Princess Parrots: Wednesday group

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Subject: Princess Parrots: Wednesday group
From: "Steve" <>
Date: Sun, 28 Nov 2010 19:12:56 +1000
Hi all. Apologies for the late report, but I have only just now returned
from central Australia as I drove the trip. Last Wednesday I met up with
Nigel Harland, his wife Anne and friend Dougall, and headed out from King's
Canyon in search of Princess Parrots. Armed with our $450.00 permits we
headed out along the Mereenie loop for about 35kms to a point where we met
our guides for the day. They were, Douglas Multa, representing the
traditional owners of the land we were about to enter, along with three
other indigenous guides. Also present was Sam Rando and other
representatives from the CLC. After leaving the Mereenie loop we headed
North West along various tracks for about 40kms to a spot where we were to
continue on foot for about 500 metres to a place of known PP activity. I
probably should not give the exact co-ordinates because the birds are
breeding and, being on private property, I would have to check if the owners
were happy for it to be made public. Anyway, as soon as we left the cars  we
began spotting small groups of  PP's  and were immediately blown away by the
beauty and graceful flying style of the species. The long tail, almost like
a streamer, and relatively lazy wing beats, make the birds quite
distinctive.  The habitat was interesting: dominated by Desert Oak, but also
very large, old Marble Gums which the birds seem to favour, and in which, I
assume, they were nesting. It was not long before we came across birds
landed in the trees allowing a close enough approach for photography. We
spent most of the morning with these birds and it was a very special


At this point I would like to say that the people from the CLC went out of
their way to ensure that we got to experience everything that we were
expecting. As we were the first group to be escorted to the site, they were
anxious to get our feedback and to find out what we wanted to do with the
time available. We decided to spend the morning with the PP's and then to
make random birding stops on the way out. It was valuable to have the
traditional landholders with us, and our main guide Douglas proved to be
very knowledgeable about the birdlife. Without necessarily knowing the
Christitis & Bowles names for birds, he possessed the kind of knowledge that
can only be gleaned from a lifetime of intelligent and interested
observation, and was able to elaborate on interesting behavioural
characteristics of the birds we showed him in the field guide. Douglas told
us that it had been a very long time since PP's had been on this land.


Just on the question of the $450.00 permit. I suppose like many people, I
had to weigh up whether I could justify spending this amount on top of what
is already a very expensive trip. Let me just say that by the end of the day
the experience of a lifetime made me feel it was the best 450 bucks I have
ever spent! This money might seem a lot but it doesn't just end up in one
person's pocket, it's distributed in about eight different directions. And,
if it could contribute in some way towards helping to set up some sort of
permanent nature guiding arrangement for the local people, then I think that
would be a very good thing. The other thing to consider of course is how
much it could cost to see them at a later date. Anyway, this how I explained
it to the finance minister at home. You know how it goes: "Just think how
much money I'll save by not mounting an expedition up the Canning Stock


Finally I would like to thank all those involved, and congratulations on a
job well done! 


Cheers Steve Murray


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