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
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