Chris Watson

Birding Central Australia #20

Chris Watson

Collared Sparrowhawk Accipiter cirrocephalus

Collared Sparrowhawk gets down to nesting

This rather imposing bird of the week is the Collared Sparrowhawk. It appears almost entirely identical to the closely related Brown Goshawk but is considerably smaller. At this close range you will also notice that the Sparrowhawk has a much longer middle toe which the Goshawk does not. I’ve looked everywhere this week, but I’ve been unable to find an explanation for this longer toe. I’m sure a reader out there can enlighten me during the week.

            This picture was taken to the north of town but these birds can be seen in an around Alice Springs at a few places. There is regularly one in the trees each morning around Braitling School on northside, and at the Telegraph Station and along the Todd Riverbed you might spot one chasing down some smaller birds with its superior agility.

Sightings this week: 

-          Tawny Grassbirds – a few lucky birders have now found this out-of-towner at Ilparpa Swamp and Simpson’s Gap

-          Ruff – still lurking at the sewage ponds

-          Gallinago Snipe – a bird of uncertain species has been seen around the sewage ponds but it seems it may prove to be Swinhoe’s which is a rare visitor to Alice

-          Channel-billed Cuckoo – Neil Woolcock has spotted a huge juvenile making life very difficult for a couple of Little Crows in the Anatyeke Gardens in front of the Airport

-          Little Corellas and Long-billed Corellas behind the racecourse on Heath Road.

Remember tomorrow will be the Land for Wildlife Feral Dove Trapping Workshop at Bloomin’ Deserts Nursery on Hele Crescent. Come along at 10am and learn how to help eradicate this pest and welcome more native birds into the gardens of Alice Springs.