Northern Territory Trip 4 – (Heading Home) – 11-12 April 2018

After an enjoyable few days at King Ash Bay it was time to commence the journey home. We were running on a pretty tight deadline trying to get home in 3 days so there was not a lot of stops. With plenty of time I could have taken a month to get home 🙂

We came back along the Savannah Way and with still a bit of water on each of the crossings and lots of feed there was a bit to see. The first major sighting (perhaps) was at Redbank Creek Crossing were a bird that sort of looked like a Dusky Moorhen but a little smaller caught my attention. I snapped of a few photos before we got back under way.  Reviewing the photos at home I had some doubt about it being a Dusky so put it on the Australian Bird ID facebook page where opinions were split on whether it was a young Dusky Moorhen or a young Common Moorhen. I then submitted it to the Birdlife Australia Rarities Committee for review.  I am still waiting on a decision. If it is a Common Moorhen it would be the first recorded sighting on Mainland Australia and only the fourth in Australia including its territories overall. Personally I am split 50/50 so will not know until the experts decide. I have seen them before in Japan so it would not be a new bird overall for me, but definitely a new tick for my Australian list if it is a Common Moorhen.

Update – The consensus from the rarities committee is that is a Dusky Moorhen with unusual markings. A Common Moorhen would have the the whites on the tail join up to be continuous not with the black in the middle.

Moorhen – Common or Dusky? – Redbank Creek Crossing, Savannah Way, NT


One of the other crossings provided a good chance for a nice shot of a pair of Masked Lapwing.

Masked Lapwing
Masked Lapwing – Savannah Way, NT


On another crossing about 4 or 5 Mertens Water Monitor were capturing small fish that where trying to make there way up the crossing. Unfortunately in my haste I scarred them off as it would have been some great photos and videos.

Mertens Water Monitor
Mertens Water Monitor – Savannah Way, NT


That night we stopped at the Gregory River, it was almost dark by the time we got there so didn’t get a chance to look around, then in the morning we were gone first thing.  I was still hoping for a good Brolga shot so we kept a bit of an eye out with a pair appearing in some water beside the road.  They unfortunately took off as we stopped the car but I did get to have a quick look whilst we were stopped firstly finding a Rufous-throated Honeyeater, still not a great shot but it was good to get a better shot of the adult.

Rufous-throated Honeyeater
Rufous-throated Honeyeater – Wills Development Rd, QLD


There was quite a bit of activity around but without time to wait and be a bit more cautious it was hard to get close enough for any real good shots. The one bird I did capture though was my final new tick for my trip. Australian bird number 296 the Pictorella Mannikin.

Pictorella Mannikin
Pictorella Mannikin – Wills Development Rd, West QLD


A couple of more failed attempts to capture a Wedge -tailed Eagle and then as we approached the Leichardt River a group of three Brolga crossed the road. With a bank to hide behind I was finally able to get a good sighting although it was still pretty wary.

Brolga – Leichardt River, QLD


Other birds at the crossing included Black-fronted Dotterel, Straw-necked Ibis and a lot of Black Kite circling above. Again with more time I am sure there was more to see. The last sighting of note was shortly after the Leichardt River crossing where the plains had a standing water. In the distance could be seen large quantities of Straw-necked, Glossy and Australian White Ibis, Various Egrets and Heron and lots more, although at a 100 km’s an hour it was a bit hard to make many positive id’s.


Very quickly my Northern Territory trip had come to an end 2 weeks with 5900km covered it was a fantastic trip that I can’t wait to do again.  I got some great fish, got to see the beautiful Aussie Outback lush and green, and had some quality time with my old man. On the wildlife photography front with out any really hard dedicated effort I photographed around 60 species of birds plus a few other animals, managing 21 new Aussie ticks with potentially a first for Australia tick as well.


  • World Bird Count:  443
  • Australian Bird Count: 296


Birds Photographed:






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