Archive for November, 2008

Heat and Flies But Fantastic Filming

November 24, 2008

I never got enough of watching Rosellas.  While Crimson Rosella is my firm favorite, the clearly delineated colors of the Northern Rosella, though more subtle, have their own unique beauty.

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Hooded Parrots were high on my list and one of the major reasons for coming to this area.  Luckily for me, they preferred rummaging around in the burned over areas near the highway.  The family resemblance to the rarer Golden- shouldered parrot is readily apparent.  These 2 young Hoodeds have decided that this white line on the bitumen needs to be made into a passing lane.

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Wedge-tailed Eagles like this one are impressive no matter which angle you look.  One of the delights and dreams come true was briefly spotting a single Gouldian Finch in Nitmiluk Park although I didn’t get any images of it.  I got to spend more time with these terrific little Crimson Finches however!

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Great Parrots in the Katherine Region

November 22, 2008

From Brisbane I arrived in humid Darwin.  I felt it would be more productive to head to the Katherine Region, instead of the more touristy Kakadu.  I chose Nitmiluk National Park  and Edith Falls.  Extreme heat with temperatures even in the 30’s at night, plus aggressive blowies made filming rough but rewarding.  At the end of the day I was so hot I swam with others in a huge pool at the base of Edith Falls even though it contained freshwater crocs.

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If I hadnt gotten my fill of Red-tailed Black Cockatoos on the Atherton Tablelands I sure did here.  I just love this species! Among the large flocks in general I noticed many trios of 3 birds.  They tuned out to be a devoted pair-bonded couple being accompanied by a huge chick.  Occasionally the chick would emit pathetic athsmatic  rasping cries for emotional support and/or some regurgitated tidbit.  An adult male with that dramatic crimson tail doesn’t always get a favorite perch!

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The hot humid weather caused many species like this Red-collared Lorikeet to simply sit still and pant in order to deal with it.  I could wish that Varied Lorikeets were so cooperative!  I wore myself out trekking into the bush after flocks in the heat.  I saw dozens but they rarely came down to land.  Mostly they just ripped across the sky in the direction of Katherine.  I suspect these were mostly nomadic groups.  The footage is pretty much cutting room floor but at least I got to see them.

 

A Unique Wetland and Blue Bonnets

November 14, 2008

One of the key features of Bowra is a permanent pond or small lake.  It is here that so many parrot species flock daily for their critical drinking supply.  Flocks of budgies are not the only species to thrive here.  Shorebirds fit right in as well.

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I discovered this pair of blue bonnets (my first decent look at the species) trying to escape the afternoon heat quite by accident.  Once they adjusted to me and the camera they stayed put for a very long time.  

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I stayed 2 extra days at Bowra combing the hot dry habitat on foot hoping to flush Bourke’s Parrot.  Despite Ian’s tips I saw none and felt this was a species I simply had to write off as far as filming went.

A Parrot Paradise

November 13, 2008

Bowra station is so well known that even authors of books on Parrots such as Dr. Joseph Foreshaw and other parrot researchers from around the globe come here to enjoy its remote beauty.  I stayed in a rustic shearers quarters and would drift off to the sound of over a thousand Budgies perched in a gum tree outside my window.

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I had a brief glimpse of a pair of Major Mitchells as I drove past St. George enroute to the little town of Cunumulla.  My heart was in my throat hoping they would land somewhere I could film them but they took off into the distance.  I shouldn’t have worried because I saw several MM’s at Bowra.  So elegant whether drinking or like this bird feeding at super close range!

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This is one of those species in Australia that was high on my list to see and film.  In all honesty I would have been very disapointed if I hadnt seen at least a fleeting view. My time at Bowra was stellar!  Ian, the station owner, told me during a drought he once saw over 100 major mitchells coming to one of his water troughs!

Outback Queensland – Bowra Station

November 12, 2008

I had heard so many things about Bowra Station being a phenomenal place to view parrots I just had to contact Julie and Ian McLaren and arrange a time to be there at their place.  On the drive out I saw my first and last King brown snake (actually I ran over the poor thing).  I also saw my first Little Corellas and Cockatiels.

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I was surprised at how graceful wild cockatiels were in flight.  Graceful and composed.  Hardly the frightened stressed, or bored birds one sees in cages and aviaries in North America.  This  male is keeping one eye on me and the other on his curious chick still in the nest cavity.

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