The plains in the west of Deniliquin, said to be flatest on earth, is the home to endangered Plains-wanderer.
There is one peculiar(and cute) bird in Australia which has no close relative that it is placed in its own family - Pedionomidae. The Plains-wanderer (Pedionomus torquatus), found in inland grasslands across eastern Australia, is of great scientific interest as it may be an ancient member of Australia's avifauna, with origins dating back to when Australia was part of the Gondwanan supercontinent.
A strange looking bird greets us by sticking out its neck and tip-toeing. This female is as much inquisitive towards us as we are towards it.
The Plains-wanderer was once regarded as closely related to Button-quails but recent research has shown that its is closer to shorebirds. Superficially, the plains-wanderer looks similar to the seed-snipes in South America.
I will never forget the first moment of seeing this bird - A small quail-like bird standing motionlessly with its necked stretched. I wonder how I would able to find one by myself amid the sea of grass at night.
Seeing Plains-wanderer has been one of my top wishlist since coming to Australia. Its retiring behaviour as well as the plumage that provides perfect camouflage make the Plains-wanderer almost impossible to find without the help of experienced guide.
After trying for more than 2 years to fit my schedule and the best season, I have finally signed up to take part in a tour in December 2007.
Male Superb Parrot feeding his young. Superb Parrot (Polytelis swainsonii) is a Vulnerable species according to BirdLife International, due to its dwindling restricted and fragmented distribution.
Unexpectedly, this tour was quite an intensive birding that we had also seen a number of interesting birds, such as Superb Parrot, Australasian Bittern, Little Bittern, Little Button-quail.
I am very poor in owl so seeing a Barn Owl in broad daylight is really a surprise.
It was my first ever bird tour, although I had paid for some trips before but those were more for logistics. The tour worthed the very tiring and long drive from Sydney. It was not just for the ticks but also great companion with the tour leader as well as other tour participants. I would highly recommend the tour organised by Philip.
This Australasian Bittern really put up a good show. It hovers above us for more than 5 minutes!
This should be a juvenile female as it has some traces of neck pattern and reddish breast patch which is feature of female. Note that its upper mandible is dark which is a male (or young) feature.
Little Button-quail - female. Found not far from where the Plains-wanderers were found. The Little Button-quail is found in habitat slightly different from those optimum for Plainswanderer - Plains-wander prefers sparser grass.
This is how the female looks like when it is calling for its mate. She has inflated her neck so much until the neck is as thick as her body. This must be a rare sight as I did not expect it to perform some courtship display right infront of us!!
Other related links:-
Australian Ornithological Services (http://www.philipmaher.com/main.htm)
Information from Bird Australia http://www.birdsaustralia.com.au/threatened-bird-profiles/plains-wanderer.html