Friday, 10 July 2015

NT Road Trip 2015: Part 27: Newhaven

Newhaven Day 01 -- Mt Gurner

I arrived at Mt Gurner before sunrise and parked at the end of a track going from the main road south to the eastern edge of Mt Gurner.

The eastern flank of Mt Gurner
It isn't too high at all, about 200 metre above the surrounding plain. It runs east-west for the best part of a kilometre and has steep north and south sides and less steep "ends". I had breakfast then walked along an old management track birding away and at about 8 am headed up. The view from the top is vast with a 360* panorama and all those lovely outback reds, yellows, oranges, browns, greys, greens. Hmm. That is most of a rainbow but it is not "colourful" as such, fairly muted but serene and restful.

View from Mt Gurner
As I was sitting on top eating an orange, I looked to the south and noticed that, along the entire southern edge of Mt Gurner where it met the surrounding plain, there was a patch of acacia and grevillea in full flower about 50-100 metres wide and it was alive, in fact heaving, with movement and sound. Honeyeater Heaven.

The band of acacia and grevillea at the bottom of Mt Gurner
So down I went to have a look. I couldn't identify the acacias but the grey, holly-like leaves and abundant red flowers of the Holly Grevillea were evident to me.

Holly Grevillea Grevillea wickhamii
Grevillea wickhamii was named after the commander of the Beagle in Australia, John Wickham, who collected the species type with Charles Darwin during surveys of the north-west coast in 1837-8*.

And it was full of birds going every which way. Within 10 minutes, standing in the one place, I saw Singing Honeyeater, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Grey-headed Honeyeater, Brown Honeyeater, Black-chinned Honeyeater, White-fronted Honeyeater, White-plumed Honeyeater!!

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater Acanthagenys rufogularis
Grey-headed Honeyeater Lichenostomus keartlandi
White-Fronted Honeyeater Phylidonyris albifrons
Brown Falcon Falco berigora
Magic. f1500 and be there!

* A Guide to Plants of Inland Australia Philip Moore 2005

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