussions well into the night (9 pm for us oldies).

Day 5 and before the sun rose the birds were actively feeding, although not in the same numbers as I had seen before. Back in the car for another cultural experience at Wycliffe Well (drinkers under the bridge) and then back to Alice in time to watch the AFL game on the TV.

A very relaxing and enjoyable week with a friend of over 35 years. A shame those times come and go so quickly. Here are a few shots from the trip.

Budgerigars on the Barkly Highway


Intermediate Egret with fish

The flowers on the lagoon

Plumed Whistling Ducks

Brown Falcon

Blue-faced Honeyeater

Australsian Darter with fish

Intermediate Egret in the late afternoon at Longreach Waterhole

Longreach Waterhole at sunset

Monday, 9 May 2016

Buntine and Victoria Highway Bird Photos

A quick trip from Lajamanu on the weekend. Another lovely time enjoying the birdlife on the Buntine Highway and parts of the Victoria Highway in the Northern Territory.

Australian Bustard

Black-breasted Buzzard Juvenile

Brown Quail crossing the Buntine Highway

Crimson Finch

Little Pied Cormorant

Northern Fantail

Pacific Baza

Pictorella Mannikan

Torresian Crow

Varied Lorikeet

A pair of White-bellied Sea-eagles

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Renner Springs, Newcastle Waters, Buchanan and Buntine Hwy bird photos

The drive between Renner Springs and Lajamanu is exciting for me as I live in Alice Springs so don't generally get to see some of the birdlife along this stretch. Apart from the Finches, there are lots of other amazing birds. Here is a sample of some of the photos I took recently.

Black-chinned Honeyeater

Common Bronzewing

Grey-fronted Honeyeater

Nankeen Night Heron

Juvenile Pied Butcherbird

Rainbow Bee-eater

Red-kneed Dotterel

White-faced heron

White-necked or Pacific Heron

Willie Wagtail

Black-breasted Buzzard

Varied Lorikeet

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Finches, Finches, Finches .... and a Mannikan

I have travelled through the land of Finches in the past couple of days. I feel like I'm living atop the Magic Faraway Tree!

The collection of Finches is a wonderful sight. Some places had one or two species, others had 6 or more. The Top End, or the southern extremities of the Top End of the Northern Territory are a bird-watcher's paradise. The Finch species are normally quite noisy, and the bird song has been everywhere. Here are a few snaps:

Gouldian Finches

Long-tailed Finches

Masked Finch

Crimson Finches

Double-barred Finch

Long-tailed, Double-barred and Zebra Finches

and a Pictorella Mannikan

Friday, 15 April 2016

Spinifex Pigeons

During my travels this week, I stopped off at a small creek crossing just north of Renner Springs. I had just passed a bloke riding his bike southwards on the Stuart Highway, have to be keen to do something like that. Just before the creek, a small flock of reddy-brown pigeon like birds flew from the creek side across to the rather dry looking other side. "Probably Spinnies" I thought to myself. As I passed the creek, I noticed a pair of Brolgas standing on the waters edge. I could also hear a Painted Finch or two nearby, so I decided to stop. I was fairly sure my chances for good photos of the Brolgas were slim. In the spot they were standing I would have to go across the "bridge", and with the cyclist approaching ... well, one crappy shot through trees was all I managed. To his credit, the cyclist apologised as he rode past. "No worries mate" I said, as I knew there would be other opportunities at some stage.

I was wondering whether or not to get back in the car when I heard the Painted Finch again. There it was, just sitting on top of a rock not far from me. I tried to bring the camera up slowly, but it flew off, in under cover. Oh well. I figured it would probably come back soon for another drink, hopefully with some mates, and decided to sit in the shade for a little while, watching the waters edge.

After 10 minutes of watching a Willie Wagtail dance above the small creek pool of water, I had pretty much decided to return to the car. Then some movement caught my eye. The Spinifex Pigeons had returned, probably 15 or so in total. They waddled across the sand, rocks and then finally down to the water for a drink. They really are a very colourful but unusual looking bird.

Spinifex Pigeon