Good to be red-faced
Saturday March 20, 2010
[From the trip COLUMBIDAE - Darwin and Kakadu 03/10]
This morning we got up before the sun at the Quality Frontier to the sound of Green-backed Gerygones, northern Double-barred Finch and Rufous-throated Honeyeater. Unfortunately we could not find any gerygones for Karen and so we had breakfast and headed towards Kakadu. Along the Arnhem Hwy we sadly found a dead male Rufous Owl by the side of the road. Other birds here included; Varied Lorikeet, Brush Cuckoo and nesting White-gaped Honeyeaters while we fixed a car fuse. From here we drove along until we reached Marrakai Track. Here we spent about 2 hours searching unsuccessfully for Chestnut-backed Button-quail. The grass appeared too long and thick for them except for right on the road verges. At the start of the track (a good gravel road) we had good views of Zitting Cisticola and an Australian Hobby. Sightings further down the road included Varied Lorikeet, Lemon-bellied Flycatcher and Yellow Oriole. We then left after our first dip for the trip. The next stop was during the middle of the day at the Bird Billabong carpark. Here Karen had her first Masked Finch. On the drive out from Bird Billabong we had a large flock of birds with all appearing to be chasing insects. These included; Little Eagle (1), Whistling Kite (14), Black Kite (6), Australian Hobby (1), Dollarbird (4), Rainbow Bee-eater (2) and White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike (1). We then left and arrived at Jabiru at around 2:30pm. Here we checked into Kakadu Lodge and went out to the Lake and did the walk around it. Highlights here were; Bar-breasted Honeyeater, Yellow Oriole and Barking Owl. When we were about to get back into the car we met two German birders who had seen Partridge Pigeon at the Visitor Centre; we were out there in 5 minutes. We walked around the Bowali Visitor Centre for a while seeing a single Orange-footed Scrubfowl. When we got back in the car, Dad was just saying that we might have to actually work to see this pigeon when a PARTRIDGE PIGEON walked up to the car almost saying ‘who me?’. It seemed determined to cross the carpark and we were directly in its way so it walked under-neath the car. They are a magnificent pigeon with a stunning red face. The mainly brown colour is very nice with the standout white shoulder. After this we went back to the lodge and had dinner around the pool. A Bush Stone-curlew was also seen there.