Newhaven - Princess Parrots and the Upside-Down Plant - Leptosema Chambe

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Newhaven - Princess Parrots and the Upside-Down Plant - Leptosema Chambersii
From: Carl Billingham <>
Date: Thu, 24 May 2012 03:22:03 -0700 (PDT)
Hi Angus,
Heading out to Newhaven from Alice Springs on Saturday afternoon we stopped at 
a nice bit of flowering mulga on the side of the road, and the first 2 birds 
sighted were - Grey Honeyeater!  We couldn't believe it, we had found Grey 
Honeyeater before even seeing our first Willie Wagtail for the day!  We stopped 
another km up the road and I suspect we had another 5 fly over in a family 
group but they were so fast we couldn't get a bead on them, however they were 
the right size, shape and colour.
The rangers at Newhaven controlled proceedings pretty well on the Princess 
Parrot 'tour', rightly so, considering there was a bus with 13 passengers that 
joined us!  Nobody was allowed to leave the track we drove in on.  Anyway, no 
Upside-down plants visible however there may have been some in the dunal areas 
out of sight.  We only(!) got a fly past of approx. 42 Princess Parrots that 
alighted in a tree briefly nearby before flying over our heads and out of sight 
over the nearest dune.  I did manage to get the scope onto them twice and got 
reasonable views and a couple of flight shots with the camera but what a great 
experience it was.
I noticed a Grasswren briefly twice bouncing between the Spinifex beside the 
track while we were waiting, it was fairly dark so I was unable to identify 
it.  I would appreciate anybody that gets a better view passing on the 
details.  I suspect based on the lack of rocky outcrops that they were Striated 
Gw however we were unable to see any tonal difference between the back and 
underside of the birds which means I cant rule out Dusky Gw, however it was 
still pre-dawn when I saw them so this may account for my not noticing it.
After our Princess Parrot morning we carried on to track down Rufous-crowned 
Emu-wren, a lifer for Kay.  On the way we had a full blood male Dingo in 
beautiful condition come right up to our vehicle and pose for a few photos.  We 
also got similar close views of a male camel and a Western Brown Snake. 
Unfortunately we had to return to Alice Springs in the afternoon but stopped 
off at the locations where we had seen the Grey Honeyeaters on the outward 
journey but alas we didnt see them again.  
Arriving in Alice just after dusk we saw Black-flanked (or footed) Rock 
Wallabies on the escarpment.  This was followed in the morning by some very 
photogenic Dusky Gw silhouetted in the morning sunrise, another lifer for Kay.  
Then it was time to pack up and head home - what a fantastic whirl-wind trip.  
I would strongly recommend Newhaven at the moment - the desert is looking quite 
spectacular.  I would also recommend Central Car Rental's who provided us with 
a brand spanking new Nissan Patrol and for an additional $15/day we got all the 
camping gear you could possibly need including swags, -10degC sleeping bags, 
tables, chairs, gas stove, cutlery, washing up bowl and a 20L container of 
Newhaven - Princess Parrots and the Upside-Down Plant - Leptosema 
from [Angus 
Innes]  [Permanent Link][Original] 
To:  Birding Aus < >  
Subject:  Newhaven - Princess Parrots and the Upside-Down Plant - Leptosema 
Date:  Thu, 17 May 2012 21:01:40 +0000 
What an interseting resource Birding Aus is!  
I raised  queries about the major sightings of Princess Parrots in the Newhaven 
Sation and whether these sightings could be related to the observations of Ian 
May in 2010 that a critical component of the botanical environment of the 
Princess Parrots appeared to be a stunted needle leafed plant - that Anthea 
Fleming quickly identified as the Upside-down Plants, Leptosema Chambersii . He 
said that the PP appeared to derive moisture or nectar from the near ground 
flowers.  (This was in a broader botanical environment of Desert Oaks and 
Spotted/Bloodwood Eucalypts, Spinifex and an orange flowered grevillea.) 
The following link and comment was received by me from Stephen Ambrose. They 
confirm the significant presence of the Upside Downplants on Newhaven. Stephen 
hoped to follow up with personal observations shortly.Stephen's references:
"Alice Springs Field Naturalists Club Newsletter, May 
2010 Pages 5 to 8 of the 
newsletter discusses a ASFNC field trip to Newhaven and
there are several references and a picture of flowering Leptosema
Carl Billingham is also heading for Newhaven this weekend and will give an 
update. Obviously plants do not flower continuously but, so far, the 
interesting observation by Ian May, that the plant appeared to be a critical 
component of the habitat of the PP  may be supported and, at least, cannot be 
rejected. "One swallow does not make a (British) summer". Does Leptosema 
Chambersii significantly help to make a princess?Angus Innes  

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