Sunday, August 7, 2011

Scarlet-chested Parrots & Painted Honeyeaters at Gluepot

There have been several reports over the past few weeks of Scarlet-chested Parrots at Gluepot. I had seen a flock of 20 about a month ago but did not get what I feel was a tickable view so have been edgy ever since to find them again to view them closely in order to tick them and photograph them for

I arranged to head into Gluepot this weekend with Chris, Mike (Mdosi) and Steve for a fun-filled day of birding, all of us hoping to find these elusive birds.
We had a scare earlier this week when we discovered that Gluepot was in fact scheduled to be closed for goat-shooting this weekend so I phoned the Ranger Tony to clarify if we could access the area we needed. Luckily we could. Disaster averted!

Saturday morning Chris and I were in Taylorville and birding by 7am. It is a bit difficult birding before sunrise but not impossible. A flock of miners came in to view us probably wondering why anyone would be stupid enough to be out in the cold so early!
It was at this point disaster struck! My binoculars broke – the eyepiece jammed and  came off in my hand and could not be unjammed no matter what both of us tried. So, I was facing a day of birding through one eye.  Mdosi (Mike) and Steve joined us at 7.30am & I showed them my broken bins. Thankfully Steve loaned me his spare pair. THANK GOODNESS for Steve, such a relief to be able to bird with both eyes!


Kay praying for Scarlet-chested Parrots

We took a short walk and was rewarded almost instantly when a pair of Scarlet-chested Parrots flew straight over our heads! They landed near a tree hollow and great views of both birds were had by all of us. So, by 7.50am we all had a mega  tick!
So, I now have all of the Neophemas. AWESOME! I have been dreaming of this day.

Male Scarlet-chested Parrot

Female Scarlet-chested Parrot
Our work was not yet done however as Mdosi needed Black-eared Miner.  We got a few flocks  but only viewed Yellow-throats and Hybrids.

The guys checking to ensure they all have decent photos

I was very happy when we ran into Dave and Sue Harper on one of the walks and had a catch up. I had not seen them since last November so after arranging a dinner for that evening they went on to enjoy their day and we continued to explore. It is funny that each time I run into them I have just had a lifer, last time it was Square-tailed Kites, they are clearly good luck so I hope I run into them again soon!!

The vegetation is extremely healthy after all the rain!

Very healthy Triodia

Brown Falcon

We found another SCP, in a different location, this one was a juvenile who happily posed for photos. Chris and I managed to get very close to it by crawling and sitting quietly and the ground, just taking our time. It was not bothered by us at all. What a privilege.

Immature Scarlet-chested Parrot
A bit more exploring and driving in convoy we stopped to photograph a Chestnut Quail-thrush.

While we were waiting for Chris and Steve, Mdosa’s camera battery was flat so he and I were leaning against his car contemplating the usefulness of spare batteries. 

Mdosi finds Painted Honeyeater by relaxing on the car!

He relaxed back onto the car and looked up into the overhanging tree above us. Then calmly asked “does anyone need a Painted Honeyeater”? I looked up and there above us was a Male Painted Honeyeater gazing down at us! It did not make a sound as I franticly started clicking away with my camera. Incedible. That was a lifer for all the guys and a SA tick for me after getting  one in Victoria last year.

Painted Honeyeater

What a fun day! It is sure going to take some beating!

I celebrated at dinner with Dave and Sue.  They were here for Sue’s birthday (happy birthday Sue). We had a brief visited from Peter Waanders who called in to have a quick catch up visit with us after I sms'ed him to let him know we were there.

Even when Gluepot is closed, it still manages to deliver! It really is the best birding place in SA!!

Scarlet-chested Parrot