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Australian Ornithological Services

Alice Springs Birding Tour

22 to 30 April 2017
Now with a day added for the Sandhill Grasswren Amytornis oweni

Pre-tour day
22 April 2017
Overnight: Alice Springs

Day 1
23 April 2017
We will start this tour by tackling the difficult skulkers first. We'll bird the spinifex- covered hills southeast of Alice for dusky grasswren, rufous-crowned emu-wren and spinifexbird and we'll endeavour to obtain good views of all three. If we have been successful in our skulker quest, we'll call in at the Alice Springs waste treatment ponds, which can be good for a variety of ducks and other waterfowl. Red-necked avocet and red-kneed dotterel and crake species are possible.

Overnight: Alice Springs

Day 2
24 April
Our best chance for grey honeyeater, Australia's plainest and most difficult honeyeater, is in the mulga country northwest of Alice. Other rarities here include slate-backed thornbill and Bourke's parrot as well as a host of more common passerines — such as crested bellbird, hooded and red-capped robins, splendid fairywren and inland and chestnut-rumped thornbills. Further out in the open country we have a chance for banded lapwing and ground cuckoo-shrike. 

Overnight: Alice Springs

Day 3
25 April
Alice Springs to Glen Helen Lodge

Heading out of Alice, we'll bird the West MacDonnell Ranges. We'll be on the lookout for western bowerbird, western ringneck, spiny-cheeked and grey-headed honeyeaters, white-browed and grey-crowned babblers, zebra finch, diamond dove, Major Mitchell's cockatoo and spinifex pigeon around geological wonders such as Simpson's Gap, Ellery Creek Big Hole and the Ochre Pits. 

Overnight: Glen Helen Lodge

Day 4


26 April
Glen Helen to Alice Springs

We will visit the magnificent Ormiston Gorge and surrounding area this morning. Here we have another opportunity for those skulkers: dusky grasswren, rufous- crowned emuwren and spinifexbird. Also, we have our best chance for painted finch and spinifex pigeon. Pied and black honeyeaters are also a possibility in this area, as are budgerigars, white-browed and masked woodswallows; and as always, we'll be on the look out for grey falcon.
Overnight: Alice Springs

Day 5

27 April
Alice Springs to Erldunda
Today we travel south of Alice to bird the more open mulga and saltbush country towards Erldunda. The rainfall drops as we head south and the country becomes more desert like. Our first stop may be in the acacia woodland not far from Alice where we have a chance for white-browed treecreeper. This could also be a backup spot for grey honeyeater if we have missed this elusive species on the Tanimi Road. Further south in open saltbush country we have opportunities for banded whiteface and white-winged fairywren . If seasonal conditions are suitable nomadic species such as orange chatt, inland dotteral and banded lapwing may also be present. In the acacia scrub closer to Erldunda we will start looking for the secretive chiming wedgebill. If it is dry it can take considerable effort to obtain satisfactory views of this rascal. Conversely, if there has been rain it may come easy. If nighttime temperatures are warm enough, we could spotlight tonight for some of the beautiful geckos that inhabit the sanddune country.
Overnight: Erldunda

Day 6
28 April 2017
Erldunda to Yulara and return
We will have an early start this morning as we have a long drive today. Our main target today is the recently split (from striated grasswren) sandhill grasswren Amytornis oweni. This delightful species inhabits the sanddune country in the vicinity of Yulara near Uluru. We will devote as much time as we have searching for this elusive and desirable species. Other species we may encounter, if seasonal conditions are favourable, include pied and black honeyeaters, crimson chat, masked woodswallow and budgerigar.
Overnight: Erldunda

Day 7
29 April 2017
Erldunda to Alice Springs
We will have a more relaxed day today as we make our way back to The Alice. Species to be on the lookout for today include Major Mitchell's cockatoo and red- tailed black-cockatoos. We will also have more time to look for nomadic species like pied and black honeyeaters, crimson chat, masked and black-faced woodswallows, budgerigar and white-winged triller. The black-capped form of varied sittella may also be encountered in the desert oak country. If daytime temperatures are high enough the delightful thorny devil may also be seen in the sanddune country.
Overnight: Alice Springs

Day 8
30 April 2017
Tour finishes after breakfast.

Cost: $4,570.00 AUD per person, twin share.
Single supplement: $640.00 AUD

Cost includes accommodation from pre-tour (22 April) to and including the last night (29 April), meals from breakfast from first day (23 April) to breakfast on morning of 30 April; land transport, guiding and park entrance fees.

Limited to eight participants.

2016 Alice Springs trip report

2014 Alice Springs tour notes

2013 checklist of species seen

2012 checklist of species seen

2012 Alice Springs tour photos

2011 checklist of species seen

2010 checkist of species seen

2010 trip report

2010 Alice Springs tour photos

2009 checklist of species seen

2009 Alice Springs tour photos

 

Tour leaders: Philip Maher & Patricia Maher

© AOS P/L 2016 
www.philipmaher.com