Thursday, September 27, 2012

Jabiru at Newcastle Waters

I don't know how many places like Newcastle Waters you pass on Northern Territory's Stuart Highway unaware that only a few kilometres off the bitumen lies magnificent birding habitat. I hope there's not many because I'm really disappointed to have missed them! I doubt we would have stopped had it not been for my brother-in-law Richard's "heads-up" about the place.

In a tribute reminiscent of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy's entry on Earth ("Harmless .... mostly") Wikipedia carries just three lines on Newcastle Waters including the sentence: "Newcastle is virtually uninhabited".

The Age Traveller supplement carries some more background here. It indicates that the water flows north from Lake Woods near Elliot (God knows how it gets there). I gather it is prone to drying out. On 25th July 2012 we visited en route from Banka Banka to Mataranka (gotta be a John Williamson song there!) and were thrilled to immediately spot jabiru from the car.

I have since learned that the female has the yellow eye! 
Having not seen any sort of stork before, I had only seen birds adopt these postures (above & below) in Northern Hemisphere story books! (& I'm not referring to the ibis here folks!)

Intermediate egret, stilts, jabiru .... heaven!
Setting the scene - the flavour is of a wetland which is drying out. It is easiest to park at the picnic area at Drover's Memorial Park.

White-necked heron just, well ... reflecting
Straw-necked ibis
Immature Whistling kite (gorgeously spotted)
Large flock of Little black cormorant
White-winged triller 
Black-fronted dotterel

Here's the Eremaea list of our little visit.

Bird On!

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