8th-9th October 2014
Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia
Alice Springs, the only sizeable town in the central interior, lies in the heart of the "red centre" of Australia and is one of the most isolated towns on the planet with the nearest large settlements being Port Augusta, 1200km to the south, and Darwin, 1500km to the north.
With the presence of the nearby, eponymous springs the vegetation around Alice Springs is more lush than that found in the surrounding desert, making a habitable home for a decent array of birdlife and there are numerous good locations for birding around the town itself.
While it is also a little surreal, it always gives me an extra thrill to see animals I normally associate as being pets in their natural wild state and that was definitely the case when I came across a flock of about 50 Cockatiels near the old telegraph station. It's so much better to see them as nature intended rather than behind bars!
Cockatiels (Nymphicus hollandicus)
Galah (Eolophus roseicapillus)
There were a couple of active bowers at the Botanic Gardens with the males busy collecting "treasures" to adorn the entrance to their display platform. There was intense competition between the two males and at one point I observed the dominant male visiting the subordinate male's bower and systematically tearing up the carefully woven branches then stealing the other male's meagre supply of treasures to add to his own, already sizeable collection.
Grey-crowned Babblers were also regularly seen in the same area as the bowerbirds. These very sociable birds are almost always seen in family groups as they roam around the scrub searching for their invertebrate prey.
Australian Hobby is just one of several raptors that can be seen around Alice Springs. The individual shown below was surveying the area around a dry river bed for prey from the top of a nearby tree.
Common birds found around Alice Springs included Pied Butcherbird, Yellow-throated Miner and Crested Pigeon...
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