Today I went out to sites that I had saved from a listing by Tim Jones on
8/7/05 in relation to rufous crowned emu wren and dusky grasswren on the Santa
Teresa road. When I got home and checked where I was supposed to go, it
appears that I was in the wrong spot, but I saw the birds! tim said that the
dusky grasswrens were where the spinifex meets the road on both sides and the
rufous crowned emu wrens were 3 kms further on! Where as I saw the emu wrens
where the spinifex meets the road on both sides and the dusky grasswrens 3 kms
31.7 kms from roundabout at the airport, spinifex meets the road on both sides.
I found the emu wren on the right hand side of the road if you are going
towards Santa Teresa. I had read in Donato, where to find birds in NT that the
rufous crowned emu wren is particularly shy and elusive. these birds most
certainly were not. I was alerted to the birds by a high pitched
squeak(although it was quite windy) and stood and waited. After a couple of
minutes a male emu wren appeared on top of spinifex bush. They didn't call
very often but when they did it was a softer version of fairy wren call. I saw
mainly males, strong rufous crowns and blue chests and they were not at all
concerned about my presence. They regularly went to base of spinifex bush and
climbed through the bush to the top and down to hte base of the next bush.
Sometimes they even ventured out into the open on the sand between spinifex. I
was viewing them from 7-8 metres. During the excitement of seeing the emu
wrens I lost my 15 year old Kelpie, Scarlet. She wasn't too keen on the
spinifex(I recommend gaiters if you have them, as used by bushwalkers) and I
thought she had settled down to wait for me. However, when I returned she
wasn't there. Eventually found three quarters of an hour later. While
crashing through spinifex and calling loudly for her, I saw still more rufous
crowned emu wrens! I think this was Tim's dusky grasswren site??
I then drove back approx 3 kms to flat topped hills with spinifex to look for
the dusky grasswren. I eventually located them on the first flat topped hill,
closest to the road on the Alice Springs side of that hill just below the rock
line. They were in no way confiding and hid in holes in the sandstone. For
example, one only flushing from its hideaway when I was standing over it!
Other birds on plains in this area were hooded robin, southern whiteface, grey
fronted honeyeater, willie wagtail, grey shrike thrush, red backed kingfisher,
black faced woodswallow.
At other places on the road were brown falcom, rainbow beeeater, zebra finch,
richards pipit and crested bellbird.
Good luck with the emu wren and dusky grasswren. tomorrow I am going to look
for the grey honeyeater, so I wish me luck!
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