Inland Dotterel, Erldunda NT - one of the most wanted birds of Australia's vast outback

INLAND DOTTEREL WAS ONE OF MANY EXOTIC SPECIES THAT LEAPT OFF THE PAGE of the historic book 'Shorebirds' when it was first published back in 1986. I was still a teenager at the time and didn't really expect I would ever see one, however, a lot of things have changed since those days. On the recent BirdQuest Northern Australia tour we had walked several kilometres searching for this bird, across the rolling gibber plains near Erldunda, when Janó said the magic words 'Inland Dotterel, nobody move!' and there about twenty metres ahead of us was one of the most beautiful shorebirds on the planet. I have a special affection for dotterels of any kind having spent so many hours with them but this is really special. Fortunately this bird was (apparently) a little less wary than usual and allowed us to approach it reasonably closely. One of the main tour highlights for me this was a very exciting moment! Like so many birds, never as good as the first time. Formerly called 'Australian Dotterel' I think its present name is much more fitting, although 'Outback Dotterel' would have been even nicer! Nothing is known about its present status partly owing to its vast range but it is always one of the trickier birds to find. Other sought-after outback birds also in this area included Chiming Wedgebill and Orange Chat.

Gibber plains near Erldunda