Notes to readers of this Blog


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.
Cheers,
Richard

Monday, 21 July 2014

Photos of Birds around the Alice Springs area

I saw these two Major Mitchell Cockatoos on a water trough. The first photo is at the start of a fluff-up and shake after a drink.







Crested Pigeon at the Water Trough


Galah at the water trough

and some from the Sewage Ponds in Alice Springs

Australian Reed Warbler

Black Kite

Black Swan

Grey Teal

Hardhead

Pink-eared Duck

Red-necked Avocet


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Connells Lagoon Conservation Reserve - A BirdLife Central Australia Branch trip

BirdLife Central Australia Branch had their first official "outing" over the weekend, starting with a stall at the Tennant Creek Show on the Friday, then heading up to Connells Lagoon Conservation Reserve. In total there were 7 of us, 5 adults and two kids, my two boys, Banjo and Moses.

After being entertained by the Australian Pratincoles and Wedge-tailed Eagles before we reached the Reserve, the first excitement of the Reserve wasn't a bird at all. One of the other two cars was in front and a very large kangaroo bounded slowly through the bush and then in front of their car. Luckily Pete saw the roo before it headed across the road and managed to avoid it. In all we saw about 10 kangaroos, large reds and a few greys.

Next it was finding a camping spot. We eventually found a dry river bed and set up camp. After a big couple of days, we all stayed together and headed to what we thought was Pictorella Swamp. Alas we couldn't find the swamp, but there were a few birds around including Golden-headed Cisticolas and Red-backed Fairy-wrens. As we headed back to the cars, we saw the Super Moon rising in the east, magically large and orange. We had a fairly early night, the next day was hopefully going to be a great day of birding and surveying.

In the morning, Lisa and Pete headed off to find the real Pictorella Swamp, whilst Chris and Sam headed off towards Avocet Waterhole. The boys and I stayed at the camp and had a kick of the footy, and did a quick 20 minute survey of the camp area. Overall the area is dry, and the birding in the main wasn't spectacular, but it was fun trampling through the bush, not knowing what we might find.

We all convened back at the camp for lunch, although the boys and I headed to where Chris and Sam had been in the hope of spotting the Australian Bustards they had seen earlier. Although we dipped on the Bustards, we did see a Rufous-throated Honeyeater, a lifer for the boys.

In the afternoon, Lisa and Pete headed west, whilst Chris, Sam, the boys and I headed to Pictorella Swamp that Lisa and Pete had found earlier. We managed to see Golden-headed Cisticolas, Variegated Fairy-wrens, Zebra Finches and Budgerigars but couldn't find the Pictorella Mannikens Lisa and Pete had seen that morning. All 7 of us then met at Connells Lagoon in the hope we would see some Flock Bronzewing. This time, we were in luck. The FBs came in small parties up to 20 and then flew off after landing and walking down to the water's edge for a drink. It was difficult to estimate exactly how many as they seemed to be coming for a drink, heading off and then circling back. We could see Swamp Harrier in the distance, as well as Hoary-headed Grebes on the lagoon and some Grey Teal as well.

Later that night I took the boys spot-lighting and we saw a couple of Barn Owls and an Owlet Nightjar.

The next morning was pack up time and heading back towards the Barkly Homestead or Alice Springs. As we were getting the camp cleaned up, we had a visit by 5 or 6 Black-chinned Honeyeaters, the Golden-backed variety which was a nice addition to an ever-growing list.

Connells Lagoon Conservation Reserve would be a great birding destination after the rains and before it dries out too much. Below is a link to the Parks and Wildlife Commission NT webpage:
Connells Lagoon Conservation Reserve fact sheet
If you are intending to head there, make sure you are fully self sufficient as there are no facilities, except the serenity of Barkly Tablelands.

Some Birder shots to start with.






Flock Bronzewings at Connells Lagoon




Black-chinned Honeyeater (Golden-backed)

Grey Fantail

Australian Pratincole

 Super Moon 

Wedge-tailed Eagle


Tuesday, 1 July 2014

A cute Pink-eared Duckling along with mum, and others from the Alice Springs Water Treatment Plant

It has been a while since I visited our local ponds, and the birdlife seem to be enjoying the refuge as the outlying areas dry out. A surprise camein the form of a fluffy little Pink-eared Duckling. I walked up to a corner of a pond and was surprised by the slow movement of an adult Pink-eared Duck. Soon I realised why when this ball of fluff sauntered out from the protection of the bank, chasing the adult. It was curious to watch how the adult kept its distance until both were well into the middle of a rather large pond. I was glad there were no raptors hanging around during those minutes as it would have been awful to see this little one be taken.

Pink-eared Duckling

 Pink eared Duck


White-winged Fairy-wren



Fairy Martin followed by Tree Martin
nice of them to sit in the same position - makes it easy to identify and compare


Another pairing, Little Corella followed by Long-billed Corella


Yellow-rumped Thornbill

Friday, 27 June 2014

Redthroats at Alice Springs Telegraph Station

I have managed to see Redthroats once before, but didn't manage to get decent photos. I had been told that they were hanging around the Telegraph Station and Mark Carter was able to give me more specific directions. Thank you Mark. Going up the track, I was expecting nothing as most of my experiences of targetting specific species have turned up zilch, but on this occasion, I managed to firstly hear them (I had re-checked their call from my Pizzey and Knight app on the iPad in the car), then see them, then get some half decent photos. Not a bird I see lots of photographs of, so hope you enjoy. The male kept its distance a bit more but the female was very obliging. The male is in the first couple of photos with the red throat, the female doesn't have this feature.

Redthroat





Thursday, 26 June 2014

Australian Pelicans flock at Longreach Waterhole, Northern Territory

Travelling to and from Darwin from Alice Springs provided an opportunity to visit a favourite birding spot - Longreach Waterhole, near Elliott, NT. In the past I have incorrectly called this Lake Woods. On previous visits I have been able to watch Little Black Cormorants in their thousands fly in to the Waterhole early in the morning and feed. This time it was Australian Pelicans that were the main feeding bird, although there were still lots of Little Black Cormorants, as well as Whistling and Black Kites, Egrets and Royal Spoonbills and a few other varieties. But the main action came from the Pelicans.

The waterhole is about 11 kms from the Stuart Highway along a dirt road. It is accessible for caravans, but very slowly. There is now a sign on the Stuart Highway, just north of Elliott. his hasn't always been the case. During certain times of the year, the road is inaccessible due to flooding, but when it is safe to travel, the location is well worth the detour if you have the time. Elliott is roughly half way between Alice Springs and Darwin.

it was interesting to watch the Pelicans working together to herd the fish and then duck dive. It is amazing to think how many fish must be there to feed such a huge appetite. At some point, the Pelicans will move on, but while it is happening, it would be well worth a visit.

Australian Pelican










Royal Spoonbill






Little Black Cormorant