Odd bedfellows and Budgies on the coast

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Odd bedfellows and Budgies on the coast
From: Mick Roderick <>
Date: Wed, 5 Jun 2013 20:35:46 -0700 (PDT)
Hi all,
Thinking about Russel's email last week about seeing Swift Parrots and 
Olive-backed Orioles in Vic, my brother Steve and I had a similar "odd 
bedfellow" experience last Friday in the Cessnock-Kurri Kurri woodlands (about 
30km west of the port of Newcastle).
Like other coastal catchments in recent months, we had been seeing Budgerigars 
in parts of the central / western Hunter Valley, but we were surprised to find 
about 100 of them in open eucalypt forest near Cessnock last Friday. The area 
is an important remnant on the valley floor south of Kurri Kurri and is 
especially significant for wintering Swift Parrots and as a key area for Regent 
Honeyeaters (they bred there communally in 2007 and there were over 100 present 
last year associated with flowering Spotted Gum). Ironically, much of the area 
has been zoned for industrial development (but that's a different story). 
Anyway, there are some Swift Parrots present here at the moment and as Steve 
and I were watching the Budgies going to roost last week there were Swift 
Parrots flying above them. I so wanted to get an image of a Budgie perched next 
to a Swifty, but alas those hyperactive nectar and lerp-lovers wouldn't 
Then, an even more incredible thing happened, when a Spotted Bowerbird flew in 
and landed in one of the trees that the Budgies were in (see image on the 
Birdline NSW post for Friday last week). So we had Budgies, Swifties and a 
Spotted Bowerbird together...with a Chestnut-rumped Heathwren singing his heart 
out in the scrub below! There has been an unusual, small population of Spotted 
Bowerbirds present at North Rothbury (about 15km NW of Cessnock) for a few 
years now, but I never expected to see one in tall eucalypt forest with a dense 
understorey just 30km from the coast...let alone in the company of Budgerigars 
and Swift Parrots!
That afternoon we had also watched an Olive-backed Oriole pulling off a perfect 
mimicry of Swift Parrots and yesterday Steve heard a heathwren doing the same 
thing. Just goes to show how often the Swifties must be in the area.
Of relevance, there was an article on Budgerigars irrupting on the Qld coast on 
Radio National this morning. See the link below for the story.

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