I have just returned from a trip to the Top End where I spent two days at
Gunlom, Kakadu NP, looking for the grasswren and other local specialties.
Unfortunately, I too came away empty-handed in terms of the grasswren, although
I did come upon what appeared to be "suitable" spinifex habitat on the banks of
the same creekline further upstream of the falls, approximately two kilometres
away. No sign of any Dutch birders, though.
Although much of the spinifex on the escarpment had been burnt out, there were
small pockets remaining here and there and I got the impression that the birds
could still persist in some of these. The wind was reasonable strong at the
time and the days very hot, so any sensible-thinking bird would probably be
lying low and quiet, waiting for conditions to improve, making things even more
difficult for the observer. Also, by the time I got to these areas it was
hardly ideal birding.
I did have more fortune with some of the other bird species, however, with the
Chestnut-quilled Rock-Pigeon and local race of Variegated Fairy-Wren at the
site mentioned above, the latter causing a rush of adrenalyn when I thought it
might initially be the grasswren. There were also two Wallaroos seen in the
above area, one almost black and the other dark tan. The Sandstone
Shrike-Thrush and White-lined Honeyeater were also present here, as they were
insimilar habitat immediately above the falls. The shrike-thrush was very
obliging, a couple of birds calling from very exposed positions on boulders in
the veryearly hours of the morning.
Hope this gives some encouragement to those thinking about getting up there. In
saying this, the caretaker there was talking about approach of having to close
the road to the campground due to the coming rains.
On 16/09/2010, at 9:30 AM, Geoffrey Jones wrote:I am forwarded this on behalf
Hi all, I'll make this a joint email to all birders and someone can post iton
Birding Aus if they like.
I just had 2 days of intense searching for the WTGW in about 40 deg heat
and convinced it's not around especially Gunlom. I had Ian Davies assist insome
of it and used his tape. We had 2 way walkie talkies and when Ian
needed a rest, going was a bit tough, I moved further afield.
We used a method worth a go if anyone in same situation, he would play the
recording in his walkie talkie and I would turn volume up and I had the callat
hand without lugging the extra gear around.
There has been no sightings of the birds this year according to the peoplein
I believe Phil Maher had 2 days there without a result.
There was bugger all birds up there, not even the Lovely Wren or
Chestnut-quilled Rock Pigeon and only flushed one Partridge Pigeon, no
All I can advise now, if you are thinking of going there, don't waste yourtime
and effort for a few years.
Fire last year has destroyed vast amounts of Spinifex Grass and if Parks
keep burning like they have done again up top this year, there is not
muchchance of the Habitat coming back or the WTGW's
I spoke to the Ranger in charge of SPARKS and WILDLIFE'S of that area, who had
managed to stop burning there for 3 years, but he advised me that they don't
have a lot control over the rightful owners who burn where andwhenthey like.
Plum Ck has also be burn recently again, so that area not likely to recoverfor
the same reasons.
While there, I did searches of 2 other area's East and N/E of Plum Ck where
there was good Habitat, the spot East was better up on the Escarpment but no
water around. and the N/E area opposite Plum Ck was also good habitat and had
water in the creek some distance below but not that far for the Wrens toaccess.
Where too now, I guess I'll try Edith Falls areas as there has been reportsof
them seen there further back.
I have a mate who has a Chopper and said he could drop me in some time, soI may
take him up on that or walk in from the Falls.
The Ranger told me there is still good unburnt habitat up on the
escarpmentwhere Gunlom Ck flows from and still water, but it's at least 10km
Seen out of a helicopter while surveying.
Long walk in that terrain.
On conclusion, go look for Princess, Scarlet-chested and Night Parrots, Ithink
you will have more success.
DARRYEL C BINNS
PO BOX 1419
HUMPTY DOO. NT.0836
08 89885827/0417 170171
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