Chris Watson

Birding Central Australia #46

Chris Watson

Southern Boobook Ninox boobook, by guest photographer Matt Lefeuvre.

Fires, controlled and otherwise, have continued this week making Alice a smoky old town. Many might sympathise with this Southern Boobook, snapped by marine biologist Matt Le Feuvre near town last week. Matt has caught this beautiful little owl at its daytime roost, and the smoke seems to be playing havoc with his eyes.

There have been some interesting sightings from near and far this week. A visiting photographer friend turned up with some spectacular shots of 20,000 Flock Bronzewings near the Queensland border on the Plenty Highway. Alice Springs expats Terry and Jo Brennan-Kuss were up from Coober Pedy for the weekend and reported hundreds of Inland Dotterels and more Flock Bronzewings along the road to William Creek. 

A Curlew Sandpiper was identified by Barb Gilfedder among other waders at the Alice Springs sewage ponds. This is a common migrant visitor from the Arctic region, but not seen too often in Central Australia.

The big question for the week is – who has lost a Princess Parrot? Birdwatchers around Central Australia are waiting for confirmation that one of these scarce (in the wild) parrots seen on Northside, was indeed a wild bird and not an escaped aviary pet. If anyone is missing one of these birds I’d love to hear from you.

Lastly, Centralian birdos are crossing their fingers and hoping that fires to the south-east of town along the Deep Well Road haven’t pushed into a well-known population of Rufous-crowned Emu-wrens. The fires came perilously close to this area and these tiny birds are not safe yet.

A big thank you to all the regular and volunteer fire-fighters who have been working so hard in the last few weeks to protect not just people and property, but valuable habitat for our birds and other unique wildlife.   

Happy birding!