Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Outback - Part 2
So we turned round and headed back towards Port Augusta, where we would camp before heading up the Stuart Highway to Alice Springs, the red centre. Next morning dawned drizzly, so we called in to the Arid Lands Botanical Garden in the hope that the weather would clear for our long drive North. The birds were keeping their heads down, but we did see this Pallid Cuckoo, and on the way out a nice group of Sturt's Desert Pea, South Australia's national flower. As we continued north, the skies cleared and the desert was blooming. The drive to Alice Springs takes two days to complete comfortably (allowing for birding along the way)and the highway is long, straight and can be very boring. We saw lots of raptors along the way, with more Wedge-tailed Eagles and some Brown Falcons posing nicely in trees along the verge. We were soon in new territory, which comes with the added benefit of new birds. We stopped at a few spots, including one just short of the Northern Territory border where I saw a Bourke's Parrot, a real icon of the red centre. In the drier areas, our common Superb Fairywren is replaced by White-winged Fairywren. I didn't manage a shot of the stunning male, but this is the first time I have photographed the female. Carrying on to "the Alice", the weather deteriorated again, and we finally arrived after dark, in persistent drizzle, looking forward to new birds in the morning!!