SA outback update - grasswrens galore

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: SA outback update - grasswrens galore
From: Peter Waanders <>
Date: Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:06:57 +0930
Hi all,
In recent weeks we've made 2 trips up the Birdsville track and 2 trips up
the Strzelecki track as well as visited other parts of outback SA. I
thought I'd provide a brief update on our findings.
In recent years numbers of small ground-dwelling birds,
particularly grasswrens, have crashed, for reasons unclear to me, except
that there's been a dramatic increase in cats after the wet years of
2010-12. However on our most recent trip just over a week ago we found all
species, including varous Western Grasswrens along the Iron Knob road (see
previous message regarding removed railway carriages), a pair of
Short-tailed Grasswren in the Flinders Ranges (but gone are the days where
you could just drive up to Stokes Hill and be surrounded by them), a pair
of Thick-billed Grasswren near Lyndhurst (but gone are the days where you'd
have to shoo them out the way while searching for Chestnut-breasted
Whitefaces). Striated Grasswren at Gluepot has met a similar fate - you're
more likely to come across a cat these days there. A shameful situation!
Luckily they're still readily found further east in the Bookmark mallee
scrub as well as at Hattah, there together with Mallee Emu-wren. Eyrean
Grasswren we've found in various places and Grey Grasswren as well. Last
week I found a recently fledged Grey Grasswren, very cute! Inland Dotterels
seem to have moved away from the area though, but there is still the odd
Bustard around.
We've had  a few sightings of Chestnut-breasted Whiteface, both at Coober
Pedy and Lyndhurst (don't ask...) although they too are much rarer than
just a few years ago. Banded Whiteface is still around in good numbers, as
is Cinnamon Quail-thrush, and all inland chats - Orange, Crimson, Yellow
and Gibber. There appear to be no Letter-winged Kites present this season -
it's pretty dry in most parts except the Flinders Ranges and NW of there -
while Grey Falcon has been treating us to regular sightings along the
Birdsville track.
Hope this is of use to someone!



Peter Waanders

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