Australian Ornithological Services Pty Ltd

Trip report

Darwin - Kakadu N.P. - Pine Creek - Katherine - Kununurra back to Katherine and Darwin

14th July-28th July 1999

Participants: Josie Pyle (Aust), Ida Giriunas (USA), William Bruni (USA), Alan Cowan (AUST) LoRaine Brown (USA), Phyllis Wilburn (USA), Ray Partridge (USA), Alison Partridge (USA), Margareta Bergman (AUST), Adrian O'Neill (AUST), Ann Sutherland (AUST)

Tour leaders: Philip Maher/Patricia Maher

Species seen:

  1. Emu: One bird seen between Cooinda and Waterfall Creek ( Kakadu N.P). The leader's first sighting of this species in Kakadu N.P.
  2. Orange-footed Scrubfowl: Seen most days around Darwin, maximum of 12 seen in a day; appear to be almost domesticated in the Darwin area in recent years
  3. Brown Quail: Few coveys seen in flight around Darwin, Victoria River and Parry's Lagoon near Wyndham
  4. Magpie Goose: Moderate numbers around Darwin, Fogg Darwin and Kakadu N.P., no large concentrations in these areas due to the good wet season and large expanses of water still present on the floodplains. Hundreds of birds present on Lake Argyle, some with young; also at Parry's Lagoon
  5. Plumed Whistling-Duck: Several hundred seen at both Yellow Waters and Lake Argyle, hundreds at Parry's Lagoon
  6. Wandering Whistling-Duck: Few around Darwin, good numbers around Fogg Dam and several wetlands in Kakadu (100s @ Mamukala), lesser numbers at Lake Argyle and Parry's Lagoon
  7. Radjah Shelduck: Few around Darwin, reasonable numbers in Kakadu including a pair with about 16 young of varying sizes on the billabong walk behind Cooinda. Good numbers on Lake Argyle
  8. Green Pygmy-goose: About 200 on Knuckey's Lagoon, very pretty in flight; reasonable numbers in Kakadu (Mamukala and Yellow Waters); also at Lake Argyle
  9. Pacific Black Duck: Few around Darwin and Kakadu, higher numbers at Lake Argyle, few at Parry's Lagoon
  10. Grey Teal:  Few around Darwin, higher numbers at Lake Argyle and hundreds at Parry's Lagoon floodplain
  11. Pink-eared Duck: About 15 on Lake Argyle and around 100 on Parry's Lagoon floodplain
  12. Hardhead: Few around Darwin; none seen in Kakadu this year; moderate numbers at Lake Argyle; four at Parry's Lagoon
  13. Australasian Grebe: Few at Knuckey's Lagoon, good numbers at Lake Argyle
  14. Darter: A few seen on most days of the tour on various wetlands, highest numbers seen around Fogg Dam and Lake Argyle
  15. Little Pied Cormorant: A few seen on most days of the tour, highest numbers on Lake Argyle where there were a few small breeding colonies in melaleuca trees
  16. Pied Cormorant:  Around 50 birds seen on Lake Argyle - the only sighting for the tour
  17. Little Black Cormorant: Few seen on various wetlands, 100s around Fogg Dam and good numbers on Lake Argyle
  18. Great Cormorant: Seemingly scarce, our only record being a flock of about 20 flying over west of Katherine
  19. Australian Pelican: Few around Darwin and Fogg Dam and Parry's Lagoon, largest number (about 40) seen on Lake Argyle
  20. White-faced Heron: One or two birds seen on most days of the tour
  21. Little Egret: Low numbers around Darwin and Kakadu. Large numbers present at Fogg Dam, none seen around Kununurra or Wyndham
  22. Eastern Reef Egret: Low numbers seen around Darwin, both white and grey phases seen at Nightcliff
  23. White-necked Heron: One or two seen on most days of the tour, often on small pools of water along roadsides
  24. Pied Heron: Hundreds of adults and immatures at Fogg Dam, lesser numbers around Darwin, Kakadu wetlands and Lake Argyle
  25. Great Egret: Hundreds at Fogg Dam, lesser numbers around Darwin, Kakadu wetlands, Lake Argyle and Parry's Lagoon. Few elsewhere on roadside pools
