John's Night Parrot success

Subject: John's Night Parrot success
From: Lloyd Nielsen <>
Date: Sat, 29 Jun 2013 18:22:33 +1000
It is gratifying to see the positive reaction to John's Night Parrot find. I have had the pleasure and privilege of viewing many of the photographs and video of the parrot. I have also been privileged along the way to the details of John's ongoing search for the Night Parrot which started about 10 years or more ago, even accompanying him on a couple of trips to the area. Consequently, I am well aware of the monumental effort, the many, many trips to that far western Queensland country and the huge accumulated monetary cost to him of the ongoing project. It was much more than by a "lucky break" or by a casual spotlighting excursion. It came about only by an extremely dedicated, never-give-up effort over that time. The Night Parrot must be the toughest of all Australian birds to run to earth, let alone photograph.

John and I have been close mates for about 30 years. I have worked with him on many occasions and have made excursions with him in search of rare and other birds over that time. From that, I have come to regard him as the best field ornithologist Australia has ever produced. I often think that while some of us have been given a sixth sense, John has been given a seventh when it comes to locating and knowing birds!

As a reminder of his past efforts - John supplied much data on the rarer and lesser known owls for that monumental publication Night Birds of Australia (Schodde & Mason 1980). All the data he supplied still stands correct today. He did extensive work for David Hollands when David produced his two books - Birds of the Night, and Owls, Frogmouths and Nightjars of Australia, so much so that David described John as "the most remarkable bushman and naturalist I have ever met". David dedicated his first book to John, describing him as "Prince of Owl Men". John has also been involved with video and photography for many years - even receiving contracts from Sir David Attenborough. His own documentary, Wings of Silence and others will always stand as testimony to his ability to locate, study and professionally photograph the most elusive of birds.

This time, instead of knocking his efforts (as a small group who had never met the man unfairly did some years ago), I hope people continue to give him the credit he deserves. I do know there is more good work to come!

Lloyd Nielsen,
Mt Molloy, Nth Qld


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