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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