Chris Watson

Birding Central Australia #10

Chris Watson

Diamond Dove Geopelia cuneata, with Zebra Finches Taeniopygia guttata.

A gem of a bird

On the subject of common birds, they don’t get much more common than Diamond Doves at the moment. Nonetheless, these stunning birds were a bit tricky to find going back a year or so. Their current numbers are entirely due, again, to our fantastic rainfall which is beginning to approach the all-time record.

The rain this week has made bird-watching a bit difficult for a few visiting birders, but when the rain eased there were plenty of pools about for scenes like this, where the dove is joined by another common denizen of the desert, the Zebra Finch.

With the rain continuing it seems many more lurking waterbirds are making their way cross-country to take advantage of the profuse vegetation around The Centre. In addition to the reports below, I’ve had quite a few reports of unusual waders, crakes, and quails being seen. I’ll get back to you on those once I’ve had a better look.

‘Til then, Happy Birdwatching.

Sightings this week: 

-          Peregrine Falcon are being seen regularly now in and around Heavitree Gap as the pair nesting here seem to have fledged their youngster

-          Painted Finches in flocks up to 22 birds have been seen along the road to Santa Theresa (when it hasn’t been underwater)

-          Grey Honeyeater, a single bird seen on the ridgetop walk at John Hayes Rockhole in the Eastern Macs, on a very wet Sunday.

-          Straw-necked Ibis in a flock of 40 just past Native Gap on the Stuart Highway north of town

-          not really a bird sighting, but frogs are everywhere at my house this week, making a racket in the gutters and downpipes. Send me your photos and we’ll see if we can establish how many species there are around town.