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.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

The Buchanan and Buntine Highways - birds galore

Leaving Dunmarra on the Stuart Highway, you get the feeling you are all alone, heading off into the wilderness. Red dirt roads, roadside foliage covered in the red dust, unattended roadside burnoffs, and birds, lots of birds. I drove past trees that had 50 Black Kites that were sitting near the top of the trees until I drove past, at which point they alighted to the sky in 5s and 10s. Galahs in their hundreds, munching away on the roadside vegetation. Small birds flitting across the road in front of the car, Woodswallows diving and then soaring as the car approached.

I have already written about the Finches and the Brolgas. But there were so many other birds. Blue-winged Kookaburras in twos and threes flew across the road at tree-top level, different habitats providing a chance to just sit and listen from the car, mostly birds I could identify by call, but some I couldn't, even if the calls were vaguely familiar. I find this a good test of listening skills and then later identify birds I'd heard when I come upon them in a nearby (sometimes 200 kms away) location.

It is a 200 km stretch along the Buchanon Highway to Top Springs, all dirt. Thankfully the road was in a good condition, although there were a few washouts that desperately need a road crew to go out and fix. About 60kms before Top Springs, the long stretches of fairly straight road and quite heavily treed habitat gives way to much more sparsely treed, small hills. And then a large dam, with cows, and then more cows, and then lots of cows. From there the road winds through small hills and gullies and creeks, most with a small amount of water, until finally the signs of civilization appear once more - just them, signs. And finally you hit the bitumen where the Buchanan and Buntine Highways intersect.

Along the bitumen from Top Springs, about 160 kms south west, until just before Kalkarindji, and the turnoff to Lajamanu. Some of this stretch of road I think is some of the most dangerous corners and crests in Australia. There are not many places I've driven where the road is just wider than a truck, with very high spear grass on both sides of the road, coming over a crest and a corner at the same time. The speed limit is 110 km/h, but I am generally going less than 40 around and over these parts as if someone is coming the other way, you don't have time to think, just dive off into the scrub, so 40 km/h at least gives me a tiny bit longer to react.
Having said that, the creek and river crossings along this highway are yet more birding delights. And, if a car does happen to pass you, you aren't covered in dust. Absolute bonus!

And so to the birds, or more specifically, the bird photos. Below are a selection of photos from my journeys across these two highways. It was most enjoyable for me, hope you enjoy the photos.

Just 2 of the many Black Kites

Brown Goshawks

Spotted Harrier

4 of the 5 Dingoes in this group


Bar-shouldered Dove

Crimson Finch

Great Bowerbird

Grey-fronted Honeyeater

Paperbark Flycatcher

Rainbow Bee-eaters

Rufous-throated Honeyeater (adult then juvenile)

The bizarre-eyed Varied Lorikeet

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