Northern Territory trip report

To: <>
Subject: Northern Territory trip report
From: "simon starr" <>
Date: Tue, 27 Sep 2005 22:52:53 +1000
Here's a summary of my time spent holidaying in the Territory this month
(September), for the archive.  Very dry at the moment (following on from two
below average wet seasons) which helped to concentrate many birds around
remaining waterholes and wetlands. I recorded 208 species in 3 weeks with
plenty new for me. I did better than I'd expected largely thanks to "Finding
Birds in Darwin, Kakadu and the Top End" by Niven McCrie and James Watson
which helped me make the best use of my time and was just excellent, and
also thanks to some current info from some local birdos which led me to some
Letter-winged Kites and a Long-toed Stint.
Camped at the falls, great for a cooling swim. Dry woodland with some
monsoon forest along the creekline.
Plenty to see around the campground included Northern Rosellas (a stunning
bird I thought), Silver-crowned Friarbirds, Barking Owl, and many others.
One of only a few Bar-breasted Honeyeaters seen for the trip was here also.
A waterhole just off the road into the falls was fantastic early in the
morning with many finches including about 70++ Gouldians, and about 30
Hooded Parrots coming in to drink.
Stayed near Bitter Springs by the river. The flowering Paperbarks were full
of Friarbirds in the day and Fruit-bats at night. Many thousands of the
latter flew up river each evening, an awesome sight. Being dry access up the
river was fairly easy and led me to my only Great-billed Herons for the trip
plus a number of sightings of Freshwater Crocs. Lots of Diamond Doves
around, a Pacific Baza near the thermal pools car park, heard a Rufous Owl
one night, and a mob of 35 (or was it 36?) Apostlebirds in town!  Best of
all was great views of a female Red Goshawk.
What a stunning place to visit. Unfortunately no White-throated Grasswrens.
Hardly been seen since May according to the camp manager. Luckily I had one
cloudy morning which allowed me to do a fair old trek up on the escarpment
before the sun finally came out and I cooked. Only a couple of
Chestnut-quilled Rock Pigeons (saw a lot more on a walk from the nearby Plum
Creek). White-lined Honeyeater and Sandstone Shrike-thrush both seen quite
high up in the hills and a few Banded Fruit Doves early morning up top,
showed well in the dry open woodland. The Rock Pigeons impressed me,
blending so well with their environment, even down to the white flecks in
their plumage which mimicked the white stones embedded through the
sandstone. The escarpment race of the Variegated Fairy-Wren appeared in a
couple of spots, the females so different to my local Victorian birds.
Plenty of Varied Lorikeets in the area here. KAKADU:
Prefer a quiter campground but the surrounds were very birdy and did enjoy
the pair of Pied Herons in residence at the pool. I swam Croc style to
within a metre of one.
The boat cruise was enjoyable with very close views of many waterbirds, plus
Bar-breasted Honeyeaters, Azure K'fishers, Australian Pratincoles and a
Rufous Fantail (now split I believe... to Arafura Fantail....tick!!).
Black-tailed Treecreepers found near the start of the loop walk at Mardugal
campground and I finally found some Partridge Pigeon after much the book said!, along the roadsides early in the morning
(between Cooinda and Mardugal).
 Was the right time to be here, with thousands of birds concentrated here
towards the end of the dry. Squillions of Magpie Geese, counted over 70
Black-necked Storks, a flock of literally 100's of Great Egrets, and a good
mix of terns and waders.Could have spent many hours here if time had
Very little open water here being so dry but arriving early morning was
sensational with the surrounding bush and monsoonal forest absolutely alive
with birds. Bar-breasted Honeyeaters, Broad-billed Flycatchers, Rose-crowned
Fruit-Dove ,Rainbow Pittas, Little Bronze Cuckoo plus oodles of more
commonly found species. Had easy views of White-browed Crake at the first
observation deck amongst a nice mix of the commoner waterbirds. Tawny
Grassbird here too.
Letter-Winged Kites were in a dead tree by the road in, just about 1 and a
half Kms from the highway, but only just after dawn it seemed. Lots of
Australian Pratincoles in the grassland there too.Stay on the road here as I
blew two tyres(and dented the rims) hitting a pothole at the edge of the expensive exercise in a hire car.
About 35 kms out of Darwin, this wetland was drying up with plenty of muddy
edges and a good selection of waders including a Red-necked Avocet and
Little Curlews coming and going. Lots of Whistling Duck (Plumed and
Wandering), and a male Koel in nearby gardens. A top little wetland.
South of the Fogg Dam turnoff.
Mangrove Golden Whistler and Red-headed Honeyeater.
Black Falcon and 2 Australian Bustard seen on the nearby floodplain.
Another good place to cool off. Relax in the water while a Northern Fantail
builds its nest above you! RCFruit Doves here plus other monsoon forest
A hot afternoon with the wind straight of the sludge made birding conditions
interesting....the Long-toed Stint made up for it.
Another wetland full of birds of all shapes and sizes. An absolute
A flock of 100+ Pied Heron here, a few Little Curlew came and went but
couldn't find the Yellow Chat reported to be there.
Spring had all but stopped. No swimming but still Rainbow Pittas, Arafura
Fantail etc.
Past Howard Springs. Little Kingfisher along the river here.
Mangrove Robin near here.
Red-headed Honeyeaters, Yellow White-eyes, Black Butcherbird, Mangrove
Gerygone etc.
Only heard the Chestnut Rails despite 4 visits.
Plenty of waders(19sp.) and terns(7 sp) to sift through especially at high
Looked for Button-quail/ Zitting Cisticola etc here but no luck(in 2 hours).
The swamp is completely dry.

If anyone wants more info on any of this just ask.
Simon Starr,
Pyramid Hill,

Birding-Aus is now on the Web at
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, send the message 'unsubscribe
birding-aus' (no quotes, no Subject line)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>
  • Northern Territory trip report, simon starr <=

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU