Flock Bronzewings on Barkly Tablelands

To: Birding-Aus <>
Subject: Flock Bronzewings on Barkly Tablelands
From: Jon King <>
Date: Wed, 17 Jun 2009 17:11:56 -0700 (PDT)
We were recently treated to one of Australia's great birding spectacles when we 
found 6000+ Flock Bronzewings on the Barkly Tablelands. On 13th June, we were 
driving S on the Tablelands Highway at 16:50 when we had a small flock fly past 
and land nearby. Over the next half hour we estimated about 3000 coming to 
roost here, and could see a similar aggregation a few kms to the south. Birds 
poured in, largely from the east, and many came right over us, as the roost was 
within 200m of the road. These observations were all from just south of Kennedy 
Creek, 27.9km N of Alroy Downs Station, at 19d 02m 56.4d S 136d 05m 03.1s E.

Very early the next morning, we saw small numbers of Flock Bronzewings in 
singles or groups of all sizes up to 200 , all the way to Brunette Creek, some 
45km N of this area. We stayed in the area until the following day, partly to 
count bronzewings more accurately. The Kennedy Creek roosting area had 2930 
come in on the evening of 14th June, and the roost to the S was again estimated 
at at least this number. In addition, many other small groups could be seen 
scattered in all directions, and it is likely that the true figure for this 
area was conservatively 10000 birds. As we drove S on the early morning of the 
15th, we continued to see birds until near the Playford River, so bronzewings 
are currently present along a stretch of at least 70km, at least an hour prior 
to sunset, and for about an hour after sunrise, so there may be tens of 
thouseands in total.

Despite two solid early mornings and evenings of searching, there were no 
Letter-winged Kites along this road. Talking to local station folk, prior to 
good rains in March there had been 2+ years without a drop of rain in this 
area, so perhaps the kites moved out of the area some time ago. Conversely, 
perhaps the bronzewings have moved in in such numbers following exceptional 
recent rains.

Incidentally, we found _macgillivrayi_ Purple-crowned Fairy-wrens at 
Caranbirini Conservation Park near Cape Crawford (contra Thomas and Thomas). A 
group of half-a-dozen came to the water at the observation hide at the 
waterhole on the evening of 12th June. With great flowering by many gum 
species, this little park was packed with birds, nothing unexpected, but very 

Cheers for now, Jon and Anne King.

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