Notes to readers of this Blog


Thank you for dropping by to check out my blog. You will see a lot of other Blogs about birds I follow down the left hand side. I strongly encourage you to check some of these out as well, they are entertaining and I love to see birds from all over the world, I hope you do too.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Brown Falcon with Prey, White-fronted Honeyeater, Crimson Chat, Centralian Blue-tongue and other photos around Nyirripi

Late yesterday afternoon I was watching a few of the water birds at the local Sewage Ponds at Nyirripi when a Brown Falcon arrived clutching some freshly caught prey.

This morning I ventured out early to see what was around some of the more cleared areas of Emu Bore Road. The sunrise was pretty spectacular.

A Chiming Wedgebill was singing its heart out as the sun rose, but as hard as I tried I couldn't locate it. Competing for the early morning noisiest bird was a Crested Bellbird, but again it stayed beyond sight. The White-fronted Honeyeaters and Crimson Chats were much more accommodating, if a little shy. Once the sun had broken over the horizon, birds came from everywhere out of the grasses and the few trees around. Willie Wagtails, Grey-headed Honeyeaters, Singing and Spiny-cheeked Honeyeaters as well as a few Black-faced Woodswallows. I tried to get as close as I could to the White-fronted Honeyeaters as they have proved elusive in the past, below are some of the better shots, as well as a Crimson Chat that came very close to the car just as I headed back to the Community to start work.

Finally for this post, yesterday afternoon I went scouting for a spot for this morning along Emu Bore Road, and was very happy to spot this Centralian Blue-tongue on the road.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Peregrine fun, Buzzard flyby, Budgies and Cockatiels - great start to the day at Nyirripi

As I was driving towards the local ponds at Nyirripi, I was so busy watching the flock of budgies ahead I nearly joined the front of the work car with the front of one of the local bulls. Fortunately, the bull stayed on the side of the road.

The largish flock of Budgies was circling the ponds, growing and shrinking, about 200 in total, so not huge. The Cockatiels came not long after and they were about 30 in number. The Black-breasted Buzzard glided across the outskirts of the ponds, scattering everything in panic. Soon things settled down and the Cockatiels landed in a large leafless tree behind me. Eventually they started to squawk and headed for their usual circling, calling to one another. Sometimes I do wonder if most of them are saying "can't we just land and drink!"

After circling for quite a few minutes, they all scattered, budgies, cockatiels, crested pigeons, diamond doves and zebra finches. As I had seen the Peregrine two weeks ago with similar panic, I figured it was around. It swooped in low then up high and back down again, landing on the other side of the ponds. It took off, seemingly without any food, and headed back to its perch beyond my eyesight. All in all, a lovely start to the day. Here are some of the photos.

Peregrine Falcon

Budgerigars and Cockatiels

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Early morning birding action at Nyirripi

Before the sun peeked through the shrubs, the Peregrine had taken station on top of a lamp post. 15 minutes after the sun broke through, the budgies started arriving. In the meantime, a really gutsy Willie Wagtail tried to hassle the Peregrine off the wires. Groups of 10, 20 and more, all checking out the water and building into larger and larger groups.

Throw in a water sampler and his dogs, a bull in the paddock and there was action aplenty, not least of which when the dogs started going the bull, the Peregrine decided that was a good time to do a swoop, and the budgies scattered. all very exciting to watch.

Peregrine Falcon

A really gutsy Willie Wagtail takes on the Peregrine

Budgerigars, noisy and colourful

Nankeen Kestrel decided to join in at one point

Rufous Whistler checked me out

Not sure if this was the brave one, but made for a lovely backdrop for the photo

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Birds and scenery around and near Nyirripi, Central Australia

