Grey Honeyeater et al at Alice Springs

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Subject: Grey Honeyeater et al at Alice Springs
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Date: Sat, 4 Jun 2005 17:38:16 +1000

On Monday 30th May, Marj and I had great views of at least two of the Grey Honeyeaters discovered by Barry Bucholz at the Olive Pink Botanical Garden in Alice Springs (see also John Penhalluriack’s posting).  This would have to be the most delightful place imaginable to tick such a rare species. A comfortable bench to sit on and await the bird’s arrival, not to mention an on-site cafe, with delicious coffee and cake, and very friendly staff. The ultimate dude twitching experience!   


While at Alice Springs we successfully targeted two other species we had been after for years. Barry has already reported our sighting on 29th May of at least 150 Painted Finches in two flocks along the Finke River at Glen Helen Gorge. One flock, at the gorge itself, gave us fantastic views, as close as 4 m away. Real gems of birds. Bob Cook has also reported smaller numbers at this site in his posting of 1st June. Glen Helen remains as beautiful as ever, despite the ever-present helicopter. We first visited this place in 1984, being flabbergasted to find an Osprey there that year (subsequently written up by Mike Fleming in Australian Birdwatcher).  


Our third tick was Slaty-backed Thornbill, in lightly wooded scraggy mulga, about 1.5 km down the Hamilton Downs Youth Camp road by Kunoth Well on the Tanami track . This site is featured in Thomas and Thomas.  As Bob Cook has stated in his posting, this area, like all of the country around Alice Springs, is currently dead dry. At 3 pm we found few birds in the vicinity of the well.   


All in all, a great little 4-day stay in the Centre, and well worth the frequent flyer points. We stayed with fellow birders Will and Anne Cormack at their Nthaba Cottage B&B, two streets away from the Olive Pink Gardens. Very comfortable accommodation and recommended.













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