Chris Watson

Birding Central Australia #19

Chris Watson

Black-shouldered Kite Elanus axillaris

Natural vermin controllers swoop in

The Black-shouldered Kite has an ethereal beauty which is hard to put your finger on. Bright yellow feet, pristine white plumage with pastel grey wings and a dab of charcoal black around the shoulders, and eyes which are a deep blood red – what an ensemble!

            The bird above was seen on Commonage Road just near the tip, but since the rains began in early 2010, these birds have been present in increasing numbers. As with so many birds in the inland they will stay while conditions suit them and then when it starts to dry out again they head back to milder, and more coastal territory. Perhaps we won’t see them again for many years.

            So enjoy them while they last folks. The best places to spot them at the moment are Ilparpa swamp where they have been collecting in flocks of 10 or more, around the airport there are regular sightings as well and of course around the Alice Springs tip.

Sightings this week: 

-          Banded Stilt, a single juvenile bird has been at the sewage ponds most of the week

-          Glossy Ibis was spotted by Barb Gilfedder on a “Morning with the Birds” outing arranged by the Alice Springs Field Naturalists Society on Sunday

-          Dusky Grasswren by the dozen on a late afternoon walk up Mt. Gillen

-          Grey-headed Honeyeater and Painted Finches on the same walk

-          Several Black-tailed Godwits have been present at the poo ponds for a while now

-          Buff-banded Rails continue to be reported near culverts and floodways in the early mornings

-          Sacred Kingfisher also seem to be a species enjoying a resurgence in The Centre with many reports each week

Thanks again, and enjoy the birds!