Arid october..... grasswrens and raptors.....longish

To: "Birding Aus" <>
Subject: Arid october..... grasswrens and raptors.....longish
From: "Moorhead Family" <>
Date: Sun, 31 Oct 2004 17:43:00 +1000
Hi all,

I've just got back from 5 weeks through a fair bit of Australia.
Took my youngest son ,Jack (8) and the others after Perth.

The trip followed a course roughly...Bundaberg....Brisbane(off-load
AKA Jackie and 2 eldest kids!)...SWQueensland (Eulo)....Birdsville.....north
Boulia....west to Alice....SW to Warburton....Kalgoorlie and Perth....north
to Broome via
Denham ,Ningaloo Reef and Millstream....east to Kununurra,
again to Kakadu ....south to Pine Ck ...south to Tennant Ck SE home via Mt
Longreach....16,500km.....towing a terrific camper-trailer behind a

Great just before the wet...mainly 40c plus  but some good

Highlights were diurnal raptors and grasswrens with 347 species in
total...not too bad
considering we didn't go to SW WA , Darwin or Nth Qld.


1.Eyrean luck on Big Red west of Birdsville but quite easy
to see
from about Eyre Ck to within 10km west of Big Red. A couple of points for
We spent 2 hours searching the T & T site and dipped but got them without
into the Simpson Desert.....look out the windows near the tops of
dunes...view and
photograph from the most grasswrens ,they are inquisitive but
shy. The
car seems to be less frightening for them! You will ,of course need 4WD to
go on
the Poeppel Cnr track here.They dislike wind and were even quite active in
the middle of the
day but went quiet after the wind picked up.,,,,,unbelievable lump of a
Hopefully a few reasonable photos. Saw 11 which we stopped for....many more

2.Striated Grasswren....actually saw 2 without specifically going for
them...On Big Red
and at Uluru ....imagine being disappointed after chasing a grasswren on Big
Red only to
find out it's the wrong one!...IE I'd seen Striated but not Eyrean at that

3.Dusky Grasswren...supposedly easier than most.....not for me luck
at Simpson's
Gap or other NT sites on the way over....thought I'd dipped but had
sensational views whilst
chasing Rufous-crownedEmu-Wrens 5 km north of Tennant Ck on the way
the Mary Anne Dam turn-off.A couple of photos here I hope.Saw 4.

4. Thick-billed Grasswren....Denham....chased them(3) and got reasonable pix ...
but get to Monkey Mia and they are the sparrows(20 plus)! Still tricky to
photograph but easy to see
in the bloody carpark!....No self-respecting grasswren should be that easy!
Great spot for Grey-fronted HE's too!

5. White-throated Grasswren. My third attempt at Waterfall Ck, Kakadu NT.
Burnt out badly this time.
Josh (care-taker) wasn't confident . We camped there...did the dawn trip up
the escarpment.
Great views of Chestnut-quilled Rock-Pigeon , White-lined HE, Banded
Fruit-Dove etc.
A few Variegated Fairy-Wrens and , after 3 hours, saw 2 huge black wrens
hoping away right near
the pools at the top....chased them to no avail...either Black or
White-throated but did not see any
fronts!.....not sure whether to claim them or not but doubtful of Black

6.Kalkadoon Grasswren.....thanks to Don Haddon, whom I met in Pine Ck under
the Banyan Fig there
in town....(kicking away annoying Hooded Parrots).....gave me Bob Forsyth's
best spot at present 2.3 km
past the Mica Ck causeway site on the Boulia road out of Mt Isa. Up on the
hills to the right seems to be
the go ....tried for a while and then walked up the creek-lines....seems to
me to be best for many of the
grasswrens to follow creek-lines if possible. Saw 4 including some photos
...the grey on the flanks of the
male along with the more obvious striations around the face show the
difference from the Duskys which
we saw a day or 2 before in Tennant Ck.Didn't want to bother you Bob but
thanks anyway mate.

7. Black Grasswren....tried Manning Gorge near Mt Barnett, WA....burnt out luck....didn't go to Merton's
Falls despite driving the Gibb River Rd.....spouse and non-birding kids
wouldn't let me!

8. Grey Grasswren ....didn't go for it despite being fairly close early on
in the trip.....another time!

9.Carpentarian Grasswren....mid-day dipped at Lady Lorreta site!.....Triodia
looked much better on the LHS
of the road....45c and fridge not working!


Wow ...all of them almost(24) though

1.Grey Falcon...twice....first at Eulo Bore(SWQ)....right over our
camp.....trying to photograph Bourke's Parrots drinking
and bird ....close and 2 Grey HE's later on that grey
day but that was tops.
The other time was before Quilpie ,single bird S 27deg45.679min E

2.Black Falcon....2 on the Poeppel Cnr track S 25deg 52.933min E
139deg01.225min....2 having fun stirring up Galahs
and Little intension of catching prey but fair dinkum
bullies!....did the talon grab thing ...we watched for 3
 minutes....another almost got run over by us 100km west of Laverton, WA S
28deg10.515min E 122deg 45.917min

3.Red Goshawk....2...Mataranka ,NT .....Adult and fledgling at the nest just
before Bitter Springs NP sign, 3 km from
the Stuart HWay....Don Haddon put me onto this but I understand postings
have been made on birding-aus...I've been
unsubscribed for 6 guess is that both birds will be gone soon
....I saw them 25th Oct. S14deg54.710min
E 133deg05.118min....great photo ops! morning lucky enough to see
the adult chase a Whistling Kite away.
The thing that will live with me more than anything was the speed with which
it re-perched to a stand-still near
the chick....I tried for a photo chance in the world whilst it
approached the wing flap on arrival....


Gibberbirds brilliant Haddon Cnr.
Only 2 quail the whole time.
Only 2 owls (Barking and Boobook)
50 plus brolga all over the road and surrounds at Birdsville.
1000's Budgies in SW Queensland
Red-capped Robin...seen a few!
Cinnamon Quail-Thrush near Poeppel ,simply wonderful
Lizards....waiting for photographs to confirm but probably 10 new species
for me .
Rothschild's Rock-Wallaby new for me at Python Pool in the Pilbara.
Black Wallaroo on South Alligator River escarpment new for me and not
Tropical Short-tailed Mouse Silent Grove off Gibb River Rd.
Didn't go on the tour at Broome Bird Observatory....finding out later that
I probably would have seen the Rosy Starling on it's reappearance

I could rabbit on....if anyone wants specific info ,please contact directly.



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