Located south of the Alice Springs Gap, is the Alice Springs Sewage Ponds. Occasionally referred to as the Ilparpa Ponds and the Alice Springs Poo Ponds, this local sewage works is a popular and well regarded bird watching locations and attraction for those interested in seeing the different bird species that pass through Alice Springs and even those birds that may live in the area.
Located within the Alice Springs Wastewater Treatment Works or the “poo ponds” as the locals call it, the Pond is just 4 km south of the CBD. There are conditions for entry, including a minimum of two people, one of whom is a guide who has the key access. You can contact the Alice Springs Visitor Centre for more information as to who to is available to take you into the facility.
Details on how to get access are on the PowerWater website: www.powerwater.com.au/about/community/bird-watching
On the site there is a pdf download with map of the Ponds called Birdwatching in the Alice Springs Waste Stabilisation Ponds, https://www.powerwater.com.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/10123/PWC-Ilparpa-birdwatching-factsheet.pdf
There is an online safety induction video and you need to fill out a form to obtain the key. You will need to plan ahead, as it may take several days for the online form to be processed. Click here to view the link to the Power and Water Corporation online induction.
Over 190 species have been recorded here, including migratory shorebird and other notable rarities. Some of the species include Pink-eared Duck, Freckled Duck, Plumed Whistling Duck, Orange Chat, Australian Painted Snipe, Spotless, Baillon’s, Australian Spotted Crake, Red-knee Dotterel, Pied Stilt, Australian Pratincole, Black Swan, Plumed Egret, Chestnut Teal, Purple-backed Fairywren, White-winged Fairy-Wren, Pied Honeyeater. Only recently (in 2023) the Musk Duck has also been spotted.
Listed in the following:
- Black Swan (Cygnus atratus) (left) and Freckled Duck (Stictonetta naevosa) (right)
- Plumed Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna eytoni)
- White-winged Fairywren (Malurus leucopterus)
- Red-kneed Dotterel (Erythrogonys cinctus)
- Pied Stilt (Himantopus leucocephalus)
- Australian Pratincole (Stiltia isabella)
- Black Swan (Cygnus atratus)
- Purple-backed Fairywren (Malurus assimilis)
- Black-fronted Dotterel (Elseyornis melanops)
- Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola)
- Ruff (Calidris pugnax)
- Red-necked Stint (Calidris ruficollis)
- Red-capped Plover (Charadrius ruficapillus)
- Black-tailed Nativehen (Tribonyx ventralis)
- Intermediate Egret (Plumed) (Ardea intermedia plumifera)
- Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)
- Australian Spotted Crake (Porzana fluminea)
Listed in the following:
- Masked Lapwing (Vanellus miles)
- Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybrida)
- Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica)
- Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo (Lophochroa leadbeateri)
- Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia)
- Juvenile Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus axillaris)
- Black Kite (Milvus migrans)
As our interests diversify, many avid bird watchers may also sight some of the other amazing wildlife to be found at The Ponds, from reptiles, dingoes and insects.
Check back as we add some more images from the Alice Springs Sewage Ponds.
Footnote & References
- Alice Springs Sewage Ponds, eBird, https://ebird.org/hotspot/L956488
- Ilparpa ponds – Alice Springs, Power and Wataer, https://www.powerwater.com.au/about/community/bird-watching
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