Newhaven Princess Parrot trip

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Newhaven Princess Parrot trip
From: jenny spry <>
Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2012 12:20:40 +1000
Hi all,

Back on the 7th of June Lorna Mee emailed me from the Hunter wanting to
know if I want to go on a trip to Newhaven. I thought about the offer for
fully seven seconds and emailed back that yes, I would love to go.

We met in Alice Springs a week later and Jim had arranged to hire a Troopie
and camping gear from Kevin Reid at Central Car Rentals. We thought that
the Troopie would be more than we needed but it was the only 4X4 available
and with a fuel capacity of 180 litres it was perfect for 5 days out at
Newhaven as we had plenty of fuel without worrying about getting back to
Tilmouth Wells to refill. The driving time from Alice to Newhaven, at
birdwatching speed and with stops, is about 6 - 7 hours. Tilmouth to
Newhaven is about 160 km.

The roads in Newhaven are good at the moment and the Troopies abilities
were more than we needed. All roads would have been OK for a manual
transmission XTrail, Subie or similar if you know how to drive in deep sand
but the corrugations would really shake them up and I would not really
recommend it. A small car would also need to take in at least an extra 40
litres of fuel over the standard 60 litre tank.

The campgrounds are wonderful and the volunteers keep the fireplaces
stocked with firewood and the bathrooms are spotless. They even have hot
water, hand towels and bathmats – how luxurious is that! We had rented
swags and it was the first time I had slept in one. The nights were cool in
all ways with temperatures around 2ºC and no clouds so that the stars shone
brightly. Early each morning we even had the crescent Moon, Venus and
Jupiter clustered together on the horizon. It was magical. During the days
the temp got to about 26ºC and there was no wind at all.

The Princess Parrots showed up in pairs and gave us some good looks as they
perched in front of us. They are harder to find now than they have been and
Peter and Toni said the reduction in sightings seemed to coincide with an
increase in the number of budgies. We saw one distant flock of about 20 PPs
but all other sightings were of ones and twos. Peter and Toni have now left
Newhaven so the guided trips have stopped but I do hope that some other
volunteer carries on documenting the birds' habits as Toni and Peter have
been doing. It would be a real shame if the work stopped just as it looks
like the birds might be going to nest.

Apart from the parrots, bandit Pied Butcherbirds in the campground that
tried to steal food from the table and the Brown Falcons that perched on
dead trees all the birds were extremely shy for some reason. It might be
because of the number of raptors; we saw 12 species during our visit
including Black-breasted Buzzard, Spotted Harrier, Little Eagle and Nankeen
Kestrel. My total species count for the 5 days was 56 but I did miss a few
such as the Peregrine Falcon as we drove out, the Cockatiels that did a
fly-over one morning and the Southern White-faces that were found by
another group of birders. Highlights, apart from the parrots, were the pair
of Grey Falcons that circled briefly above the car, the Hobby, Brown
Goshawk and Brown Falcon having a three-way dispute over hunting rights at
the campground, finding Banded White-face and Rufous-crowned Emu-wren, at
last, and finding more than one Grey Honeyeater.

The plant life is in wonderful condition and the birds all hide in it very
quickly once they see you. We saw thornbills and fairy-wrens all over the
place as they worked through the mulga and tall grasses but it was a
challenge to work out what they were, especially the fairy-wrens that were
nearly all brown birds. We saw and identified the Grey Honeyeaters twice
with thornbills and had about three other probable sightings. Western
Gerygone were also in the area and we had to look closely to make sure that
we were not getting them mixed up with the Grey Honeyeaters.

The Princess Parrots seem to be looking for nesting sites so hopefully they
will stick around but even if you don’t see them Newhaven should be on
everyone’s must visit list. Joe and the volunteers are doing a wonderful
job, the country is in good condition, the birds are plentiful and the
scenery is spectacular. Even if you don’t see the parrots Grey Honeyeaters
were not overly hard to find, the raptors are everywhere, the emu-wrens
were calling all over the place (but VERY hard to see) and there are lots
of other desirable arid-land birds like Orange and Scarlet Chats.

Back in Alice Springs we went out for a celebration dinner on our last
night. Lorna booked us into a Vietnamese restaurant out by the airport and
it was absolutely wonderful, as good or better than most Melbourne ones. It
is called Tinh & Lan Alice Vietnamese Restaurant and you do need to book.
The number is 08 89528396.

It is going to take me a while to work through my photos and get a longer
report on my blog but it should be done by Friday.



To unsubscribe from this mailing list,
send the message:
(in the body of the message, with no Subject line)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>
  • Newhaven Princess Parrot trip, jenny spry <=

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU