Chris Watson

Birding Central Australia #3

birding, RaptorsChris Watson

Grey Falcon Falco hypoleucos, regurgitating a pellet.

Grey falcon pairs cap a top week

Red Centre Bird Week has exceeded all expectations this year. The undisputed star of the show has been the rare and elusive Grey Falcon. The bird in this picture is in fine health and is in the process of regurgitating a pellet of bones, teeth, fur, and other indigestible remnants of its diet.

Two different pairs of these cracking birds have been sighted this week. With fewer than 1000 breeding pairs in the wild, having two of these pairs so close to Alice Springs has been icing on the cake for participants in the Twitchathon over the weekend.

It wasn’t just the Grey Falcons though - with seven teams competing to identify the most species over 24 hours, and a variety of other activities through the week, some really special birds have been seen.

Red Centre Bird Week Sightings:    

-          Visiting Victorian birder, Elizabeth Shaw, got some up-close views of a Buff-banded Rail, well outside its traditional range at the waterhole at Olive Pink

-          Mark Carter helped his team to a win in the “Best Bird” category, and eventual joint 1st place overall, with a Golden-headed Cisticola at the Sewage Ponds

-          Earlier in the week there was a flock of 12 Ground Cuckoo-shrikes reported near Hamburger Creek on the Tanami Rd

-          An immature Channel-billed Cuckoo was on Larapinta Drive 40kms west of Hermannsburg

-          Excellent numbers of Black Honeyeater in a number of spots along the road to Santa Theresa

-          A pair of Peregrine Falcons have taken up residence near the Glen Helen Resort

-          And finally, another surprise with Banded Whiteface turning up at Hamilton Downs