I drove out to Nyirripi via Yuendumu yesterday for work, stopping a few times along the way to check out the wildlife and scenery. In the late afternoon I drove to the west boundary of the Newhaven Wildlife Sanctuary and this morning I checked out the local poo ponds. It is starting to dry out well and truly out this way, north west of Alice Springs, and generally speaking it is the seed eaters that are in numbers, very few flower-peckers/honeyeaters due to the lack of flowers around. The budgerigars are definitely starting to flock, a group of about 200 last night and 300 this morning would suggest there are a lot of them around out this way. Lots of Crimson Chats and Woodswallows, mainly Masked and Black-faced, and Zebra Finches who seem to be ever-present. A few nice surprises this morning included a pair of Australian Bustards near the ponds, as well as a smallish flock of about 20 Cockatiels, and one accommodating Black-breasted Buzzard patrolling the sky. Yesterday afternoon included some Varied Sittellas, a species I have seen out this way before but confused me with their calls for quite some time until I could get an ID photo looking into the sun.

Hopefully there will be more nice experiences to come bird-wise. The scenery out here always inspires with Karku, the local "Little Uluru" as some in the community call it. And then there was the sunset last night taken on the Newhaven Sanctuary western border, not to mention the lovely patterns on the side of the road made by the wind in the red sand.

Black-breasted Buzzard

Budgerigar flock

Pair of australian Bustards

Zebra Finches

Crimson Chat

Grey-headed Honeyeater

Karku behind a lovely covered sandhill

Sunset from Newhaven Sanctuary

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

A happy ending for "Blackie" - the Black Kite

Travelling towards work after dropping off one of the kids to school, I glanced down a side road and noticed a bird waddling that shouldn't have been on the road at all. I swung into the side road. The bird was still there. It should have flown off as a car drove past. I drove up towards it slowly. Definitely a bird of prey, unsure what sort at this stage. The bird opened its wings wide but seemed either reluctant or unable to get off the ground. It looked tired too. I pulled over to the opposite side of the road as it crept along the fenceline in the shorter grass towards a large clump of longer grass near the base of a tree. Still it didn't fly off. I could see now it was a Black Kite, but figured it was either a juvenile that had fallen from the nest, or was injured in some way. Lots of other Black Kites were circling above, but this one still didn't fly off. I took some shots from the car of it sitting in the grass. Unsure whether to approach it or not. It just wasn't behaving as I have seen Black Kites behaving previously (the non-flying was probably a dead give-away! :-) ). Approaching ever closer, it didn't seem able to move much from its little hide-away in the grasses. I decided it was injured, and quickly returned to the car and went and bought a blanket and a large bag from a shop nearby. Upon my return it had moved less than 2 metres from where I had left it. Again I stopped on the other side of the road, and grabbed the blanket and bag. It moved about half a metre as I approached and then quietly sat on the ground. I threw the blanket over it (it is really a large round cover for a wicker chair I think) and the bird stayed still underneath. Fearing the bird could well have died from fright at this approaching human, I picked the blanket up and put it into the bag and jumped back into the car. Desperate to find the phone number for the WildCare organisation in Alice Springs, I found their web site with no phone number. So if you live local, write down this number: 0419221128. I eventually found the number in the Local Directories. Called them and they suggested I take the kite to the Vet. I did this and left the kite with them. Thankfully, I returned to the Vet later and the kite had managed to wake up from the sedative they had given it. The issue had been some sort of oily substance on its wings that had stuck its feathers together so it wasn't able to fly. Hopefully a carer will be found and the kite will be back flying in the near future. I would also like to thank the ex-Alice Springs resident Chris Watson for his advice as to what I could possibly do.

Here are some shots of the bird in the grass:

Black Kite

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

A stunning sunrise at the Alice Springs airport, Long-billed Corellas, Black Kite etc

This morning one of my sons had to get up early and do some training, so my other son and I went out near the Alice Springs airport to see if there were any budgerigars around. Alas, no budgies, but we were treated to a sensational sunrise looking across the graveyard for planes at the airport, with some beautiful sun streams:

Sunrise at Alice Springs Airport

Long-billed Corella, one of two hiding amongst the Little Corellas

Black Kite above

Little Corellas