Chris Watson

Birding Central Australia #2

birdingChris Watson

Eastern Barn Owl Tyto javanica

Owl makes a meal of road rodent

This week’s magical bird encounter occurred on a late evening drive home from Glen Helen. The plentiful supplies of grass seeds around The Centre have brought with them a healthy population of local rodents. Namatjira Drive was overrun with scurrying mice as I drove along on Tuesday night. On three occasions I had to pull up to let an owl finish its meal on the road before I could pass. This Eastern Barn Owl flew into a roadside tree and decided to stay for a while to enjoy the spotlight. Keep your eyes peeled for more night birds as the warm nights approach and rodent numbers increase.

Sightings this week: 

- 10 Australian Pelicans in formation flying over Ryan Well to the north of town

- Spotted Harrier continue to be seen in good numbers, particularly in open areas north of town

- Australian Pratincole at the sewage ponds in Alice Springs

- Small flocks of Scarlet-chested Parrots seen just prior to road closure, 80kms past Kata Tjuta on the road to Docker River

- a pair of the very rare Grey Falcon seen close to the north west of town

- another rarity, Grey Honeyeater reported from a number of different sites in the vicinity of Hamilton Downs, owing no doubt, to the continuing eremophila blooms in this area

- 8 Oriental Plovers, the first for the year, at the Coober Pedy sewage ponds

Best of luck to all the teams heading out to the Desert Park for the start of the Twitchathon at 6pm today. I’ll see you all at the start line.

Until next week, keep your eyes to the skies!