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News from Mount Isa

Rex Whitehead | Guest Contributor

We were fortunate enough to have received good rainfall at my place, by the end of February this year (2024): 15 inches in the old scale. While there was no local flooding, there were some good flows in the Leichhardt River. Lake Moondarra was at over 80% capacity.

There has been some good recovery of the vegetation following last year’s wild fires. However, the Spinifex, which is the cover and habitat for the Grasswrens, will take years to recover. Fortunately, a spot I have been visiting for some time was spared by the fires, and Kalkadoon Grasswrens are still in residence there. I haven’t been out as yet to check on the Carpentarian Grasswrens.

While following the rain, and with so much surface water around the area (especially in the Channel Country), most of the waterbirds including the migratory waders left my area to go to the fresher waters, which would be full of food. But, no doubt they will be back, when the outer areas dry up. I have still been seeing some Wood Sandpipers, along with the occasional Marsh Sandpiper, at the Isa Horse paddocks.

Marsh Sandpiper. Photo by Rex Whitehead.
Pectoral Sandpiper. Photo by Rex Whitehead.

I have noticed that the Chestnut-breasted Mannikins have started to breed in the clumps of Buffel Grass which have shot up following the good rains we have had. I have seen good numbers of Long-tailed Finches and Pictorella Mannikins around, so hopefully, they have joined the breeding cycle too.

Chestnut-breasted Mannikin. Photo by Rex Whitehead.
Chestnut-breasted Mannikin nest. Photo by Rex Whitehead.
I noticed the Rainbow Bee-eaters have also bred, as there are many juveniles around at the moment. Photo by Rex Whitehead.

And I have seen a covey of Brown Quail with chicks.

The wild passionfruit is fruiting, giving the Red-winged Parrots a good food source. Photo by Rex Whitehead.

The resident pair of Black-shouldered Kites is still around. I noticed the female made a kill the other day. The male was looking at her devouring it, as if to say, where is my bit?

It didn’t take the male Black-shouldered Kite long to go off and look for his own meal, allowing me to get some good hovering shots of him. Photo by Rex Whitehead.

An unusual coloured House Sparrow has been visiting my place on occasions. I have included an image of him below.

The unusual coloured House Sparrow that has been visiting my place occasionally. Photo by Rex Whitehead.

I hope to do a couple of trips this year, once the weather settles down: not sure in which direction yet. There are so many birds on my bucket list. I feel that being in my 80s, time is starting to run out. Ha Ha.

Cheers from Mount Isa, and good birding.


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