Preliminary RFI - Darwin & Top End for July visit

To: John Tongue <>
Subject: Preliminary RFI - Darwin & Top End for July visit
From: Alastair Smith <>
Date: Sun, 1 Apr 2012 17:51:52 +0930
Tom and Mandy,
I am currently in Darwin under the guise of navy reserve time and birding is 
very hot work!

Niven Mcrie's 'Finding birds in Darwin Kakadu and the top end' is an invaluable 
resource and you should try and get a copy. It has the answers to all your 
questions. Incidentally I was out at Leanyer sewage works yesterday and spoke 
to a birder who said that Niven has left the NT for the gold coast.

Unfortunately, the same birder said that the local community has resisted 
Eremaea as it is happy with yahoo groups, so Eremaea is really only used by us 
visitors. In my fortnight up here I have posted 25+ lists so this may be of 
assistance in the local Darwin region.


Sent from my iPad

On 01/04/2012, at 17:05, John Tongue <> wrote:

> Hi Tom and Mandy,
> We found 
> worth keeping an eye on for up-to-date sightings.  To get into Leanyer sewage 
> ponds, you need to do an induction (which can be done online), and pay a 
> deposit and pick up a key.  Peter Kyne, whose details can generallby be found 
> on Birding-Aus, or the NT Birds blog was VERY helpful to us in getting our 
> induction, and general info while we were there (January)
> We dipped on Great-billed Heron, had one distant look at Chestnut Rail at 
> Buffalo Ck, Biggles Binns helped us get onto Arafura Fantail near Nightcliffe 
> (it wasn't really the right time of year), and Swinhoes Snipe near his place 
> (Humpty Doo).  Had a number of Rainbow Pitta around East Point, and one at 
> Nourlangie, in Kakadu.  Had one Banded Fruit-dove there as well.  Couldn't 
> get to Gunlom, or the best spots for Chestnut-quilled Rock Pigeon (Too much 
> water), so dipped on those.  HAd Hooded Parrots at the Pine Creek Sewage 
> works, along with Black Bittern, White-browed Crake, Buff-banded Rail, etc.  
> Chestnut-backed BQ (Didn't get Red-backed anywhere), and Sandstone 
> Shrike-thrush near Nourlangie.  Yellow White-eye in a few mangrove spots, but 
> no White-breasted Whistler, and Mangrove Golden only at Adelaide River 
> Cruises.  One Mangrove Grey Fantail behind Palmerston Sewage works.  One 
> Zitting Cisticola across Sth Alligator Floodplain (along with hundreds of 
> Golden-headeds every
> ere!). Star Finch and Yellow-rumped Mannikin at Timber Creek Airfield, and 
> Buff-sided Robin at Kunnunurra.  Purple-crowned Fairy-wren at Victoria River. 
>  NO Pictorellas or Gouldians, but difficult time of year - you will probably 
> have more luck.  
> Hope that might help a little.  Peter Kyne and Biggles Binns were very 
> helpful, as I'm sure all the NT birders would be.
> Happy Birding,
> John Tongue
> Ulverstone, Tas.
> On 01/04/2012, at 2:16 PM, Tom and Mandy Wilson wrote:
>> 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!
>> Cheers
>> Tom Wilson
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