Chris Watson

Birding Central Australia #65 - Splendid Fairy-wren

Chris Watson

Splendid Fairy-wren Malurus splendens

During the extreme heat of the week just gone, the office bird bath has been getting plenty of action. I was lucky enough to catch this Splendid Fairy-wren admiring his own reflection, and who could blame him!? This is the male bird in breeding plumage looking... splendid.

You might get a few of these tiny birds in your yard if you have some good thick shrubs. They like the very dense scrub for nesting and shelter. Of course, it will also help if you have a cat-free yard.

Other interesting garden visitors at the moment are the Pheasant Coucals that continue to be reported in a few spots around Eastside and Braitling. These birds are a bit vagrant this year and would normally only be found well north of Tennant Creek.

Another interesting northern vagrant of late has been a White-bellied Sea-eagle that was reported by Richard Waring at Newcastle Waters. While this species is known to venture inland along river systems, Newcastle Waters is a long way inland for what is primarily a coastal bird.

Jesse Carpenter reports that a small population of Rainbow Lorikeets persists in Larapinta and they are still regularly reported in the gums on the old Melanka site. Long-billed Corellas, remnants of an escaped aviary population are still being seen among Little Corellas, usually around Ross Highway, the Sewage Ponds, and Lasseter’s Casino grounds.  The population of Major Mitchell’s Cockatoos in Ilparpa Valley seems to be doing very well with flocks of up to 15 birds reported feasting on the paddy melons that are common through that part of town.

Thanks for all the reports and the many great photos that I’ve received this week. With a sprinkle of rain and some cooler temperatures we might see a bit more bird activity in coming weeks.

Happy birding!