Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Darwin birding in the Wet Season

My bogeybird for the last couple of years has been the Rufous Owl. It's one of those birds that everyone who has seen it says they has a "Dead Cert" location for it, but it's never there when I try.

Getting sick and tired of Adelaide's scorching summer I decided to spend a whirlwind weekend in Darwin to search for my 700th bird in Australia. Yeah ok, it's the wet season but I also needed to find Swinhoe's Snipe which  are relatively simple in the wet. Thankfully my mate lives there and he generously offered to put me up and assist me to search. Then one of my other birding friends decided to join us so it ended up being quite a fun and social weekend!

The Swinhoe's Snipe was easy to find in the grass with a flock of 5 of them within a few minutes. Apart from the tail length, the Swinhoe's  fly quite differently to the Pin-tailed Snipe. Swinhoe's flush and then fly low for a short distance then drop back down where-as the Pin-tails fly up high and keep flying as far as the eye can see!  We had excellent views of the snipe but due to the rain and overcast conditions getting decent photos was impossible!!

Celebration time and high fives all around! 700 - TICK!


We searched various rainforests for the Rufous Owl, getting attacked by leeches for our efforts, sadly without success and I was beginning to think that it was a fictitious species.




We gave up, climbed back into the car and drove off. Suddenly as we drove down the road in the dark a stunning beautiful Rufous Owl flew across in front of our car in the headlights!! Great view even if it was only brief! 701 TICK!

My friend Jen and I spent a few hours birding at Fogg Dam which was a hive of activity with Pied Herons, little Egret's, Jacanas, Royal Spoonbills and Magpie Geese feeding on the wall.

Gilbert's Dragon

Common Grasshawk

Common Grasshawk

Common Glider

Common Crow

Common Crow

We tried for the recently reported Phalaropes but they had left a few days before we arrived. No matter, they will turn up somewhere else and I can twitch them then....

Darwin delivers again and I'm pleased to report that the Rufous Owl does exist after all!!

Horsfield's Bushlark

Pied Heron


Royal Spoonbill

Rufous-banded Honeyeater

White-bellied Sea-eagle

Female Chalky Percher      Diplacodes trivialis

Slatey-grey Snake

Water Buffalo



Pied Heron