letter winged kite strezlecki track

To: birding aus <>
Subject: letter winged kite strezlecki track
From: Gary Wright <>
Date: Fri, 24 Sep 2010 15:06:58 +0930
I just went to letter winged kite site 18kms approx towards Innamincka from
Montecollina bore.   There were a pair of kites breeding.  Appeared to be
sitting on nest and I observed them copulating twice.   Rasping call made on
both occasions, although it appeared rasping call was also made at other
times.  I came back towards sunset as I wanted to see the birds hunting.  I
think one bird was on nest and the other left perch at 6.50 pm about 20
minutes after sunset.  I was approx. 60 metres away and couldn't see the
bird  without binoculars and through binoculars could just make out white

Unfortunately it flew straight over my head and disappeared into the west.
 It obviously had in mind somewhere there might be some long haired rats, as
it was on a mission.   I thought I would go around and see if the other bird
was sitting.  My headtorch was fairly dull and I was walking through longish
grass, when I suddenly went flat on my face, sending spotlight(which was
off) flying.  The spotlight had been dodgy but it never worked again after
that!  Hauled myself to  my feet, gave up on seeing if kite was on nest,
turned around and in feeble light of head torch was what I took to be
boobook owl, approx 15 metres from me.  It then turned its head and I saw
little curl of feathers and profile of head and saw it was tawny frogmouth.
 We looked at each other for a while and I then walked past it and it took
no notice of me.

Where letter winged kites were nesting there were a small group of what i
think were gum barked coolibah(Eucalyptus intertexta) and there was a great
variety of birds at the site, no doubt due to the trees which are scarce in
the area.  Chestnut crowned babbler were breeding, Black Kite was sitting on
nest as was Kestrel.

I observed spotted harrier behaving like big dipper or roller coaster and I
imagined it must be a display flight for mate.   A few moments later another
bird came past flying more normally.  What I saw fits with one report noted
in HANZAAB by Tiley in 1985.  The other bird of prey was brown falcon which
was noisy after dark and when it was quite dark flew calling close to bush
tops past where i was standing.  they may have been nesting further down but
I didn't go down there.

In the immediate area there were 24 species of birds.

200 metres towards Innamincka from the Art Barker lookout there was the best
sandhill canegrass that I saw and there was a group of Eyrean Grasswrens.
 It was a very windy day and these birds are extremely fast when they pop
out of the bush, but eventually I got good views

INLAND DOTTEREL  S 29 32 48.5  E 139 50 04
Three inland dotterels, one immature.   They would run in a crouching manner
and then stop and stand up very tall appearing very long necked.   I
initially located them on side of road with more gibber and less
vegetation-they flew to the other side of road where vegetation was much
thicker and they would have been very difficult to find

seen a few times but nest with two eggs located near turn off to Arkaroola
 nest was a small cup of grass approx 8'' off of ground in low
Atriplex(saltbush)  There were other orange chats in area.  I searched on
stony ground a number of times for gibber birds and didn't find any

THICK BILLED GRASSWRENS-rusty car site 26 kms lyndhurst
Poor views of birds flushed approx 10 metres from drainage line flying to
drainage line.  Three separate birds seen

RUFOUS FIELDWREN-just  as hills were finishing going towards Lyndhurst

Sun was going down and the bird came out into open and stood on
something-can't remember what- but very beautiful in the light(rufous and
sunset light combined)

Same spot as rufous field wren-3 birds, the initial one I saw stood on rock
facing me.  What I saw in terms of black markings across belly was like
forked lightening- starting as one and then splitting into two-has anyone
else seen this?

It was a great two day trip and made me think I must do more of this.  Took
mainly flower photographs but got letter winged kite in flight and good
shots of blue bonnets.

Go soon if you can.


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