Cinnamon Quail Thrush near Alice Springs

Sunday May 8, 2011

While leading guided birding trips in search of centralian superstars Rufous Crowned Emu-wren and Dusky Grasswren at a site less than 50km from Alice Springs we chanced upon another special bird: Cinnamon Quail Thrush.

The site I was visiting for the Rufous Crowned Emu Wren and Dusky Grasswren is along the Santa Teresa Road not too far from the 'classic' site which features in the literature. I prefer to avoid the classic site to avoid fatiguing the birds there, and also because I have found my site be more consistent. As I'd prefer to reserve use of this site for my clients I won't be sharing its location publicly- sorry!

Until now the closest public-accessible site to Alice for this elusive bird is the open land 20-30km north of Erldunda on the Stuart Highway. Thick vegetation at this site resulting from our recent wet year has made numbers of Quail Thrush boom but also made them harder to find! The birds only call regularly at dawn so its a 2hour drive in the dark from town to stand a chance of getting these birds- until now that is. This new site close to Alice is a welcome development.

The location for the Quail Thrush given here is approximate- there is a large expanse of habitat along the roadside and we heard birds calling at more than one location. I shall include one of my (bad) photos of a male bird which I took as a record shot.

The range country along the Santa Teresa Road is rapidly shaping up to be arguably the best single birding location in the Red Centre, and it certainly reinforces my belief that the Alice Springs region is undoubtedly the best desert birding location in the country. Contact me today if you would like to experience this awesome country and be guided to the finest birds at the finest spots.

Location

Wildlife

Land Birds 5 species
Crimson Chat (Epthianura tricolor) 50 Small flock of crimson chat feeding near CQT
Rufous-crowned Emu-wren (Stipiturus ruficeps) 8 Family group in spinifex at hilltop site nearby
Brown Songlark (Cincloramphus cruralis) 6 Scattered through grasses
Dusky Grasswren (Amytornis purnelli) 4 Family group in spinifex at hilltop site nearby
Cinnamon Quail-thrush (Cinclosoma cinnamomeum) 2 Viewed 2 birds on 2 occasions. More calling across wide area.

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Written by

Mark Carter