Chris Watson

Birding Central Australia #96 - Budgerigar

Chris Watson

Budgerigar Melopsittacus undulatus

The desert is heating up and drying out. At times like these, clever desert dwellers make their way towards known reliable water sources around the rangelands… even if that happens to be a sewage treatment facility in Alice Springs. Budgerigars have been reported in increasingly large flocks all over The Centre in recent weeks, and this mob were part of a flock of around 1000 birds seen drinking at the sewage ponds.

Maintained by Power & Water, the ponds in Alice represent the largest expanse of open water for hundreds of kilometres in any direction, and as a result, birds flying over will often be attracted to stop in for a drink. This is also why you read so much in this column about bird sightings around this facility; most of the birders around The Centre spend at least a couple of hours here from time to time. Like the birds themselves, the birders know that this is one of the best desert birding locations in the country, and a serious contender for the best worldwide. By a friendly arrangement with Power & Water Corporation, birders and visitors are able to access the ponds, and view the extensive population of resident waterfowl and chase down many rarities and migrants, by completing an online induction.

As well as the spectacular flocks of Budgies and Cockatiels this week, there have been a few reports of Pied and Black Honeyeaters around town, including at Olive Pink Botanic Garden. These are a couple of nomadic species that travel wherever the food and water take them, and are usually pretty uncommon around town. 3 Pelicans and a lone Latham’s Snipe were spotted by Ange and Jesse at the sewage ponds and wrap up another blinder of a week for Centralian birding.

Happy birding!