Chris Watson

Birding Central Australia #8

Chris Watson

Australasian Darter Anhinga novaehollandiae

Waterbirds hang around longer

The question flooding my email inbox this week, was from birdwatchers on the east coast asking, where are our birds?!? It’s no secret that the inland lakes and river systems have been brought back to life in spectacular fashion. This is attracting most nomadic species and many intercontinental migrants, to stay here in the outback a bit longer before dispersing toward more traditional coastal habitat.

Around the desert we are seeing many more waterbirds than usual, with cormorants, herons and ducks now a common sight in culverts and roadside ditches along the highway. The Australasian Darter pictured here was at Lake Mary Ann in Tennant Creek, where he is hanging out with 25 of his friends.

The historic rains have helped prolific breeding in some areas and much banding has been done, to help us understand our dynamic inland bird populations. Keep an eye out for birds with bands or coloured flags on their legs, take note of which legs they are on and which colour they are, and email me the details to pass on to the relevant authorities.

Lastly, Swift season is back, so keep your eyes to the skies during stormy weather for these enigmatic birds which are often seen surfing storm fronts across the outback.

Happy birdwatching!

Sightings this week: 

-          Pheasant Coucal, a genuine rarity in The Centre was seen by The Redheads, 2 km down Namatjira Dve from the eastern intersection with Larapinta Dve

-          Visiting Adelaide birder Steve Potter had some excellent close views of Dusky Grasswren out at Ormiston Gorge

-          3 Golden-headed Cisticola were very noisy at the sewage ponds in Tennant Creek

-          80 Australian Pratincole, foraging on the lovely new airstrip at Ali-Curung community

-          Nankeen Night-heron, spotted by David Hartland at the Yulara waste water facility