Chris Watson

Birding Central Australia #90 - Red-necked Stint

Chris Watson

Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis

This little bird is a Red-necked Stint. Sure, it doesn't have a very red neck at the moment, but if you Google it, you will come up with plenty of images of the same species on their northern breeding grounds, and they do sport quite a red neck. These birds, at around 13 centimetres, have just flown in to Alice Springs from somewhere in the far north of Asia. According to my very rough calculations, this constitutes a flight equivalent to around 107,692,307 body lengths.

They’re not alone in this heroic feat of migration, but they are among the smallest of their cousins who make similar journeys. Also at Alice Springs Sewage Ponds at the moment are good numbers of Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, Common Greenshanks, Marsh Sandpipers, Wood Sandpipers, and Common Sandpipers, all feeding heartily after a lengthy flight from the northern hemisphere.

Elsewhere around Alice this week there are still plenty of reports of Rainbow Lorikeets – will Alice Springs be the next conquest of this highly successful coloniser of cities around Australia? Farther afield, White-winged Trillers have been turning up in small flocks in the Tanami desert north-west of town and also to the south around Kulgera.

Western Gerygones have become regular visitors to the bird bath at the Land for Wildlife offices to the south of town and Nicola Hanrahan reports a population of Redthroat which she has identified on the outskirts of Eastside.

Orange Chats continue to be resident at the sewage ponds, and the Rainbow Bee-eaters are well and truly back – a sure sign of the approach of warmer weather.

Happy birding!