Saturday, June 11, 2016

Grasswrens Are Hard

First the stuff that wasn’t particulary fun. Troopi’s original pop-top canvas was woebegone to say the least (or most, depending upon how you look at it). It leaked, and the windows did not fit or close properly. We found a guy who could replace it last week in Alice. He was a very nice fellow and when things took longer than expected, he let us park-up by his shop (he works from home). We had a shower and bath right behind Troopi, basically a free ensuite powered campsite. Very cool. But on our way for the final installation of the pop-top, our fridge quit running on DC power. Our new friend knew a guy. So we had an auto-electrician on it within the hour and fixed it! Crossed fingers as always, but I am very grateful!

Then Friday morning with our new roof in place, a fully working fridge and a new fuel filter and oil change (I did not mention that) we decided to drive out once more to Uluru. We are becoming familiar with the world famous Red Centre of Oz.

I made her do it (as much as I can make her do anything) but she was nice enough to pose with the sign.
This time we had much better (albeit much colder) weather. We were in pursuit of the Striated “Sandhill” Grasswren. We arrived in the park about 3:30pm, paid our $25 each cover charge, and gave the Grasswren a try for about an hour. They are historically seen to the west of the Sunset Viewing Car Park, but they were not around that evening.
Our gorgeous view of Kata Tjunta further to the west... what a backdrop to birding!
After a night in the very crowded, but really not bad, Ayer’s Rock Resort Caravan Park, we hit the Sunset Viewing area just on sunrise. We looked across the road west of the car park. And we walked, and walked and listened (well Lynn listened, I have rock and roll ears and pretty intense tinnitus). And then we walked some more and she listened some more.

A completely unposed photo of Lynn listening for the Striated Grasswren. Not a bad moment to capture... spinifex, Uluru and Lynn (this was before we found them).
After over three hours Lynn finally said, “If that’s not the tape. I hear it.” It was not the tape. Then… there it was. A Striated “Sandhill” Grasswren perched up on a dead limb for perhaps three seconds before it dropped down, disappearing into the spinifex. I got sweet looks before grabbing some quick (out of focus) recording shots, but I was damn grateful for those. 
Striated "Sandhill" Grasswren!

The Lifer Selfie with Uluru in the back. Awesomeness.
In my opinion, grasswrens are hard. We have now seen over half of them: Western, Black, Kalkadoon, Carpentarian, Dusky and now Striated. We have had some wonderful help finding a few, but this one was Lynn and me. We did have our indispensible Dolby/Clark book, and we had Mark Carter’s recommendation that we get our butts out there, but WE found them. Lynn’s ears heard and then found us another lifer. I did get to say, “That’s IT!” when I saw it jump up on the branch. Yes, I am very grateful!

Peace. Love. Birds.

RB Life List: 657
Lynn Life List: 638
Couple’s Year List: 619


  1. You are right Bruce ... grasswrens are hard. But of you want the Rusty it can be accommodating! Opalton.

  2. I want them all of course!


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