Birdline Australia Weekly Update

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Subject: Birdline Australia Weekly Update
From: "Eremaea Birds" <>
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 2010 01:30:15 +1000
Birdline Australia 

Published sightings for the week ending 13 Jun 2010.

Wed 2 Jun       Pictorella Mannikin Whistle Duck Creek, Northern
Territory, Northern Territory 
2 x Pictorella Mannikins sighted drinking at the edge of a temporary
waterhole late afternoon at Whistle Duck Creek camping ground in the
Davenport Ranges, NT; just south-east of Tennant Creek at co-ordinates
20 38' 26" S 134 46' 53" E South of their 'usual' range but with all the
water in Central Australia at the moment, not entirely surprising. 
Anthony Molyneux 

Mon 31 May      Potential Night Parrot Chichester Range, East Pilbara,
Western Australia 
I've just returned from a 12-day fauna survey in the Chichester Range,
about 200km north of Newman in the East Pilbara. On the 31st of May,
2010, David Marshall and I were driving through our project area to set
up an Anabat at one of our sites. At 5:45pm (sunset was at 5:27pm), 3
fast-flying birds crossed our track about 5-10m in front of our car.
They were roughly 1.5m above the ground. I hesitantly said "Night
Parrots" and David agreed. The habitat in the direct vicinity consisted
of a large mesa and rolling hills, with open Eucalyptus woodland and a
spinifex ground cover. This site was the most productive in terms of
bird diversity and abundance throughout the survey, most likely due to
water availability. For example, a pair of Grey Falcons and 6 Ground
Cuckoo-shrikes were observed at this location on May 28th. The birds in
question appeared to be coming from a large eucalypt-lined watercourse
at the base of the mesa, almost perfecting in line with 2 small pools of
water in the creekbed. The direction they were heading was towards
rolling hills dominated by spinifex, with very few trees (mainly
Eucalyptus and dead shrubs). The shape of the birds (particularly the
short large-ish head) instantly suggested a parrot. Unfortunately, the
remaining light was behind them, so no colour could be determined, but
the silhouette of the birds was clear. They had a very fast direct
flight, with short powerful wing strokes, and 2 birds were observed
banking (turning onto side and showing underside or upperside, similar
to Rainbow Lorikeet) while keeping their line. I haven't had a chance to
check HANZAB or other material to research flight pattern of Night
Parrot, but the field guide we had (Simpson and Day) describes flight as
'quail-like'. The flight of the 3 birds didn't seem as fast as quail,
and appeared more powerful. The wings were pointed and angled back in
flight. The tail wasn't proportionally long. [Ed note: Clive Curson's
report was 145 km NE. TD) 
Nigel Jackett and David Marshall 


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