Adventures with Lorikeets

January 8, 2009

I was told that I should have been able to film Purple-crowned Lorikeets in other locations rather than Melbourne but I had missed them elsewhere so Melbourne it was.  A tip on the site Birding-aus led me eventually to PCL’s only about 5 km from my caravan park!

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 I spent several days with them before they finally offered an eye-level encounter that was conducive to filming.  At one point I was filming a group of them when another lorikeet species showed up.  It wasn’t until later, when reviewing the film that I discovered that I had captured some images of Little Lorikeet as well!  

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I worked flocks of Little Lorikeets for 2 days near Windsor in NSW but captured only birds way up in the treetops.  They simply wouldn’t come down!  Very very challenging!  In the end I made do with only okay footage but I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them.

Red-rumped Parrots and Musk Lorikeets

December 28, 2008

Okay well maybe Melbourne is famous for being modern and cosmopolitan and isn’t famous for Red-rumps and Muskies but it will always go down in my book as a great place to see them!

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Red-rumps are such fantastic little parrots and often quite trusting.  Females are so dramatically differently colored than their mates.  In parks like this one they have become pretty blase about people, and cameras pointed at them for that matter.

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Margaret River and Cape Leeuwin

December 19, 2008

I said so long to my hosts Brian And Vicky and traveled to the Margaret River area.  Beautiful huge forests all along the way.  When I got to habitat with scattered farms I happened upon a flock of Baudins or Long-billed Black Cockatoos.  They seemed shy and easily startled by my presence unlike the Carnaby’s I had encountered.  One in particular glared at me and fanned its impressive tail.

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From a tip I got from a fellow Bird enthusiast at Stirling Range Retreat, I learned that I might be able to see Rock Parrots at Cape Leeuwin.  I didn’t waste any time and was soon hiking all around the lighthouse despite driving rain and winds that would literally hold me up as I leaned into them. I gave up and decided to try again the following day.  

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This day was less windy but still raining intermittently.  Between rain showers I managed to find a pair of “Rockies” on the lee side of the headland feeding in the grass.  

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They were so cooperative that I shot over an hour of footage of just them alone!

Western Rosella and Regent Parrot

December 18, 2008

I didn’t have to look far for my first Western Rosellas.  They were easily observed in the driveway at Stirling Range Mountain retreat or in the surrounding forest only meters from my tent!  Regent parrots were a different story.  

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Shy and super fast they were most often seen ripping across the open country calling as they went with those dry throaty calls that are distinctive to the species.  Perched flocks or birds never stayed put very long so filming opportunities were less than perfect.  I loved interacting with this species though. I was startled how much the young birds resembled princess parrots in body shape and coloration.

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The Stirling Mountain Range

December 17, 2008

Leaving Perth this time I traveled 400 km to the South West and had the experience of a lifetime camping within the Stirling Mountain Range.  The hosts, Brian & Vicky Bilney at Stirling Range Retreat were super helpful and I got super looks at elegant parrot and Red-capped parrot as well. Brian & Vicky can be contacted here:  http://www.stirlingrange.com.au/home.html


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I had an amazing time  watching Red-capped Parrots at their nest site.  However,  this is where they offered a challenge.  They would only stare at my blind suspiciously and not come to the cavity to feed the calling chicks.  Rather than disturb them further I abandoned this approach.  As long as I kept a long way off I could observe them continuing to care for their young.

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As good fortune would have it, the following day I stumbled upon another pair of Red-caps, this time  feeding at the side of the road!  Using my vehicle as a blind created the filming opportunity I so badly wanted!

Western Corellas

December 14, 2008

On the return trip to Perth I stumbled upon a large flock of Western Corellas perched in farmland trees near the highway.  Of all the corellas they seemed to have the most human-like voices and their agitated cries sounded decidedly worried that I was near.  Finally they settled down and I was able to film!

WesternCorellacoupleblogreadyWesternCorellasingleheadloweredblogreadyAt first I was struck with how much these little cockatoos resembled the larger Long Billed Corellas.  However I noticed their movements were much more clown-like and hyperactive-similar to Little Corellas.

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Nallan Station and Bourke’s Parrot!

December 10, 2008

It was a real financial risk renting a vehicle for several days to drive to Nallan Station to search for Bourke’s Parrot.  I was to drive several hundred kilometers without even knowing for sure I would see this terrific little parrot.  Once I settled in at Nallan I was assured by a relative of the station owners that he had not only seen but filmed Bourkies as well!  Paranoid I would sleep in, I was up at 3:30AM the next morning and went roaring off down the dirt track.  

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I couldn’t believe how early the Bourke’s arrived for water.  The sun wasn’t even on the horizon and other species like singing honeyeater were sleepily giving their first songs of the day.  Meanwhile the Bourkies were skittering around on the ground in the dim light near the trough.   Fortunately they stayed around long enough for the light to improve enough for filming.    Their colors were so subtle beneath but extremely well camouflaged above. I was so overjoyed to spend time with the Bourke’s after missing them everywhere else.  What a beautiful little parrot!  

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En-route to Nallan I came across this family of Emus.  Its a good thing that this male has a lot of chicks to mentor as sadly some of them don’t make it while crossing the highways.  nallanstationemuouch

I understand how station owners might not exactly be thrilled with the big birds as I came across areas of barbed wire that had been rammed into so hard that there were big clumps of feathers left blowing in the wind.

Short-billed Black Cockatoo (Carnaby’s)

December 8, 2008

After I arrived in Perth I made the decision that I badly wanted to film Bourke’s parrot.  I missed it at Bowra Station in QLD so thought perhaps I would take a stab in the Mount Magnet area north of Perth.  What I didnt count on was the good fortune of finding a flock of Carnaby’s Black Cockatoos enroute feeding in trees right over the Highway!

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The Carnabys were totally engrossed in feeding on banksia.  It seemed to me they were enjoying the toy-like shape of them as well.   The adult in the nesting hollow was actually filmed in the Stirling Mountain Range southwest of Perth.

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Saying so long to the Kimberly Region

December 1, 2008

I traveled to the Kimberly region, then Broome and a bus to Port Hedland but unfortunately it was a bit late in the season to explore some of the hidden secrets of the Kimberlies.  I kept hoping I would run into some more Varied Lorikeets but unfortunately lucked out.  

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Okay its not Parrot filming but I just had to do the Camel Beach ride in Broome.  I reasoned I am not planning on heading to the Middle East anytime soon so why not?

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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