7 May 2024

Back to Oz and Swiftly back on the local birding scene.

We are currently in Australia visiting our daughter and family as Amy has the role of Maria in 'The Sound of Music' and we're going to watch her on opening night. We're also spending time with the grandkids who we don't see as often as we'd like seeing as the journey here takes 29 hrs door to door! 

They live in Chiltern, which is an old gold mining town, set in the beautiful Mt Pilot National Park and is a wonderful birding area. Theres a local Facebook page devoted to birding in the area and I joined it a few years ago when Amy & Jeremy moved here from nearby Wodonga. Over the last few weeks I've been enviously looking at photos being taken daily at a nearby 'dam' where the birds are coming down to drink. One species I really wanted to catch up with was Swift Parrot and up to 30 of these birds have been photographed coming to drink.

This beautiful bird is highly endangered with between 3-500 individuals surviving in the wild. They breed in Tasmania but migrate to south east Australia for the winter and flocks are highly mobile moving constantly in search of food and water. Australia is currently experiencing one of its frequent droughts and even though its winter the weather is an unseasonably warm 20C!

As usual on these trips my binoculars and camera travel with me and I was itching to get down to the dam about 12 minutes drive away. An opportunity arose the day after we arrived and thanks to some help and advice from one of the local birders I managed 2 hrs during which time up to 4 Swift parrots put on an incredible show.

Little Lorikeets and Swift Parrot

Many other species were coming to drink including Little Lorikeets and I probably had the best views I've ever had of these small parrots.

Last time I was over here in late December '22 through until the end of January '23 I caught up with another new species locally - Turquoise Parrot. See here. Whilst I was looking for the Swift parrots I was also lucky enough to catch up with the Turquoise Parrots that had also been coming down to drink - they deserve another blog post to themselves! 

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