Martin, what can I say but thank you.
I do get a certain number of appreciative emails, mainly from beginners, but
nothing like this. I guess that experienced ornithologists like you seldom see
the need, or even have the time, to refer to websites like mine because they
know most of it already.
Sadly for me, in recent times the bottom has dropped out of picture sales
(which help to keep the website afloat), partly a result of difficult times and
environment bashing by the coalition governments around the country, but also
because of the advent of an absolutely brilliant range of digital images by all
the newer and younger photographers. I hold some of them in awe!
In regard to White-throated Grasswrens, it certainly hasn't been for the want
of trying by you. I agree Gunlom in recent years has been badly affected by
fire and is no longer an easy place to find them, but they are known from many
other places, all very much more difficult of access. Maybe you are lucky you
didn't wander in above Jim Jim falls - the last person to do this had a very
scary incident with a wild buffalo! Incidentally, I've had two more people
reply to say that the White-throated was their first grasswren - I guess when
Gunlom was OK it was fairly easy. If you do get onto them they are quite noisy,
not like most other grasswrens.
About the escarpment walking trail, I'm not familiar with it, but the birds are
known from near Birdie Creek which is up in that general area on the south side
of the Katherine River. The secret is to try to locate an area that has been
burnt very little - if there are any. I really don't understand why there is so
much fire in these remote areas - I suppose once they start they are impossible
to control in such rugged terrain.
In regard to the Sandhill Grasswren, they have been seen again recently near
the carpark for the sunset viewing area at Uluru - if you go there in the
morning there's nobody there. They have been known from that place for a long
time - the trouble in that area is that you are not supposed to wander off into
Your eclipse male Splendid F/W at Goyder Lagoon is certainly a long way out of
the known range and that is an area that has been surveyed intensively. The
most likely explanation is that you actually saw (in the heat of the moment!!)
an immature Blue and White. In winter plumage they are fairly alike - both have
blue wings and tail and younger B & W males take nearly four years to acquire
adult plumage. Have a look at my pic #535210D. In a few months that bird would
have had a black bill and easily be mistaken for a winter Splendid male. We all
make mistakes - my wife keeps reminding me more and more.
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