Thursday, 22 December 2016

Going South -- 06

I had one final stop on the way home. Hattah Lakes is a good place to see Regent Parrot and there had been plenty of Victorian Birders images and eBird sightings to excite the birding juices. I arrived in the Hattah Lakes Camping Ground about 9am to find all the lakes to be absolutely full. The entire red gum forest area had been the recipient of lots of Murray River water so there were some tracks closed and others where you were unable to complete a loop.

I slowly walked along the Bugle Ridge Walking Track from the Hattah Campground. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a yellowish bird, which I thought may have been a Australian Ringneck [Mallee] or a Crimson Rosella [Yellow], drop from a tree into the metre-high grass that had grown everywhere, watered by a very wet spring.

Crimson Rosella [Yellow Rosella] Platycercus elegans flaveolus
Australian Ringneck [Mallee Ringneck]
Barnardius zonarius barnardi
I couldn't see it or hear it so, bending over to reduce my height, I very slowly and quietly crept towards where I thought it had landed. After 10 metres or so, I was able to discern a medium-sized bird forging on seeds. Bins up, a good look and "Eureka", not a Ringneck but a Regent Parrot almost perfectly camouflaged in the grass.
Here is an example of the grass. Hard to spot a bird on the ground.
Regent Parrot Polytelis anthopeplus monarchoides 
The orange bill was the first thing to see.
Once she had moved, the rest of her was easy to see. I watched a couple in the grass for several minutes, then suddenly, there was a quiet alarm call and 12 birds flew up out of the grass into a nearby tree, still very close to me. I had no idea that there were so many in the grass. Talk about quietly camouflaged. They stayed there for 5 minutes plus allowing lots of time for observation and photos.

I was too close to get them all in with the 150mm end of the zoom lens.
Regent Parrot, male
Regent Parrot, female
I then found a pair of Spotted Pardalotes gathering material to build a nest. These are fantastic little birds, always a joy to watch.

Spotted Pardalote [Yellow-rumped] Pardalotus punctatus xanthopyge
This is a female. Brown spots on head and no yellow "bib" or breast.
This is the male with white spots on head and a yellow breast.

And last, but not least, the locally common honeyeater.
Yellow-plumed Honeyeater Lichenostomus ornatus

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