Grey Falcons in Alice...

To: Christopher Watson <>
Subject: Grey Falcons in Alice...
From: bob gosford <>
Date: Sun, 3 Oct 2010 23:06:58 +0930
Can I just say that rather than concentrating on the one spot that, as Tom
Aumanns work a few years ago showed, there are more than likely to be
similar sites- though perhaps not quite as "hot" as this particular site -
in many areas in the centre (in the broadest sense of that word). Tom's work
from memory concentrated on water courses and showed that there were strong
concentrations or raptors and prey species - for obvious reasons - in and
around watercourses. And with the seaon really starting to get a kick along
now - and the reasonable likelihood of repeat breeding because of the
plentiful food and favourable conditions - there will be a lot of similar
activity elsewhere for quite some time.
Any reports from Newhaven or other spots further afield?
Best and I'll be away through mid-October and keen as after that time!


On 3 October 2010 22:45, Christopher Watson

> Just an update on the falcons near town, as I am receiving a lot of emails
> about them.
> For fear of public crucifixion and ridicule, and of course for the birds,
> I'm not publicising the site online, or via email. I have already told
> plenty of people in Alice about the site, and I have taken many people to
> see the birds, so it is not a big secret, I'd just prefer to not broadcast
> the exact whereabouts on the internet.
> If you are in Alice, or are coming, then you are welcome to contact me when
> you arrive and I will fill you in, but the site is becoming a bit like
> central station already, and I have some concerns about some people's
> birding habits.
> The site is in a dry watercourse. I have detailed notes going back a bit
> more than three weeks now and a good photographic record of the nesting so
> far. I have been holed up in some bushes where I have established a
> makeshift hide about 200m away, observing most days. Each day more and more
> cars are driving straight up to the site, and people are getting out and
> stomping along the dry river bed flushing every nesting bird within 50m,
> including the female Grey Falcon. She has laid now, and is trying to spend
> more time on the nest but she keeps getting disturbed. It would be a shame
> to see the site abandoned just because people were too careless to go a bit
> more softly about it. Two people today flushed the female off the nest and
> didn't even notice her - so you are disturbing the birds while still
> dipping
> on what is otherwise a very approachable pair. Aside from the Grey Falcons,
> there is a Spotted Harrier nest only about 30m away, Hobbys nesting 50m
> further than that, two different pairs of Nankeen Kestrels, and Collared
> Sparrowhawks 100m farther on and they are all getting disturbed. The
> Sparrowhawks are having a hard enough time keeping the crows and miners at
> bay.
> As I'd really like to see these falcons all the way through to fledging
> some
> young, here's what I suggest;
> The creekline runs north to south - the main access road is parallel 650m
> distant. Park on the main road, it isn't that far to walk and you don't
> stir
> up the cattle this way. On the walk you will flush plenty of Little
> Button-quail, Crimson Chats, and in the Dead Finish dotted around the plain
> there are numerous nesting Banded Whiteface. Also on the plain there are
> Ground Cuckoo-shrike regularly browsing low amongst the indigo flowers.
> In the morning you can walk to the far side and have the sun on your back
> and excellent views of all the birds without flushing them all as you walk
> along the creek bed.
> In the arvo, therefore, from the road side of the creek you can approach
> with the sun on your back also.
> If you stick around until sunset, you'll be treated to a flock of about 80
> Red-tailed Black Cockatoos coming to roost in the dead trees, plenty of
> Mulga Parrots and lots more.
> Spread the word if you're one of the folks in Alice that already knows the
> site and is sending people there. Let's try to do the right thing.
> If you're coming up, you won't need to know the site until you arrive, so
> just drop me an email once you arrive or call my mobile. If I'm out of
> range
> it is rarely for too long and I'll call you back and get you out to see
> these great birds.
> Cheers,
> Chris Watson
> Alice Springs
> mob. 0419 358 942
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Bob Gosford
The Northern Myth blog
Alice Springs, NT
Ph: (+61) 0447024968
Twitter: @bgosford
"The NT Government does not respond to random electronic gossip sites."

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