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Alice Springs and Ayers Rock Bird Watching

Author: Carl from Pahrump
Email: carlball@yahoo.com (More Trip Reviews by Carl from Pahrump)
Date of Trip: October 2006



Stay at least 10 days at Alice Springs -- in 7 days we didn't have time to get to the East McDonell Ranges.

Spend at least 3 nights at the Gem Tree Caravan Park (www.gemtree.com.au -22.968S 134.241E) 140 Km NE of Alice Springs for fossicking, gem stone collecting, star gazing, and birding in the Harts Ranges.

Stay at least 3 nights at Kings Canyon NP.

Stay at Curtin Springs if you have to go to Ayers Rock (once was enough for us).

Highlights of the Region:

Seeing thousands of waders and ducks -- including a Pink-eared and Blue-billed Duck - at The Ponds in the middle of a vast barren region (540 to 840 miles from the coasts).

Eating Br at the farm pond at Konuth Wells so we would be there when the Bourke's Parrots, Orange Chats, raptors, and other birds came for their early morning drink.

Being stopped by a wild camel on the road.

Eating camel steak at Curtin Springs Roadhouse.

Seeing Painted Finches and Spinifex Pigeons in the West MacDonnell Range.

Seeing Splendid Fairywren at Kathleen Springs in King's Canyon NP

Disappointments

ayers rock australiaAyers Rock and the Ogles were letdowns -- maybe we expected too much, or maybe it was the heat and flies. Ayers Rock and the Ogles didn't inspire or amaze us like the Grand Canyon, or the Red Rocks of Sedona, or Iguazu Falls. Given the difficulty of getting there and the high cost of everything there, we don't see how Ayers Rock got to be such a major tourist attraction. On balance, I'm glad we went, but once was enough for us.

Climbing Ayers Rock may be one of your Life Goals, but don't expect to see many birds there! Flies by the millions are very possible, even likely!!!

Birding Summary

Of the 129 bird species we saw in the Alice Springs area, 52 were endemic to Australia - 14 species were never seen again during the 255-day trip around Australia; that is: Bourke's Parrot Orange Chat Brown Goshawk Pink-eared Duck Chestnut-rumped Thornbill Red-necked Avocet Clamorous Reed-Warbler Slaty-backed Thornbill Gray-headed Honeyeater White-browed Babbler Major Mitchell Cockatoo White-fronted Honeyeater Mallee Ringneck Parrot White-winged Tern

Special Comments:

We left Tennant Creek at 5am on Oct 9, 2006 heading toward Alice Springs. Our first stop was the Devil's Marbles (20.569S 134.264E). We walked around the piles of granite boulders marveling at what a little water and a lot of heat can do. Many of the 1000-ton boulders had cleanly split vertically down the middle. Others had split horizontally and had weathered into what looked like one giant rock on top of another. We found a pair of Nankeen Australian Kestrels nesting in a crevice. It hasn't rained here in 7 months, so you wonder how anything can survive.



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