|Letter-winged Kite roost at sunrise|
Following our visit to Diamantina National Park, we (myself, Bernie O'Keefe and Scott Baker) headed west towards Boulia, turning south at Springvale Station towards Coorabulka Station. Having had some excellent encounters with Grey Falcon, we were looking forward to another raptor treat. A gathering of Letter-winged Kites had been reported recently (I believe Jannette Manins first found them) at Whitewood Creek, between Coorabulka and the Kennedy Developmental Road.
We had no trouble finding the kites in the early afternoon upon arrival (4/7). A total of 16-17 birds, including a couple of immatures, circled high in the air, evidently riding wind currents; the behaviour seemed unusual for this species, especially at that time of day. They soon landed in stunted coolibah trees lining the gully, which was surrounded by sparse Mitchell grass and gibber plains. We found widely scattered nests along about 1.5km of the gully that clearly had been used in recent times.
|Letter-winged Kite nest|
|Letter-winged Kite site|
Plenty of Little Crows were about here.
It's good news indeed that Letter-winged Kites are again being seen in this region. They were regular in that part of the world but had been largely absent over the past couple of decades. The species generally is in steep decline, most likely due to the predation of nesting adults and chicks by feral cats. We camped at the site and that evening spotlighted 40km to the north and south along the road. We were delighted to find a Kowari, notwithstanding the sole poor image I managed.
We found a Gibberbird on the road at night. The following morning, after farewelling the kites at their roost, we continued south, finding another Gibberbird before connecting with the Diamantina Developmental Road.
|Gibberbird at night|
We stopped at a few spots along the way, connecting with Cinnamon Quail-thrush, Purple-backed Fairywren, Australian Pratincole and a nice roadside Wedge-tailed Eagle (among others) before arriving in Birdsville.
|Grasswren dune near Birdsville|
|Orange Chat male|
|Orange Chat female|
|Getting out a sticky situation - Pandiburra Bore track|
|Eastern Tree Dtella|
|Flinders Ranges from Stokes Hill|