Trip Report:Darwin revisited 3-7 Oct 2005

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Trip Report:Darwin revisited 3-7 Oct 2005
From: "Dam Lamb" <>
Date: Sun, 11 Dec 2005 16:24:57 +1000
Although we were now headed for the Queensland coast, we took a 4 day detour to Darwin where, again with the assistance of Sheryl , I got my first (Australian) Yellow Wagtail at Leanyer sewerage works.We saw 4 birds in all and wondered about the races simillina and taivana as one had a very white eyebrow  whilst another had a pale yellow eyebrow.I revisited a number of likely spots but despite a number of attempts I never did get Zitting Cisticola.Little Curlew and White-winged Black Tern were other good finds at Leanyer,as was White-browed Crake at Palmerston .We heard our first Common Koel of the trip at a now completely dry lagoon at Fiddlers Lane.Snipe Lagoon had contracted and now held over 200 Brolga and 1,000+ Magpie Geese, as well as Black-tailed Godwit, Marsh, Common and Wood Sandpiper,Australian Pratincole. Over a dozen Dollarbirds hawked for insects over the fringing reeds as dusk fell, something I had not seen before.
On leaving Darwin we again called in at Mataranka and found the Red Goshawk still on her nest, but this time with two chicks, fluffy white with emerging dark brown speckles.She was as attentive as ever and constantly shifted position to shade her offspring from the scorching sun.We managed some passable shots of the nest and occupants through the 'scope.A long and uneventful drive out of the NT apart from the excitement of finding a Galliango Snipe on the edge of a settling pond behind the Barkley Homestead.I enlisted the assistance of fellow Birds Qld member Stuart Pell who was camped next door and in fast fading light we scoped the bird and later poured over our combined field guides hoping for inspiration.None showed any of the galliango snipe to be "in range" and we finally concluded Latham's Snipe,though most field guides warned of the difficulty in separating Latham's from Swinhoe's without the bird in the hand. Whichever snipe it was, a check of the recent BA Atlas shows it was a very long way away from previously recorded snipe in the NT.The return trip through the NT had resulted in an additional tick (Yellow Wagtail) and 10 other species for a total of 226 NT species.
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