It has been a few weeks since my last post, as my wife and I set out on a long awaited western road trip as a fitting end to my wife’s career as a GP, and to celebrate our wedding anniversary. It brought a shrill of delight to finally drive on the other side of the ranges to see a blue sky and sunshine after months of rain and dark skies, which by the way, are continuing here back home, as many suffer repeated severe flooding and destruction to homes, businesses, roads and infer-structure, unparalleled with our previous weather records.
It was an adventure into the outback to see some of the many birds we never see here on the coast and to enjoy different vistas. Many of these birds enjoy the arid, hot, dry outback (desert like) conditions, and are mainly species of parrots, finches, raptors and of course Emus. In the next few weeks I hope to share some of our discoveries and finally after 3 years of Covid restrictions some more lifers. Our target birds to see were the Blue Bonnet parrot, Budgerigar, Mallee Ringneck parrot and Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, however we did not see the Budgies at all, as they are somewhat nomadic and unpredictable. The more west we traveled, the hotter and dryer it became, and the redder the mineral rich soil and redder the sunsets.
As we travelled from town to town I visited many of the shops where my books are sold, as well as establishing new points of sale in many of the towns not previously established in the outback. We were delighted to see how the booksellers appreciated and displayed my books. One visitor centre had not realized they had sold out of my first book, so thankfully I carried some on board to resupply. Narrabri, Walgett, Lightning Ridge, Bourke and Lake Cargelligo have been added to my list of visitor information centres that sell my books, with a couple of others soon to be included.
By now you are asking “Where are the birds ?!” and rightly so, for these were our trophies from our journey. There were many cloudy days in our three weeks away and the elusive and shy members of the Parrot family made us work hard for our photos. We relied on tips from local birders to locate some. Our first lifer we saw, was the Blue Bonnet we hoped to see, and started seeing it in the Warrambungles area and later further west. It is interesting that this bird is just called Blue Bonnet and not Blue Bonnet parrot, though that is what it is.There are two subspecies, the Greater or Eastern Blue Bonnet, which is what we saw and the western Naretha Blue Bonnet found in WA. Click on photos to enlarge.
The Australian Ringneck (subspecies: Mallee Ringneck which gets it’s name from the yellow ring around the back of the neck) found in the outback, being named after the Mallee Tree which are prolific in the desert regions of the outback. being an aboriginal name for this small slender eucalypt. This was our second lifer. Though we only had two sightings of Blue Bonnet we had many of the Mallee Ringneck, as they fed from the seeds and fruit of the previous summer.
The Parrot family can be quite destructive to the trees they feed from, as they tend to bite off twigs to feed from or just for fun, often leaving a carpet of branches and twigs below. Cockatoos have been known to destroy verandas and other timber structures as they play and juveniles strengthen their beaks. This juvenile Crimson “Yellow”Rosella we also saw is a good example.
Here are some images of the Yellow Rosella feeding in the River Redgums. The juvenile lacks the dark spots on its primaries.
These parrots, unlike many of the numerous species found in our west, were not found in large flocks. Large flocks of Little Corella, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo and Galah were seen frequently. The other bird we were keen to see and saw on several occasions in flock, was the southern flocks of the Red-tailed Black Cockatoo. We had seen the northern species in Far North Queensland in previous years, but this was a first. These birds tend to roost and feed in the River Redgums by the rivers, which the birds, are so dependent upon. The rivers, such as the Darling River in Bourke make settlement in the Outback possible, as they get little rain, and depend on water flowing down the long river system from wetter regions.
The female and juvenile Red-tailed Cockatoo have white spots on the plumage and an orange-yellow barred patterned tail, whereas the bright red tail depicts the mature male.
Compare this male and female tail plumage.
The Red-winged Parrot was another commonly seen parrot, though we were not able to get a good look at the very shy more beautiful male.
The Pale-headed Rosella was another western bird often seen in pairs only. A beautiful member of the parrot family.
On the early stages of our journey we saw many Australian King Parrots feeding on fruit, and again mainly females and juveniles as the shy males attempted avoiding our gaze, but for the male below.
Here is a juvenile feeding.
The brief appearance of the Turquoise Parrot, another seldom seen bird both male and female. Sadly the male flew before I could get a better pic. The female lacks the red wing marking barely visible in the bottom bird.
One of the most commonly seen small parrots is the Red-rumped Parrot, always seen in pairs, as all of the above parrots pair for life, and are faithful in their relationships.
The ubiquitous Galah pair, found in large flocks all throughout the western outback, also a member of the Parrot family..
I do hope you have a wonderful week birding and enjoying the outdoors. We apologize for our absence from the blogging set, as we were out of phone and internet range for some time while away, and have been busy since. I will present more interesting western birds next post. If this is your first visit to my blog, a big welcome to you, and please check out the rest of my birding website for some helpful information. Also check out my unique books by clicking the photo below.
In my first book “What Birds Teach Us” I mention how that most of the Parrot family pair for life, and are faithful to their one partner during their lifetime, unlike the horny Eclectus Parrot which mates with any female it can find. I use the Rainbow Lorrikeet as a prime example, a bird found in large numbers on our east coast and also over the mountains, but not featured above.
Faithfulness and integrity is valued in all relationships, especially family and marriage. Broken trust in a relationship is the most difficult attribute to repair or heal. These parrots can encourage us as we seek to love and cherish our partners, family and friends. Relationships are important for all aspects of our lives. Healthy, loving relationships breed emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually healthy individuals and families.
We were designed and created for loving, faithful relationship: firstly with our Creator God and secondly with each other. We each need each other, because we do better as family and community. Jesus Christ came to earth as God’s human representative to reunite us with God who is our faithful and loving Heavenly Father. Jesus while on earth, proved God’s faithful commitment to us, even to the point of surrendering his righteous and blameless life for us, so that we can know afresh his love and acceptance in a new and lasting faithful love relationship, firstly with him and then each other. Explore for yourself and find out more about this Jesus by reading the easy to read NLT New Living Translation of the New Testament which is easily accessed free online at biblegateway.com. You may be interested to explore my Birder Sanctuary page for ways we can learn from our birds, remembering that Jesus himself was a bird watcher and mentions many examples in the Bible of birds in relation to our lives.