Driving along my now favourite stretch of road, the Namatjira-Kintore Link Rd, which runs between Glen Helen and Haasts Bluff/Papunya, I pulled over to heed the call of nature. As I headed towards some trees a little off the road, I noticed there were others already in residence - 8 Banded Lapwings. I had only just been reading about their habitat the previous night as I was fairly sure they should be around somewhere, and sure enough, Pizzey and Knight stated they tended towards the small shrubs and trees during the day. Unfortunately for me, they had chosen my spot. I slowly walked back to the car, grabbed the camera and then took some photos:
looked a secluded spot for a comfort stop except for the 8 incumbents!
I put the camera back in the car and headed across the road to another group of trees. This time Banded Whiteface were the initial culprits, again headed back to the car to grab the camera (was I ever going to get the relief I was now starting to need desperately?) but this time they had flown well back into the scrub, not to be seen again. This time, with camera around my neck I started the process I had originally intended when I heard the "chk chk" almost at my feet! Hands up to the camera and I saw a tail at the back of some spinifex. "What the...?" what was going on? I had seen the Bourke's Parrots early morning about 200 metres back down the road last week and now Banded Lapwings, Banded Whiteface and whatever this "chk chk" bird was. I stood still for about 5 minutes, being checked out by a Willie Wagtail who had a nest nearby, and a Grey-headed Honeyeater, followed closely by a Brown Honeyeater. I was determined to keep my gaze on the spinifex bush about 10metres ahead of me where I had seen the tail. Eventually I could stand it no longer. No, I didn't answer the call of nature, but instead moved forward to the spinifex bush. "Chk chk" there it was again, but ahead and to the left about 5 metres this time. I was about to move again when up it popped! A Spinifexbird, sat beautifully on a fallen exposed branch. Camera up and ..... (zoom out... zoom in.... zoom out.... zoom in and focus, just as the bird moved. Oh I long for my new gear!
Not wanting to continue the chase and disturbing the poor thing, I decided to finally relieve my now over-extended bladder, and headed back to the car, kicking aside the Crimson Chats, Masked Woodswallows, Black-faced Woodswallows, Australasian Pipits and the ever-present Willie Wagtail who had all landed between me and the car.
As I sat in the car I wondered what the birding will be like in another month as everything dries out and they all start to congregate around the remaining water holes. I can't wait!