Sunday, May 5, 2013

And the week belongs to......Central Australia! 1st Mainland Forest Wagtail for OZ!

Well, its not the Top End, but if what has turned up in a backyard in Alice Springs is not a reminder that we should be checking our own back yards regularly and enthusiastically, nothing ever will be.

Local birding Guru and Ornathologist, Chris Watson was called around to a friends backyard to identify a strange little wagtail and found after some deliberation...a FOREST Wagtail (Dendronanthus indicus)!!!!

A long way from his breeding grounds in East Asia or his winter haunts in the Orient (sometimes in Sumatra and Java but more commonly known I believe further North), this little fellow has obviously been blown off course, BUT, to end up in our countries Red Centre instead of our Northern Coast, just beggers belief and highlights that; despite how much we think we know, there's much that we don't.

I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see him and, I am closer to most others in the country (14hrs by road) so a quick trip down and back was possible.

The finders; Will and Anne McCormack were so welcoming and were keen for all to share in this phenomenal visit to their beautifully gardened suburban home. Thankyou!!

A little wait and he showed up, being harassed by local species, so flighty at first, but when all was settled down, he was most accommodating and enjoyed strolling through the well placed thicket and terraces and found time to feed on local delights like this cricket.

More can be read on this bird at   Thanks to Chris for his  efficient reporting and dissemination of information.

While I was down there I thought it diligent to have a look at the famous waste treatment plant (as Freckled ducks had been reported there a little while ago (NT first for me).  Chris and Will came along (in fact, I came along as Will kindly provided access).  Unfortunately, no Frecklies, but a nice visit anyway, with a male Chestnut Teal (now seemingly a resident), some Great Egrets, 600 or so Pink-eared Ducks, Spinifex Pigeon and some Fairywrens and Orange Chats.


 The long drive back north gave me the little afforded opportunity to come by some Ground Cuckoo-shrikes. Although present in the Top End, just not very common, so I was thankful for this sighting at dusk on the roadside.

 I think I will end this post by highlighting just how amazing the Northern Territory is as a Birding destination.  Even more rewarding is the opportunity to link the Top and the Centre together by either, flying in to Alice Springs OR Darwin, hiring a car and starting the exciting drive.  Just don't be too casual, as this post accentuates, "you never know what might drop in"

Good Birding


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