Friday, April 29, 2016

Top End ~ Part One

Catching up the blog is more difficult than I want it to be. I will continue, but I am skipping a lot of things that I would love to share. There is just not enough time to do the things and write about them (and edit the dang pictures). Anyway… let’s catch up as best I can.

In our birding of Oz, Lynn and I had had no joy of any Button-quail. Very many people have told us how easy Painted Button-quail are! Just go to this place or that place, but that is usually always after we are 500 kilometers away from those places. We have looked twice up around Deniliquin, NSW for the Little Button-quail without success. We went specifically to Inskip Point for the Black-breasted, but it happened to be the first weekend of school holidays last September and it was utter insanity of screaming kids, bellowing adults and roaring-rumbling 4WDs. We saw neither hide nor hair of any Button-quail. I plan to return this winter and try again!

I would recommend Mike Reed’s wonderful book, “Top End Birdwatching” to any birder coming up here. It is an excellent book. Robert and Edith (a friend of Robert’s and ours as well now) and Lynn and I went by to say, “hi,” to Mike and his wife, Anne. They are awesome people, who I would love to have had more time with. He advised us on a good spot for Chestnut-backed Button-quail. So… sort of bright and definitely early, we headed Troopi and Troopy out of Katherine toward Chinaman Creek. We went to the exact spot that he suggested and we did as he advised. Lynn, Edith, Robert and I walked “grids” to and fro through the grassy area where the Button-quail are known to be. We flushed them four times, getting excellent binocular views as they relocated (i.e. flew and disappeared into the grasses). Tick! I am SO grateful! Finally!

We moved on to Pine Creek and as most birders know, the Hooded Parrots are seen in front of the caravan parks there. They were indeed and they did not disappoint! They are now on our year list.
Hooded Parrots       
Sloppy Parrot kisses...

We headed north to a spot that Mike suggested as possible for Yellow-rumped Mannakin (still no joy of those!). Once again, we did not find them. Although we saw a very Zitting looking cisticila, but I reckon it was a Golden-headed.


On the way back to Pine Creek, we decided to make a detour to Douglas River Crossing by Douglas Daly Caravan Park. I had read on Facebook that our friend, Phil Lewis had seen several cool birds around there including Rainbow Pitta. It was way past any sort “bird o’clock” being about noon when we arrived. We parked near the river and began to look around. I headed down along the water and in moments I got to say, “I’ve got the pitta!” The others were in further, but came running. Soon everyone had gotten satisfying looks at one of the most beautiful birds in the world. I am so grateful!
Rainbow Pitta!

Yes, we had Lifer Pie in several forms and we had a lovely Lifer Supper the other night with fresh barramundi. More soonish. Sending much love from the Top End.

Peace. Love. Birds.

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