9 May 2024

The colour Turqouise

The dam thats been attracting the Swift parrots has also been attracting good numbers of Turquoise Parrots. These have a restricted range and are found in N E Victoria where our daughter and her family live. During the 1920's they were considered extinct by many people. This rapid demise was largely due to changes in the parrots preferred habitats due to widespread woodland clearances and the loss of native grasses and herbs, the seed heads of which they feed on, due to stock grazing andplauges of introduced rabbits. The Turquoise Parrot was also indiscriminately trapped for the cage bird trade.

Around the 1950's and 1960's the population began to grow again and where we are currently living in Chiltern is in the centre of their current stronghold. Even so they're pretty difficult to see as they're generally quiet and not as raucous as some other species. They're also very small! 

As with all seed eaters they need to drink regularly and in times of severe rainfall deficiency will join other groups of birds in visiting favoured watering spots! In this case a dam just a few minutes drive away along very dry dusty and potholed track. More suitable for my Landrover Defender back home than the hire companies Mazda!

After only seeing my 1st Turquoise Parrot in December 2022 I was really pleased to hear that a few were coming down to drink at the dam on a regular basis and was hopeful that I'd be reacquainted with this beautiful little parrot. Sitting quietly with our backs against some trees we watched as at least 5 Turquoise Parrots came down to drink.

A fantastic experience and one I'll remember for a long time. As well as the Turquoise Parrots the water was attracting a wide range of honeyeaters including a very brief visit by an out of range White-fronted Honeyeater first seen a few days before we arrived. A more familiar, but non the less attractive, was a male Flame Robin. 

Australian birds certainly have the capacity to burn the retina - especially when jet-lagged!
After I'd left one of the guys I'd met up with found a pair of Pink Robins further up the track. Another iconic species that, although I've seen before, gives me an excuse to go back and search for along with the elusive White-fronted Honeyeater.

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