Today was in search of the Letter-winged Kite, reported a few weeks
ago, looking like a flock of Galahs at the Mac Clarke "Acacia peuce"
Reserve, about four hours drive, preferably four wheel drive, past the Santa
Teresa Mission southeast of Alice Springs. The Reserve consists of maybe
fifty mature A.peuce, like Desert Oaks with soft weeping foliage, widely
scattered over about a square kilometre of windswept bare gibber plain.
Regenerating young trees are columns of very hard and impenetrable tufts of
spines evolved as protection against the megafauna of ancient times, but
ineffective against wild camels, now fenced out.
On the approach, what looked like a a flock of Galahs in one of the
trees turned out to be ----- a flock of Galahs! There were 43 in the tree
and another 63 at the adjacent bore, total 106 Galahs! I kid you not.
No Letter-winged Kites.
Was I Galah no.107?
Chastened and feeling a little puce, I took the beckoning road to Anando
Station. It wound around the ends of dunes covered with cane-grass, where on
one, a twenty minute foray flushed Eyrean Grasswren, Banded Whiteface and
White-winged Fairy-wren, all well seen when chased together to the end of
the dune where the canegrass clumps ran out.
98km past the reserve turnoff, S 25.32.932, E 134.56.605, at 5.00pm on
22/08/2002, at a bore with trees and windmill, a large cow on the road
prompted a blast on the horn, and a cloud of grey and white birds appeared,
fluttering low over the roadside, a black zig-zag obvious on their
underwings.Forty four landed on a dead tree 50m away. Carting the telephoto
gear, largely unused, in the bottom of my backpack for years really paid
off. The auto lens mechanism had seized, the battery went flat, and there
was only one frame left anyway. Eventually I snapped a few shots of the
first Letter-winged Kites I had ever seen, presumably part of the groupof
106 Sean Dooley saw a few weeks ago.
50km west of Sydney Harbour Bridge
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