Princess Parrots

To: "Birding Aus" <>, "BirdAlert" <>
Subject: Princess Parrots
From: " Moorhead Family" <>
Date: Thu, 8 Oct 2009 07:06:57 +1000
After a year's planning and months of frustrating waiting as others got a 
chance to get out to Jupiter Well as see the PP's, Jack and finally got onto 4 
after spending almost a week in that magnificent country east of the Canning 
Stock Route.
Specifically, they were 9 sand dunes to the south of the 44km east of Jupiter 
Well site....about 1.3 km's south of 22 45 32 126 58 19 at 1800 on the 29th 
Sept 09. We had spent the 2 previous days mainly around the outstation site and 
Jupiter Well itself...stacks of great honeyeaters and awesome lizards but no 
PP's. We then moved camp to the 44km site made famous by Jon King and family.
Fortune smiled on us when a large Brown Goshawk (probable female)  crusied 
between dunes a couple of dunes away to the south. We were on the highest dune 
with the large dead Dune Coolibah and large dead mistletoe in it (a bit of a 
landmark when you are there). We actually said to each other that it'd be great 
if she could kick up a PP for us. Seconds later she disturbed 4 whilst we had 
binos focussed on the goshawk!... amazing......They flew up about 10 metres and 
appeared to land again out of site behind the dune. We quickly crept up to the 
area (which took about 5 mins I think). When got there, we could see the 
grasses and tracks that they had been feeding on but ,alas, no close up views. 
Our diagnostic views were for only about 5 seconds at most and about 400m away 
I think. Next morning we went back to the same area with poor old Karen Blake 
(who had run out of dune-walking puff the previous afternoon) and failed to 
relocate them.
Special thanks to Don Hadden, Greg Little, Ian May, Frank Pierce, Don Kimble, 
Alan Stuart and others that I may have forgotten for passing on information 
regarding such a spectacular and elusive parrot.
A couple of points potential birders must consider before embarking on this 
type of trip.....It is remote, about 800km west of Alice Springs....about 1.5 
days if you are lucky. Although well water is fine at Jupiter and the 70km east 
bore, carry lots. It got to 38deg on one day. The GJR varies from good 80 km/hr 
sand driving to rutted 40km/hr gravel. There are hundreds of shredded tyres 
along the road, so good 4WD drive tyres are essential, plugger kits, repair 
gear and spares are required. Driving senibily and a bit of luck meant that we 
only suffered one flat tyre on gthe whole trip. The communities of Kiwirrkurra, 
Papunya and Kintore are hundreds of km's apart and would be of little 
assistance should you suffer a major breakdown. Fuel varies from 175 cents at 
Papunya to 280 cents at Kiwirrkurra. We carried 200 litres all up including 
jerry cans and only needed fuel at Papunya. EPIRP, UHF and Satellite phones are 
advisable. We took a day or 2 longer than planned and my wife in Bundaberg had 
just contacted the police to put in a missing persons alert as we drove into best to allocate enough time but it was good to see that our 
pre-planned rescue plan would have worked if necessary. Each day we saw 1 or 2 
vehicles but as Mike Carter will attest, there can be long periods of no 
outside contact especially approaching summer. We took a camper trailer with a 
diesel landrover discovery which was great apart from the kitchen falling off 
the hinges! (which required rewelding in Alice later on). All in all, 8000km  
for a 5 second view was worth it.....of course there are heaps of great 
reptiles and other avifauna, along with some of the most fantastic arid 
environments anywhere on the planet to enrich travellers on that journey.
Back to work today....I could do a Jon King and go back to thye PP's instead 

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