After leaving the delightful Karijini National Park (see last post) we moved on to the bustling Pilbara town of Newman. Like the rest of the Pilbara we have travelled through, this place is alive with an abundance of personnel, vehicles and equipment from the mining industry.
We stayed in the Newman Caravan Park on the southern edge of town. This is the site that has been reliable for the past decade or so for the Pilbara Grasswren, split recently from the Striated Grasswren.
|Grasswren site, Newman|
As per previous reports, head for the far north-east corner of the caravan park. Proceed along the track (quite okay to drive if your vehicle has clearance) that continues in that direction for about 1km, to a distinctive point where five tracks converge.
Take the right track that follows a fence line. This track is between two ridges. I found the grasswrens on the ridge slope to the left of this track, about half-way up the slope, and about 150m from the five-track junction.
I searched fruitlessly for the birds over three hours on my first afternoon here. I checked out various ridges and slopes but the one above looked by far the best habitat, so that is where my focus was the next morning. I found the birds soon after sunrise, in a gully on the ridge slope.
The grasswrens were responsive to a tape of Striated Grasswren. I had three birds hopping about me; in time they were joined by a party of Variegated Fairy-wrens.
Other good birds were about. I saw an Australian Little Eagle and at least two Spinifexbirds.
Plumed Pigeons were also about along with good numbers of Painted Finch.
Grey-headed Honeyeater was also quite common.