Red Centre reaches new heights
The Northern Territory is known for its characters and iconic landscapes, but next week its birds will take centre stage when Alice Springs hosts the Red Centre Bird Week, from 19-27 September.
"Birdwatching tourism has a natural home in the Northern Territory with a large number of rare and endemic birds found here," Mark Carter, a wildlife guide with Trek Larapinta and the organiser of the event, said.
"The Red Centre itself is a haven for birds - they hide in spinifex, congregate around waterholes and hunt amongst the rocky ranges."
While a number of birding events had been held in Alice Springs in the past, Carter said this was the first time such a coordinated program of events had been put in place to engage both visitors to the region and the local community.
"A number of interactive and educational events will be held in and around Alice Springs to highlight the rare and endemic species of the region and make people more aware of the fascinating birds of the Red Centre," he said.
Both the Olive Pink Botanic Gardens and the Alice Springs Desert Park (ADSP) will play a large role in Bird Week, hosting a number of events and providing opportunities to learn about the local birdlife. More than 80 native bird species have been recorded at Olive Pink Botanic Gardens alone, including the Western Bowerbird and Grey Honeyeater.
Events include dawn birdwatching walks; workshops on getting started in birdwatching and attracting native birds to your garden; tours of the ADSP nocturnal house, with a focus on birds; the opportunity to watch wild eagles nesting through telescopes provided at the ADSP, and a race to spot the most birds in 24 hours.
"We really want to get the local community, as well as travellers, involved in these events and raise their awareness of the desert species that live in Alice Springs and its surrounds," Mr Carter said.
A full program is available at http://www.territorydiscoveries.com/experiences/bird-watching/
World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park, in the Northern Territory's tropical north, will also host a program of birdweek events from 10-15 October.