western grasswrens

Subject: western grasswrens
From: Jon King <>
Date: Mon, 25 May 2009 01:07:21 -0700 (PDT)
Just a brief note on our very recent successful efforts to see the two 
distinctive taxa of western grasswrens, _textilis_ Thick-billed Grasswren and 
_whitei_ Striated Grasswren, both of which may well represent valid species.

It is easy to see rather "plastic" Western Thick-billed Grasswrens kicking 
around the parking lot at Monkey Mia. However, for a more genuine experience, 
we tried the area of the old Thomas's site near Little Lagoon at Denham on 18th 
May 2009. The old site info is no longer applicable, as the road configuration 
has changed completely in rapidly expanding Denham, however we easily found a 
pair in an adjacent spot, and they are almost certainly all throughout the area.

>From the roundabout at the north end of Denham, we took the Stella Rowley 
>Drive 2.8km to the carpark at the Little Lagoon mangroves (not marked as such, 
>but obvious). From there there is a series of new(ish) walking trails through 
>the low scrub habitat. We had a pair of grasswrens very well early in the 
>morning at 25d 54m 27.2s S, 113d 31m 55.8s E, just before a small covered 
>bench at the top of the hill above the carpark.

On 22nd and 23rd May, Western Striated Grasswrens were easily found at the 
well-known spot behind the Newman Caravan Park in Newman (not to be confused 
with Dearloves Caravan Park at the other side of town). The park has expanded 
enormously in the past couple of years (now with 604 rooms for mine related 
personel!) and is in the process of being fenced. We were able to go through 
the last remaining unfenced section (behind room N60), but soon you will have 
to go out of the park, turn left then left again and walk up the park fence 

More-or-less as on the birdingwa website, walking due SE for about 600m we came 
to a six way junction and took the middle of the three ahead options, and could 
hear singing birds not far down here. Over two mornings we had at least five 
different singing birds in the hills within about a 300m radius of 23d 22m 23s 
S 119d 44m 27s E, with multiple birds counter-singing throughout the area, and 
had two males in particular counter-singing either side of the track at 23d 22m 
19.2s S 119d 44m 36.9s E. With patience, getting good views was 
straightforward, as birds often sang at 2-3 feet above the ground in low, 
usually dead, scrub.

Both excellent and very distinctive birds, and essential insurance against 
likely future splits.

Cheers, Jon and Anne King.


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