Chris Watson

Birding Central Australia #95 - Brown Falcon

Chris Watson

Brown Falcon Falco berigora

The return of some warmer weather recently, has seen an increase in reptile activity across The Centre. Where there are reptiles, there will be animals that eat reptiles, and near the top of that list is the Brown Falcon. Long legs for running after terrestrial prey, and for holding snakes and biting lizards at a safe distance, are a characteristic feature of this common raptor.  These birds are nesting at the moment, and will usually refurbish the abandoned nest of a crow or kite, rather than building their own. In an interesting departure from this, one pair has recently been discovered near Alice Springs raising their young in a hollow tree.

The Brown Falcon is not the only exciting hunter getting seen at the moment. Many birds-of-prey are raising young, and will be busy hunting around town to feed hungry mouths. Visiting Top End birder Mick Jerram, was treated to the spectacle of a Peregrine Falcon making a meal of a young Whiskered Tern, while a Black Falcon watched on from a neighbouring tree branch. An increase in the number of large flocks of Budgerigars around town, has seen some spectacular aerial hunting action over Colonel Rose Drive. A pair of Brown Goshawks have been doing their best to round up the amoebic flocks each morning with variable rates of success.

While Alice Springs plays host to the many Masters’ Games participants, the sewage ponds have been hosting some visitors of their own. Three Australian Pelicans have been around this week, and at least 2 Glossy Ibis are calling the place home for now. The wader watching continues to be good with Common Greenshank, Red-necked Stint, and hordes of Sharp-tailed Sandpipers in very colourful plumage, all reported through the week.

Happy birding!