Chris Watson

Birding Central Australia #54

Chris Watson

White-necked Heron Ardea pacifica

Waterbirds have made up the bulk of the interesting sightings this week around The Centre. The species in the picture is very common at the moment and can be found lurking in many roadside culverts and ephemeral pools. The White-necked Heron is never an uncommon bird, but at the moment is being reported much more regularly. You can pick this bird from the White-faced Heron, also common, by the longer, white neck, and the huge white spots covering the carpal (wrist) joints on the leading edge of the wing.

I’ve been down in the south of WA for most of the week but on the way down, there were a few interesting records. Welcome Swallows continue to breed at Erldunda Roadhouse which is the northernmost population I know of. Crimson Chats were very common along the Lasseter Highway and three Glossy Ibis were at the Mt. Ebenezer Roadhouse. This species has also been turning up at the poo ponds lately where it has been seen with Black-tailed Godwits, Marsh Sandpipers, and other migrant visitors from the Arctic north. Also at the poo ponds, Australian Pratincole have been seen in increasing numbers lately and we are surely due for an Oriental Pratincole any day now.

Still on water birds, Addo reports Black Swans making themselves at home at Boggy Hole where there have also been Pelicans in recent weeks. Bob Read reports that there have been Grey-headed Honeyeaters coming in to feast on blooms in his backyard which is a very unusual record for suburban Alice Springs. Ilparpa Swamp has had some more water and Spotless, Australian, and Baillon’s Crakes have all been reported in the area through the week.

Thanks for all the great reports folks; it’s getting interesting out there!