  26. Intermediate Egret: Hundreds at Fogg Dam and good numbers at Knuckey's Lagoon, Yellow Waters and Lake Argyle; few elsewhere
  27. Cattle Egret: Low numbers around Darwin and Fogg Dam; about 200 feeding around station horses at Lake Argyle
  28. Striated Heron: About three at Nightcliff mangroves and two on the boat trip on Yellow Waters including one intriguing individual who was using a dead dragonfly as bait to lure fish to the surface
  29. Nankeen Night Heron: One at Howard Springs; about 30 seen on the Yellow Waters boat trip; two at Bonrook Station; one at Dingo Creek
  30. Black Bittern: One immature  seen on Yellow Waters boat trip
  31. Little Bittern: One bird seen in poor light, at dusk, at Lake Kununurra; one or two others called in response to tape
  32. Glossy Ibis: Surprisingly, none seen around Fogg Dam or Kakadu; about 20 seen at Lake Argyle and about 100 at Parry's Lagoon
  33. Australian White Ibis: Low numbers around Darwin and Kakadu; few around Kununurra
  34. Straw-necked Ibis: Moderately common around Darwin and Kakadu; some large flocks around Parry's Lagoon
  35. Royal Spoonbill: Hundreds in a large flock at Fogg Dam; about 50 at Yellow Waters; sporadic sightings elsewhere
  36. Jabiru: Few around Fogg Dam, Kakadu and along roadside pools at scattered locations; about eight at Lake Argyle
  37. Osprey: Single birds seen on a few occasions around Darwin and two at Lake Argyle
  38. Black-shouldered Kite: Few seen around Fogg Dam and at Kununurra
  39. Letter-winged Kite: One bird seen near Fogg Dam, thanks to a local tip-off
  40. Black-breasted Buzzard: Eight sightings in all- one between Pine Creek and Katherine; one Victoria River; one road kill (RK), beautifully marked, pale, immature bird about 50 km west of Timber Creek; one Cheese Tin Creek, north of Kununurra; one Parry's Lagoon floodplain; one adult 25 km east of the Western Australian border; adult pair Snake Creek, 97 km east of  WA border.
  41. Black Kite: Common and widespread-hundreds seen on some days. Seen on every day of the tour
  42. Whistling Kite: Although not as numerous as Black Kite, this species was also seen on each day of the tour
  43. Brahminy Kite: A few seen, only in the vicinity of Darwin
  44. White-bellied Sea-eagle: A few seen around Darwin, Kakadu wetlands (nesting at Yellow Waters) and Lake Argyle. One seen carrying a snake over the mangroves at Charles Darwin N.P.
  45. Spotted Harrier: Only two of this spectacular raptor seen  between the WA border and Timber Creek, when an adult bird appeared to pass a snake to a juvenile or immature bird
  46. Swamp Harrier: Few on wetlands around Darwin, Fogg Dam and Lake Argyle
  47. Brown Goshawk: A few certain sightings around Darwin and Kakadu, greatly outnumbered by sparrowhawks, particularly in the drier country. A nice adult seen perched during the Yellow Waters boat trip
  48. Grey Goshawk: Two of the white phase seen in Kakadu, one interacting with a Red Goshawk near Cooinda, the other seen briefly along the South Alligator River near Waterfall Creek
  49. Collared Sparrowhawk: Moderately common, about 14 sightings from Kakadu to Kununurra and back to Darwin, identification uncertain in a few cases
  50. Red Goshawk: One sighting of what was probably an adult male along the billabong behind Cooinda. Some interaction occurring with a Grey Goshawk as the two species circled above us three times. The Grey Goshawk was later seen further along the Billabong but the Red Goshawk was not seen again despite much skyward gazing. A pair of Grey Goshawks is resident at this locality and has been seen here on many occasions over the last ten years. This was our first sighting of Red Goshawk at this locality.

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