Princess Parrot update

To: "'Birding Aus'" <>
Subject: Princess Parrot update
From: "Alan Stuart" <>
Date: Fri, 28 Aug 2009 08:32:02 +1000
Four of us (Ann Lindsey, Margaret Cameron, Peter Phillips, Alan Stuart) have
just returned from a visit to the area around Jupiter Well searching for
Princess Parrots, eventually successfully.  Originally we had planned to
make this trip in late September but following the posts by Jon King of
sightings of flocks of Princess Parrots there in late June and July we
brought our trip forward a month.  That probably was a wise decision.


Unlike the situation in June/July, the only plants in the area that were in
blossom were the honey grevilleas (which still had substantial blossom) plus
some of the smaller shrubs.  Honeyeaters, including Pied and Black
Honeyeaters, were present in reasonable numbers, and also lots of
Budgerigars and Crimson Chats.  We also saw numerous raptors.


We arrived in the sand dune country to the west of Kiwirrkurra on the
morning of Thursday 20 August, and departed early afternoon on Sunday 23rd.
We searched the sand dunes in the locations where Jon's party had found
Princess Parrots, and at many other locations also.  In general we had few
signs of the current presence of any Princess Parrots.  We did note some
footprints in the sand dunes especially at the location 44km east of Jupiter
Well, where Jon King had found many birds.  However, most of these seemed to
be old footprints.


Just on 9:00 a.m. on August 22,  we stopped at a location (S 22deg 47' 10"
E 126deg 47' 48") which is  4.3 km east of the Outstation communication
tower.  Just as we were setting off, a flock of 5 Princess Parrots flew
directly overhead, no more than 10m above us and calling as they passed.
These birds were flying SSE.  We could not tell if they had come up from the
swale behind the dune closest to the road, or from further afield.  We set
off in pursuit and for the next 45 minutes we had occasional sightings of
distant birds and of some additional small flocks, which were combining and
ultimately there was a flock of at least 12 birds that we could see.  By
this time the birds were ~2.5 km SSE from the road and we were lagging a
long way behind.  We had no further sightings of them despite scanning with
telescope for some time.


That afternoon, from the same 4.3km point, we took up vantage points in the
dunes and watched for ~3 hours from 3:30, to see if any birds flew back
over.  A distant call was heard late in the vigil but we did not see any
more birds.  On the morning of August 24, we were in position again from
8:30 to 10:00 but we had no confirmed sightings of any birds present in the


We perhaps we fortunate to have the one encounter with these rare birds!


We tried the water at the bores at Jupiter Well, the Outstation and the
Solar Bore (the latter being ~70km east of Jupiter Well).  For us, all three
bores had reasonable quality drinking water and we made good use of them.


Alan Stuart


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