Chris Watson

Birding Central Australia #1

birdingChris Watson

Rainbow Bee-eater Merops ornatus.

Can you feel that twitch?

The Rainbow Bee-eaters are back! Twitchathon time is almost upon us and these welcome omens of warmer weather are here to colour our environment.  With the rain continuing, the country is bursting with life and we have a wealth of waterbirds being spotted around the town.

Notable Sightings this week:           

- large swarms of grasshoppers are supporting huge flocks of 1000+ Masked Woodswallow on the Stuart Highway north of town and along the Tanami Rd.

- swampy areas between Native Gap and Aileron are supporting White-necked Heron and flocks of 20+ Straw-necked Ibis.

- A Glossy Ibis at the sewage ponds in Alice reported by visiting Victorian birdos Paul Dodd, Ruth Woodrow, and Tim Dolby.

- Great Cormorant at Taylor’s Creek

- Cattle Egret seen regularly at the sewage ponds in Alice.

-  immature Great-crested Grebe at Lake Mary-Anne in Tennant Creek.

-  White-winged Black, and Whiskered Tern both seen in the last week at the sewage ponds in Alice.

- Ground Cuckoo-shrike seen along the Santa Theresa Road and in good numbers along the Kintore Rd.

- a lone Black Falcon continues to be seen along the Santa Theresa Rd immediately behind the airport.

There are a few unconfirmed reports of Princess Parrot beginning to appear near the roads around Watarrka, so keep your eyes peeled. The Scarlet-chested Parrots along the road to Docker River have not been seen since the last report over two weeks ago.

Remember to register your team for the Twitchathon and get involved in this great event to kick off Red Centre Bird Week 2010. For details visit the Alice Springs Desert Park website at


Send your sightings for next week’s bulletin to

Until next week, Happy Bird Watching!