White-throated Grasswren

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: White-throated Grasswren
From: Denise Goodfellow <>
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2014 13:31:42 +0930
Congratulations John,  on finding this bird.  

I abandoned Gunlom years ago because of regular fire in the spinifex sandstone 
habitat.  To hear that Plumtree Creek habitat has also been burnt is very 

However, my experience is that WTGW are harder to find at this time of year, 
and more so after a good Wet Season, such as we’ve just had.  I most often saw 
them late in the year when they make themselves much more obvious, e.g. through 
territorial singing.

White-throated Grasswren Jim Jim Creek, Kakadu 
Thanks to Tim Faulkner for researching NT online burn scar data to determine 
what may well be the only remaining mature (10-20 years old) spinifex sandstone 
habitat in the 'World Heritage' Kakadu NP. The habitat though only small, and 
surrounded by scorched country, was rich in reptile fauna, including a possibly 
eastern-most record of Pygmy King Brown Snake (well named as Pseudechis 
weigeli), which I was videoing when I heard the only WT Grasswren I was to 
encounter. An unforgettable moment, but one that had me grappling with my 
priorities. It is a very big job getting to the site, with camping permits 
required, but my advice to anyone who wants to see this bird is to not leave it 
too late. Last year was the most extensive burn year for Kakadu, and the 
momentum appears to be ongoing. As I hiked out today a fresh series of fires 
through visible gullies were visible. BTW I tried on previous days to find 
mature habitat atop Gunlom and at Plum Tree Ck, areas I know well from many 
explorations over the past few decades, but could not find any, and very 
disappointing herp activity. With the WTGW, I have now photographed all IOC 
Grasswren species within a two-month period, all solo. WTGW was definitely the 
John Weigel 

Denise Lawungkurr  Goodfellow
PO Box 71
Darwin River, NT, Australia 0841

PhD candidate
Vice-chair Wildlife Tourism Australia  

Founding Member: Ecotourism Australia
Founding Member: Australian Federation of Graduate Women Northern Territory
043 8650 835

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