I have been observing an Oriental Pratincole near Aldinga in
South Australia since last
Thursday 8th December. Today I invited other ornithologists to view
the bird and by sundown this evening about a dozen people have seen the bird.
The pratincole has been confining itself to a small area adjacent to a
temporary lagoon (or at least a
large shallow puddle) on private property. Cows frequent the area and have
chopped up the drying mud with their feet.
Usually the bird remains in one place, camouflaged on the rough bare soil
or partly hidden in the short grass or herbaceous vegetation. However it
repeatedly snaps out at passing insects. It occasionally runs a few steps to
capture a passing insect. Today as we watched it appeared to lower its body into
a depression and seemed to leap up as if to ?ambush? the passing insect. In the
accumulated five or six hours I have watched the bird it has only voluntarily
flown once; apparently to seek food. There have been three occasions when it has
been flushed and it has flown some distance in large circles around the water
and general area before returning to its ?home territory?.
To me an outstanding feature of the bird has been its chestnut or
cinnamon under wing that flashes as it moves quickly to hawk the passing prey or
as it flies.
who wish to see the bird; go to the corner of Rowley
Road and Hart
Road near Aldinga. Approach the corner along
Rowley Road, from
Aldinga Beach Road, is best.
Walk or drive east along Hart
Road following the ?hedge? of lignum. At the eastern
end of the lignum is probably best. Select a gap or opening through the lignum
to look north across the lagoon. The Oriental Pratincole is always on the
northern (distant side) of the water.
Also look for a Latham?s Snipe flushed from the grass this afternoon.
As I cannot visit the area over the coming week end I would appreciate
any information about further sightings or lack of sightings.
Many thanks Neville