Chris Watson

Birding Central Australia #15

Chris Watson

Dusky Grasswren Amytornis purnelli

King of the hill

This weeks bird was found on top of Mt Gillen to the west of town, but most of the big bird news has again centred on the swamp.

The Dusky Grasswren pictured is a major drawcard for bird tourism in Alice Springs and is common throughout the Eastern and Western MacDonnell Ranges. Most of the other members of the Grasswren family are very shy and elusive and live in much less accessible parts of the country.

In contrast, our Dusky Grasswren can be seen with minimal fuss, quite close to town. It’s a bird not much bigger than a mouse which often prefers to hop and run around among the rocks rather than fly. For all its drabness, it is a bird full of character and boldness and I’ve seen experienced birdwatchers mesmerised by its antics. Small and unassuming, but clearly one of our iconic local bird species.

But on to this weeks round up…

-          Mark Carter has had tremendous success at Ilparpa Swamp with 3 Crake species down among the reeds in one afternoon, surely some sort of record for Alice - Spotless Crake and Australian Crake with a more unusual sighting of the tiny Baillon’s Crake.

-          Also at Ilparpa a Long-toed Stint and a Ruff mixing in with other long-distance visitors.

-          The enigmatic Flock Bronzewing have made another appearance, this time well south of town, with a small flock at Salt Creek near Erldunda.

-          A Pheasant Coucal was reported just south of Aileron on the Stuart Highway

Merry Christmas to all in the desert bird watching community and fingers crossed for some special Christmas birds turning up. Thanks again for your input.

Keep those reports coming in!