Preliminary RFI - Darwin & Top End for July visit

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Preliminary RFI - Darwin & Top End for July visit
From: "Tom and Mandy Wilson" <>
Date: Sun, 1 Apr 2012 14:16:31 +1000
Hi All
I will be spending about 10 days in the Darwin/Kakadu/Katherine region in early July - the reason this RFI is so far in advance is to help with my trip planning. This will be my second visit (almost 20 years after my first in September 1992) and I am looking for a few species I missed that time and tidying up a few sightings which, in retrospect, were perhaps not as good as I would accept now. I have already raided the birding-aus archives, read my (old) Thomas & Thomas and Bransbury looking at sites, but would be interested in some perhaps more up to date info/sites for the species listed below. I'm trying to track down a copy of Niven McRie's book, but the only copy in the NSW public library system seems to be in the State Library, so I'm now probably going to purchase one if I can.

We will be camping for a week and then have a couple of days in Darwin itself to finish off, with the route running (roughly) Darwin - Kakadu (Ubirr or Jabiru/Cooinda/Gunlom) - Katherine - Litchfield park - Darwin . Plans already include a stop at Adelaide River, Yellow Waters and Katherine Gorge Cruises, visiting Territory Wildlife Park and visit to Fogg Dam. (As this is a family trip, a visit to Leanyer Sewage works probably not on the cards! A diversion toward Victoria River is also highly unlikely.)

Looking forward to seeing a load of species I've not seen for some time, but the specific target list, together with possible sites noted so far, is: - Great Billed Heron (Buffalo Creek, Adelaide River. Yellow Waters; Darwin Hbr - Middle Arm) - Red Goshawk (along Arnhem Hwy; Mataranka/Katherine areas - keep eyes peeled as July is when they start displaying?) - Chestnut Rail (Buffalo Creek; Charles Darwin NP; Darwin Hbr - Middle Arm - aware that I need to get the tide conditions right)
- Red backed Button Quail (Holmes Jungle; Leaning Tree lagoon)
- Chestnut Backed Button Quail (areas around Ubirr, Nourlangie)
- Chestnut Quilled Rock Pigeon (Gunlom, Katherine up on the tops)
- Banded Fruit Dove (sandstone outcrops at Ubirr, Nourlangie etc)
- Hooded Parrot (Pine Creek but better info sought on specific site/Katherine areas)
- Rufous Owl (Botanic Gardens; Howard Springs?; Waterfall Creek Gunlom)
- Little Kingfisher (Yellow Waters, Buffalo Creek)
- Rainbow Pitta (Monsoon Rainforest - Howard Springs, Fogg Dam; East Point)
- White Throated Grasswren (Gunlom - are they still there?)
- Green Backed Gerygone (seem to be common in several habitats - not sure how I missed these in 1992) - Buff Sided Robin (riverine woodland; Yellow Waters; Waterfall Creek Gunlom) - White Breasted Whistler (mangroves - Buffalo Creek etc - anywhere I'd be looking for Chestnut Rail presumably)
- Mangrove Golden Whistler (mangroves (duh!) - esp. Adelaide River)
- Arafura Fantail (monsoon rainforest pockets as for Rainbow Pitta; paperbark swamps - varied habitats)
- Mangrove Grey Fantail (mangroves (duh again!) - Buffalo Creek)
- Star Finch (bit light on info on this and the next 2)
- Yellow Rumped Mannikin
- Pictorella Mannikin
- Gouldian Finch (around Pine Creek but better info sought on specific site; Bird Billabong)
- Zitting Cisticola (swampy grasslands)
- Yellow White Eye (mangroves, monsoon thickets)

I was wondering whether it is worth lugging my scope and tripod with me - as I assume that lots of waders will be up north breeding but there may be a reasonable overwintering population to be seen at East Point, Lee Point etc, so would be interested in thoughts on that front.
Also, is there a site other than Eremaea where NT sightings are discussed?
I see my trip coincides with Arnhem Land bird week - hope all the birds aren't being paid to be over there for the bird week punters!
Tom Wilson


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