Princess Parrots

To: Colin R <>
Subject: Princess Parrots
From: Carl Clifford <>
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 2010 11:30:57 +1100

I heartily agree. You do not have to pay big money to see birds. I did not pay $150 to see a Gurney's Pitta, I only paid about 4-5 litres of perspiration and was greatly rewarded for it. I have only been one guided tour, some USD 4,500 and, with hindsight, I could have done and seen more by myself, with a bit of research and using local transport.

A guide is no guarantee that you will see a bird. It is up to the birds, not the guide, as to whether you will see them. Unless the guide is enterprising, such as the one who charges $150 to see a GP. I don't know how the price of meal worms in Thailand, but I imagine $150 would buy a lot and a GP wouldn't eat too many in a day. That would be a pretty good margin, even taking out the cost of the kid hired to place the meal worms in a prominent place, not long before the guide and the day's punters turn up.

I wonder how much Princess Parrot chicks go for? I think see a business opportunity here.


Carl Clifford

On 30/11/2010, at 8:47 AM, Colin R wrote:


I'm with Tony and Chris on this one. I DO agree that the local
indigenous population showing some interest as bird guides is a great
step forward - who better to offer this service? But $450? Get real!
That's sheer profiteering and won't win any long term support from the
birding community - I hope. In fact its a real pity that some people are
actually willing to pay that kind of money - it simply encourages this
sort of behaviour and there will be no turning back. Lets put it into
some sort of reality - to see Gurney's Pitta in Thailand one pays approx
$150US - for a bird that is down to less than 30 pairs in that country
(I may have the numbers wrong, but it is certainly much 'rarer' than a
PP) and is notoriously hard to see anyway. There is no comparison. It is
shameful that anyone, foreign visitor or 'local' is being ripped off at
this price for the pleasure of birding.

I would ask all of you considering going, to re-consider and reflect on
the impact this may possibly have on any guiding or birding anywhere in
Australia in the future - especially by the indigenous population. By
all means encourage their involvement, but at a realistic price.



On Mon, 29 Nov 2010 20:04 +1030, "Tony Russel" <>
I can't agree Tim. It's costly enough to even get there and back without being slugged for entry once you get there - and who needs a guide anyway
Far better to find them for yourself.


-----Original Message-----
From: Tim Dolby 
Sent: Monday, 29 November 2010 4:48 PM
To: Tony Russell; Birds
Subject: [Norton AntiSpam] RE: [Birding-Aus] Princess Parrots

I think you're being a little harsh Tony.

I think the cost is reasonable for a chance to see such an iconic and
to find species. It was not that long ago that Mike Carter resorted to
drinking radiator water when his vehicle expired on the Canning Stock
as he went in search of Princess Parrot. There are many species of birds
that are best seen with the local assistance of a guide / bird guide,
this cost not dissimilar from the costs charged by birding tours.

The money also provides valuable financial assistance to the traditional
land owners. Many conservation / birding organisations recognize the
importance of establishing positive relationships with local and
people. Creating sustainable livelihoods through birdwatching tourism for
indigenous people can have a real impact both on the lives of the
traditional land owners but also bird conservation. A recent example of
is the Kakadu Birding Project (see The
development of Import Bird Area (IBA) works along similar principles;
recognizing that working with local people and traditional land owners
has a
positive impact of local conservation.


Tim Dolby


on behalf of Tony Russell 
Sent: Monday, November 29, 2010 12:18 PM
To: Birds
Subject: RE: [Birding-Aus] Princess Parrots

Thank you John for this report and congrats on finding the PPs. However: I too thought about going but baulked at the excessive cost of a permit required to enter the restricted areas. $450 for a piece of paper which
probably took a clerk about two minutes to make out is not my idea of
good value, no matter what tick is at stake. Someone is ripping us off

I'll wait til the PPs appear on non restricted land - and if they don't,
well so be it, I'll go without.


-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of John Reidy
Sent: Sunday, November 28, 2010 10:00 AM
To: Birding-Aus
Subject: [Birding-Aus] Princess Parrots

Hi all.

Have just returned from a successful trip to see Princess Parrots near
King's Canyon NT. 5 of us (Allan Benson, Rob Benson, Alan Morris,
Margaret Reidy) booked through the Central Land Council. We met our host

from the CLC and three aborigines representing the traditional owner and

were led to a location off the Mereenie Loop road where the birds are
breeding. Initially it didn't look good as we were driving directly into

a very sinister looking storm front. It had started to rain solidly
before we arrived at the site and we had no choice but to get out and
search for the parrots. We were soaked to the skin, cold and a bit
despondent before our aboriginal representatives gave a yell and we saw
two birds in flight. These were rather poor views and we thought that
that might be it as the birds disappeared and there was no other
activity. But eventually we saw some more and after an hour or so the
weather eased up and we were eventually able to see the birds sitting in

full sunshine sitting on dead branches, giving some good photographic

At this stage we were all ecstatic with the views we were getting. We
saw all up about 20 birds.

We had travelled via Alice Springs where we hired a Nissan Patrol and
travelled south down the Stuart Highway and took the Ernest Giles dirt
road as a shortcut. We paid for this with a blow out. As it rained on
Thursday and Friday nights at Kings Canyon, we elected to return to
Alice via the bitumen which was a longer way around, but we did see a
pair of Bustards on the way.

A word of warning, the Central Land Council is taking legal action
against some people that have trespassed on their land.

Happy birding!

John Reidy
Phone 02 9871 4836
Fax 02 9871 2616


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 Colin Reid
So many birds, so little time......

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