On Monday 30th May, Marj and I had great views of at least
two of the Grey Honeyeaters discovered by Barry Bucholz at the Olive Pink Botanical Garden in Alice
Springs (see also John Penhalluriack’s posting). This
would have to be the most delightful place imaginable to tick such a rare
species. A comfortable bench to sit on and await the bird’s arrival, not
to mention an on-site cafe, with delicious coffee and cake, and very friendly
staff. The ultimate dude twitching experience!
While at Alice Springs we successfully
targeted two other species we had been after for years. Barry has already
reported our sighting on 29th May of at least 150 Painted Finches in
two flocks along the Finke
River at Glen Helen Gorge.
One flock, at the gorge itself, gave us fantastic views, as close as 4 m away. Real
gems of birds. Bob Cook has also reported smaller numbers at this site in his
posting of 1st June. Glen Helen remains as beautiful as ever,
despite the ever-present helicopter. We first visited this place in 1984, being
flabbergasted to find an Osprey there that year (subsequently written up by
Mike Fleming in Australian Birdwatcher).
Our third tick was Slaty-backed Thornbill, in lightly wooded
scraggy mulga, about 1.5 km down the Hamilton Downs Youth Camp road by Kunoth
Well on the Tanami track . This site is featured in Thomas and Thomas. As
Bob Cook has stated in his posting, this area, like all of the country around Alice Springs, is currently dead dry. At 3 pm we found
few birds in the vicinity of the well.
All in all, a great little 4-day stay in the Centre, and
well worth the frequent flyer points. We stayed with fellow birders Will and
Anne Cormack at their Nthaba Cottage B&B, two streets away from the Olive Pink
Gardens. Very comfortable
accommodation and recommended.