30 November, 2010

Central Australian visit, birds

Birds breeding all over the place in the green outback of Australia in late 2010. Budgies in pairs and small flocks were seen almost everywhere and most tree hollows were occupied.

This Western Bowerbird maintains his bower near the picnic shelter in the Olive Pink Botanic Gardens where members of the public are not only welcome to enjoy the wonders of the flora of Central Australia but also the use the library and computer.
Grey-crowned Babblers were the most commonly seen but I did find three White-browed Babblers but this one was not excited about seeing me. It opened its eye, seemed to sigh and then go back to sleep. It was the middle of the day but a cool, cloudy one.
White-winged Fairywrens are normally very shy, flighty little birds and this one was no exception. It would pop up for a few seconds and then back down into the bush.
This male Splendid Fairywren was feeding young in a nest and not happy about my standing near his flight path. At one stage he hopped onto a log, stuck out his moustaches and yelled at me, most insistently to go away, so I did.
Spinifex pigeons are dapper little birds reminding me of the Hercule Poirot as played by David Suchet, full of self-importance a mincing walk and a condescending air.
Slatey-backed Thornibills proved hard to track down and then as is often the way I saw a number of groups on the Tanami Road and then at Charles's River.
Australian Ringnecks were very approachable in the towns and in the desert.
One Red-capped Robin jumped up on a rock close to me but would you believe it, I was changing the memory card in the camera at the time.
Like most Australian kingfishers,the Red-backed does not fish.
Crimson Chats were seen on every day as far as I can remember but not once did I get a clear photo! On one occasion on was sitting with a Black Honeyeater when an immature Crested Bellbird jumped between them and frightened them away.
Chestnut-rumped Thornbills were in good numbers in the hills east of Alice Springs. Often they formed mixed flocks with other thornbills and Red-throats.
Black Winged Stilt at the Alice Springs poo ponds. Access is via a key from Power and Water in the Todd Mall. The $30 deposit is fully refundable. Ask for a key not a permit as that only confuses the lovely ladies on the front desk.
Black-tailed Native Hens and Black Swans were among the hundreds of water birds at the sewage works.

29 November, 2010

Centralian Visit 2

Here is my navigator, cook and love of my life beside the Lasseter Highway. We did get some sunshine and clear skies as you can see.
Lake Amadeus to the north and Mt Conner to the south from the Lasseter Highway.

Mt Conner from the west.
The school and houses at Murputja where we were based for three nights. One of the teachers was working away at another school and kindly allowed us the use of his house.
Grasses were in flower everywhere. Some of the spinifex had flower and seed heads over my head.
Red sand dune country with spinifex and Grevillea.
Every River Redgum had a pair of nesting budgerigars and often Galahs, Cockatiels and Australian Ringnecks.
North of the Gunbarrel Highway are the Musgrave Ranges.

28 November, 2010

Centralian Visit 1

We flew out of Cairns heading for Alice Springs. Then we flew back into Cairns. A minor problem but one that could not easily be rectified in the Alice so we were late flying in grabbed a vehicle and groceries for four days and hit the road.
East MacDonnell Ranges are like a geomorphology lesson.

I was heading into the desert to work with the kids from Murputja Anangu School. Their teacher, David Hartland had inspired them with bird watching. This visit was in return for their visiting me in the rainforests and swamps of north Queensland.
A hard day at school. The kids keep records of their sightings and forward those to the Birds Australia Atlas.

As we headed south we were impressed by how green the desert was.
Erldunda was our first night's stop. Frogs were calling loudly from the little waterhole across the road but proved very elusive.