Chris Watson

Birding Central Australia #5

birdingChris Watson

Australian Pratincole Stiltia isabella.

An elegant little bird and a long distance champ

The migrants have arrived!

A variety of the migratory birds that desert us during the colder months are arriving back in The Centre in good-sized flocks. Next week, I’ll take a closer look at our long-distance migratory champions, but the star of this week is a migratory bird, within Australia.

The magnificent Australian Pratincole spends the cooler months in the northern reaches of the continent and then makes its way southward for the summer months. This one was giving me some great views at the sewage ponds here in Alice. This bird is in full breeding plumage with bill and gape flushed bright red, and a rich, chestnut brown developing on the breast.

An elegant little bird, it has earned itself a swag of different names due to its distinctive foraging behaviour, including; Australian Roadrunner, Australian Courser, Arnhem Land Grouse, and Swallow-plover to name but a few.

Keep an eye out for more of these birds turning up along roads as we head into the summer months. The continuing fine weather has produced some great bird sightings this week, and here are just some of the highlights.

Sightings this week: 

-          80 Plumed Whistling-ducks at swamps 40kms along Tanami Rd

-          2 Australian Bustards near turn-off to M’bunghara community on the Gary Junction Highway

-          A single Flock Bronzewing 2kms past Kunoth Bore on the Tanami Rd

-          A Pacific Golden Plover in a mixed flock with lots of other waders including Sharp-tailed and Wood Sandpipers, at the sewage ponds

-          3 immature Banded Stilt have appeared at the sewage ponds, possibly from the historic breeding that has occurred this year at Lake Torrens in SA