darwin

toil takes me to the top end quite often, although this curse of the birding man is soon to vanish.  bewdy.  darwin is one of the best spots in australia for birding so i will be coming here under my own steam.  i will put up some details of my travelling birding gear soon.  heaps of interesting species and places in darwin.  back in the day the first bird place i saw here was knuckey lagoon, on the way to the office from the airport.  talk about cool.  i have also visited alice springs, katherine and the never never when under the yoke.   coincidental how these visits always precede a week-end

5 apr 2013.  arrived from adelaide.  strange sort of town that one.  some interesting wetland spots for birding between the port and elizabeth, however i have never had time to get out and explore.  maybe on the next trip, it could be my last while employed by the man.  more on sa down the track, back to the top end.  here’s what i did in darwin

gps darwin spots – what’s there?
0703926 start of forage
8627665 drw at noon, it’s hot. 32?  feels like 52.  first bird seen – Milvus migrans

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knuckey lagoon.  when this is good, it is fab.  first time i stopped here i saw my first Neochmia phaeton, jeez i was excited.  a pair of Haliaeetus leucogaster over the lagoons, i’m beside myself.  L1020294this expedition follows heavy easter rains and the lagoons are well full, overgrown with grass and canes with few birds.  Irediparra gallinacean, Nettapus pulchellus, Chlidonias hybrida in low numbers.  a single Ardea modesta.  there are a couple of access points – fiddlers lane listed first then a dirt track off lagoon road.  i also checked the knuckey lagoon recreation reserve on brandt rd.  has a few nature trails but i can’t recommend.  searched on the roads for Caprmulgus macrurus here at night, nada.  made up for by spotting a Burhinus grallarius, what a great ave

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Document9fogg dam.  another blown away spot.  a whopper croc known to lurk here – pictured on the dam wall (courtesy nt news).  never seen it.  i almost stepped on a taipan one time, no bull.  this is the place i most want to bring my camera gear to, some of the bird photos available are magnificent (on most visits).  two spp i enjoyed spotting this time were Chalcites minutillus and L1020258Pachycephala simplex.  the boardwalk was flooded and closed.  i have seen fogg dam teeming with birds, this time it was poor by comparison, recent rain has perhaps provided alternative wetlands.  the paucity of Egretta picata suggests this may be the case

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buffalo creek.  birders rave about this territory.  orly, i am not so sure.  the mozzies are vicious, puts me well off.  boaties are a bit feral too.  my strategy to pick up Caprmulgus macrurus is to search in the early morning darkness.  shit, i will need to buy a torch.  add it to the collection left back at the nest.  ok, so i bought a led lenser m14x, paid close to rrp.  troppo.  600 lumens on boost, illumination distance of 280 metres.  damn sucker ought to find those night birds.  well it didn’t.  i tried morning and night.  not a peep, no “took, took, took” calls.  i have seen Caprmulgus macrurus a couple of times in fnq, but i want to see it again

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east point.  good spot.  on my first visit to darwin i saw Pitta iris here and never returned.  L1020315  confounded, so go figure.  nts – i need to do this again.  did it again, but like the dockers couldn’t buy a Gerygone chloronata after half time.  two choices, rain forest walk or mangrove boardwalk.  gps  given for boardwalk

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holmes jungle.  my first time here.  i had been put off previously by reports of bmw* damage.  this time the call is too strong, i need a Cisticola juncidis  I went there first thing in the morning and again later in the afternoon.  L1020252i have given the cords for the best starting point in my view.  you can park right ouside the gate in full view of the passing traffic.  walk straight down the path and you traverse some great habitat.  no wonder people see Cisticola juncidis here, just not me.  keep looking* = break my window

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casurina coastal reserve.  beautiful, what a diversity of habitat.  imagine something like this in a perth suburb.  i would move there.  always something turning up.  L1020308Make plenty of time, explore it all including the mangrove boardwalk to the beach.  i heard a Pardalotus, swung the bins on – showing a big red dot between the eye and the forehead/upper mandible.  rubricatus?  could it be?  more likely striatus in these parts … but that red?  L1020311i will check my books (in store for nest rennos) and make a call – eventually.   pretty good chances of Passeridae around here , Neochmia phaeton, Taeniopygia bichenovii, Poephila acuticauda, Lonchura castaneothorax,  but unfortunately never Lonchura flaviprymna

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mcminns lagoon.  Whenever i go here it is always flooded preventing a circumferential stroll, but it is a really fab nature reserve.    L1020292One of my favs Myiagra rubecula was showing well.  Haliaster indus floating above the lagoon, a striking ave.  two sets of coords given.  notes are for the first, i never travelled the paths of the second but they looked promising to access the remote sides of the lagoon.  next time

 next territory probs going to be a pelagic expedition sailing from Albany