Update on Grey Honeyeater & Alice Springs vicinity

To: Don Roberson <>, <>
Subject: Update on Grey Honeyeater & Alice Springs vicinity
From: Peter Ewin <>
Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2008 17:29:07 +1000
My 2 cents on Using Thomas & Thomas for Banded Whiteface and Striated 
Grasswren. I may be wrong but I would be surprised if either of the sites 
mentioned would have been successfully "twitched" for these species in the last 
10 years. Both species would appear to be effected by fire history and so any 
changes since T&T would mean that the habitat now is probably unsuitable.
Banded Whiteface would appear to prefer areas that have been burnt in the last 
few years, so I would be spending time looking in this sort of habitat (should 
be obvious from the habitat condition) rather than going to any specific site. 
I would also suggest enough time poking around would eventually get on to them 
(last time I was at Uluru I saw driving between the survey sites that I was 
helping with).
The Striated Grasswren is a very different species, probably preferring long 
unburnt Spinifex, which is getting scarcer in and around Uluru. I have been 
there twice and looked around the carparks on both occassions with no luck (and 
as far as I recall it had been burnt). I also have looked around behind the 
airport which is where birds apparently have been recorded in the past. I 
talked to some of the staff (I was helping a friend with his PhD so we got into 
some of the less accessible parts of the the park) and they had very few 
records or even potential sites where this species had been recorded. We looked 
in some interesting habitat east of Uluru off the Curtin Springs road and saw 
potential footprints but saw no birds (and got no response from call playback). 
As a aconclusion I would suggest you would be very lucky to find Grasswrens in 
Uluru and that the T&T is probably a bit of a dead end (if you can stop in some 
big spinifex then you might have a chance).
As I say I may be completely wrong on these theories (any comments appreciated) 
but as good as T&T is for many species still (and I have been to quite a few of 
their sites), you can get information on other species that is much more up to 
date from Birding-Aus (the roost sites for some of the owls would be another 
Peter> To: > From: > Date: 
Wed, 27 Aug 2008 18:20:23 -0700> Subject: [Birding-Aus] Update on Grey 
Honeyeater & Alice Springs vicinity> > My wife Rita Carratello and I visited 
the Alice Springs/Uluru > vicinity as traveling birders from California between 
16-20 August. > We were fortunate to have the updated information posted on 11 
August > by Trevor & Hazel [last> names unknown to us], detailing their 
mid-July visit, and details on > access to the local sewage ponds provided by 
Jill Molan and others, > all forwarded to us during our trip by Murray Lord (we 
apologize that > it is now somewhat dated).> > Like Trevor & Helen, we found 
the conditions around Alice to be very > dry [locals say it hasn't rained since 
November] and the weather was > cold and windy. We searched various areas from 
Thomas & Thomas and other> sources for Dusky Grassren, Ruf-crown Emu-Wren, 
etc., but did not > find these skulkers. We did the Ormiston Gorge & Pound hike 
(Spinifex > Pigeons & Painted Firetails the only species of note), and visited 
> Simpsons Gap> daily. Western Bowerbirds were easily found at picnic tables at 
> Ormiston and Simpsons. This report is focused on a few small successes:> > 
GREY HONEYEATER: we had one Grey Honeyeater feeding on flowering > bushes at 
the walk-in camping site at Serpentine Gorge. This is a > little beyond the car 
park at the picnic area, along the walk to the > gorge itself. Numerous bushes 
at the camping site were flowering. > There were 15-20 Brown Honeyeaters 
present, and a half-dozen Spiny- > cheeks, and both chased the Gray when it 
appeared. There were enough > flowers about, though, so that it had multiple 
opportunities to get > to flowers. Also present was a Rainbow Bee-eater, which 
I presume was > a returning migrant. We had a female Painted Firetail at the > 
waterhole in the gorge.> > ALICE WASTEWATER PONDS: we had the access details 
from Jill Molan and > by writing directly to the Water company. We picked up 
the key and > signed waivers on Monday morning, 18 Aug, and returned it that > 
afternoon. It was another cold and windy day, but the birding was > good. Good 
numbers of Grey Teal, Aus. Black Duck, Maned Duck [Aus. > Wood Duck], and 
Hardhead were present, along with 6 Straw-necked > Ibis. Migrant waders 
included Wood & Common Sandpiper. We felt our > best bird was a Black Falcon 
perched on the dikes at the NW corner > [digiscoped]; a Brown Falcon was 
working the south side of the ponds, > esp. around the burned area.> We read in 
the birder's book there that Orange & Crimson Chats > had been in the burned 
area in July; we spent a fair amount of time > searching there, but found only 
4 Red-capped Robin. A flock of Little > Corella appeared on the dikes in the 
center of the ponds, and with > them was one Long-billed. Two Fairy Martin were 
among hundreds of > Tree Martin.> > Road from ALICE TO ULURU: we tried the 
various sites 20 & 21 km N of > Erlunda, and also 20.4 km W of Erlunda, but did 
not locate any chats, > quail-thrush, or Banded Whiteface. The areas north of 
Erlunda are now > enclosed by barbed wire fences, and the habitat seems less 
than > pristine. We did have fair numbers of Southern Whiteface at all > sites. 
A highlight at the 21 km N of Erlunda site was a flock of ~40 > Chiming 
Wedgebills feeding on the ground right next to the road, and > running like 
quail from bush to bush.> > ULURU: the Striated Grasswren site from T&T 
(opposite the sunset > viewing area for the Rock) was checked for hours in late 
afternoon > and at dawn, without success. Again, we wonder if the dry 
conditions > affect grasswren distribution?> > A full trip report with photos 
from the Red Centre, and from > southwestern Australia [where we basically 
followed Frank O'Connor's > web site with good success] and one day in Tasmania 
[where Murray > Lord showed us 11 of 12 endemics on the one rainy day] will 
appear on > my web site in due course.> > Many thanks to all who helped us in 
planning this interesting trip > down under.> > Don Roberson> Pacific Grove, 
California, USA>> > > > 
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, > send the message:> unsubscribe > (in 
the body of the message, with no Subject line)> to: 
> ===============================
Win a Nokia E51 with mobile Hotmail SMS alerts

To unsubscribe from this mailing list,
send the message:
(in the body of the message, with no Subject line)
<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

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