Wildflowers & Birds in Central Australia

Subject: Wildflowers & Birds in Central Australia
From: "Amanda Markham" <>
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2007 12:16:17 +0930
Hi all,

I've had quite a few questions about birding in Central Australia. I will reply to everyone individually, so please give me a couple of days - as I've got a couple of bush trips on. In the meantime, here is some general info:

We had 98mm of rain in the last month in Alice Springs. Some places out east (East MacDonnells & nth-east Simpson Desert) had up 300mm.

Yes, there are lots of breeding birds up here right now - there are birds everywhere!

Yes, there are wildflowers out east, but not as many in the West Macs (West MacDonnells). I will take a trip out east on the weekend and report back to the list.

I have just come back from a fauna survey on Owen Springs Reserve. I can tell you that there are some good waterbirds down along the Hugh River (Rufous Night Heron, some Egrets which are rare.). This is easily accessible on the public access drive thru the Reserve. However, you need a 4WD and some experience driving in sandy conditions. People get bogged here all the time, mainly tourists! Calll the rangers at Owen Springs (08 8956 7300) for more details. Owen Springs is one of the best and most little-known spots for birding in Central Australia.

Tomorrow, I am off to Watarrka (Kings Canyon), so I will report on wildflowers and birding there. Watarrka is an amazing spot for birding due to the reliability of water. I usually drive on the Giles Road rather than on the bitumen as it's quicker from Alice Springs. The sign on this road says "4WD recommended" and I recommend it. Do not take a 2WD vehicle on this road no matter what anyone says and *always* carry 20 litres of water in case you break down. Tourists seem to love breaking down on this road!!

Other underrated but excellent places for birding are Rainbow Valley Conservation Reserve (contact the senior park ranger at the Alice Springs Telegraph Station (08 8952 1013) for info and tell him you're a birder. The other place which is hard to get into but chokkers with birds is Anna's Reservoir, about 100km north of town, and accessible thru Aileron Pastoral property. Again, call the Senior Park Ranger at the Telegraph Stn for details. He told me he'd seen firetails up there only two weeks ago and there's heaps of water, too.

Finally, the Davenport Range National Park, about 300km north of town is always great for birding. Again, you need a 4WD, and you should prepare for bush camping.

Re: the Alice Springs Sewer Ponds. Before you come to Alice Springs, contact Power and Water Corporation (1800 24 5092 & tell them you want to speak to the Alice Springs office) to get an indemnity form. This can be done by fax. A key can be collected for a $30 deposit.

Hope this is helpful,

Amanda Markham
Parks & Wildlife Service
Department of Natural Resources, Environment and the Arts
PO Box 1120
Alice Springs NT 0871
ph. 08 8951 8207
fax 08 8951 8290


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