Chris Watson

Birding Central Australia #84 - Spinifex Pigeon

Chris Watson

Spinifex Pigeon Geophaps plumifera

It’s been a freezing week to be out birding. One of the most stunning pigeons anywhere in the world, this Spinifex Pigeon was braced against the cold wind with fluffed-up feathers and a quiet spot in the sun. These birds are still seen in good numbers around the rim walk at Kings Canyon, and most rocky hilltops around Alice where there is abundant spinifex growth.

The Princess Parrot sightings at Newhaven Sanctuary have now dwindled away and the birds appear to have left the area. Where they have gone is anyone’s guess, but we have been treated to groups of over one hundred birds at times so one thing is for certain – they’re out there somewhere, so keep your eyes peeled when you’re out and about.  On the way back from Newhaven I had plenty of Dusky Grasswrens and Spinifex Pigeons in the Siddeley Range by the side of the road. Crimson Chats and Banded Whiteface were very common throughout the area, and there were a few small flocks of Ground Cuckoo-shrikes as well. The highlight for Newhaven visitors this week was a pair of Grey Falcons seen over the southern portion of the sanctuary.

Back in Alice, a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo has been seen hanging about with a flock of Major Mitchell’s Cockatoos along Bullen Road. This big white cockie is not a species that naturally occurs in The Red Centre, and this bird had a metal leg band, so has somebody lost a pet?

Farther afield, three Bustards have been seen in north-west Victoria this week, which is the first time that species has been seen in that part of the country in many years. More evidence I suppose of the continuing fine conditions inland.

Happy birding!