Birding Edith Falls #1, Northern Territory

This is post #1 about Edith Falls in the Northern Territory because I was not to know it at the time but we missed the prime birding hotspots.  I didn’t realize this until I bought the “Top End Birdwatching” book at the Katherine Museum a few days later.  Anyway, we got an early start out of Pine Creek and drove about 50kms to the Edith Falls turn-off which is well marked, you can’t miss it.

We drove slowly along the Edith Falls Road and kept our ears and eyes open.  It proved to be a parrot paradise with all kinds of psittascine psightings!  First up was this Galah.

Then came a Red-collared Lorikeet.

And an acrobatic Red-winged Parrot.

Pied Butcherbird watches from above.

The Edith Falls Road enters Nitmiluk National Park.

We saw lots of Red-tailed Black Cockatoos.

A young Red-winged Parrot foraging.

Willie Wagtails are also everywhere.

There is a campground and snack bar at the end of the road.  You can also park here and walk the various trails.

I decided this little bridge would be a good vantage point so set up the cameras to wait for birds.

I didn’t have to wait long for Red-collared Lorikeets.

White-gaped Honey-eater

Helmeted-Friarbird

Elegant Red-collared Lorikeets

Collared Sparrowhawk.

Information boards at the campground

Camp reception and snack bar

Men take notice!

Aboriginal art decorated bathrooms

Red-winged Parrot

Camping facilities, looks like a nice place to hang out!

Bar-shouldered Dove

Torresian Crow

Shy birds hiding!

Double-barred Finch

Leaden Flycatcher

Great Bowerbird

Peaceful DoveI hope I got all those birds right, if I didn’t please comment so I can correct it!

We hung around a couple hours, then headed off towards Katherine as we still had a long drive to Victoria River Crossing ahead!

Velocity 7 Million Points Promotion

The good news?  Everyone will win SOMETHING!

The bad news?  That SOMETHING may not amount to much as the prize pool will be divided evenly among all the entrants.  If you already collect Velocity points, my guess is that they will get about 700,000 entries (10% of all members) an everyone will get about 10 points.  Whoopie!  If you don’t have other sources of Velocity points such as Flybuys, don’t bother with this promo.

White-throated Honeyeater (Melithreptus albogularis)

The White-throated Honeyeater (Melithreptus albogularis) is native to New Guinea, and eastern and northern Australia.  This little guy from Pine Creek was surprisingly bold in letting any passing human know he wanted a drink of water!

They have a very large range across Australia in Queensland and the Northern Territory and even into southern Papua New Guinea.

LEARN MORE ABOUT WHITE-THROATED HONEY-EATERS

Wikipedia

Birdlife

Birds in Backyards

VIDEOS

This one has something to say, probably asking the human below to get him some water!

Another one from Darwin

 

Copperfield Dam Excursion From Pine Creek

A popular excursion for birders who are staying in Pine Creek is a drive out to Copperfield Dam a few kms south of the town.  We were up early as we wanted to be there by dawn but our GPS didn’t seem to know where it was exactly!  We found the turn off from the highway but from there it was very confusing.

Nice to see Hooded Parrots having pride of place on the town’s Welcome sign!

This appeared to be the access road a few kms from the main road but it ends in a shocking road that we couldn’t drive down.

We walked around a bit and at one point I heard some cockatiels flying overhead (I have them as pets and know the calls well) but nothing was perching.

After driving back and forth a few times hoping to see other birders, we finally took a chance and drove down this side road on the right just a few kms after the Copperfield Dam turn-off.  I was expecting to be chased off at some point but there wasn’t a soul around.

This was a turn-off to where you could see the lake and walk around a bit.

We decided to just hang out by the lake and see who flew by.

It was pretty quiet until finally a few Red-collared Lorikeets flew to a nearby tree.

A Silver-crowned Friarbird showed up.

I messed up the exposure here on this Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike.

There really wasn’t much action at this location so maybe we didn’t go to the right spot.  It did make a nice picnic spot by the lake!

Hooded Parrot (Psephotus dissimilis)

The Hooded Parrot (Psephotus dissimilis) is  found in savannah and open woodland and is one of two extant species in its genus that breed in termite mounds.  In the photos below which I took at Pine Creek you can see the difference between the males and females.  The males have the brilliant turquoise bodies while the females are more subdued light green.

This speckly little cutie is a young male just coming into his adult colouring.

This looks like a juvenile female from the big eyes and subdued colouring.

Hooded Parrots are endemic to Australia’s Northern Territory and most easily seen around Pine Creek and Edith Falls.

LEARN MORE ABOUT HOODED PARROTS

Wikipedia

World Parrot Trust

Birdlife

Australian Wildlife Conservancy

VIDEOS

A quick drink

Foraging in the grass.

Birding tour group finds some Hoodies in a termite mound and in trees.

 

Avianca’s New Buy Lifemiles Promo Through 28 Feb

Avianca has periodic promos throughout the year so only take advantage of them when you will be redeeming them within a few months.  Lifemiles can be very valuable to eco-tourists visiting Central and South America as it gives you access to all the birding hotspots such as Napo Wildlife Centre, Galapagos, many places in Colombia & Peru and more!

Only 3000 Lifemiles for Avianca’s subsidiary Aerogal from Quito to Coca!

Here’s the details of the current promo:

    • For LifeMiles members that have Colombia, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, Chile or Venezuela as their country of residence in their Member’s profile the bonus percentage applies as follows: for purchases from 1,000 – 10,000 LifeMiles receive 2×1, for purchases from 11,000 –40,000 LifeMiles receive 2×1 + 15% additional miles, for purchases from 41,000 – 200,000 receive 2×1 + 25% additional miles.
    • For LifeMiles members that have any other country as their country of residence in their Member´s profile the bonus percentage applies as follows: The bonus percentage apply as follows: for purchases from 1,000 – 50,000 LifeMiles receive 2×1, for purchases from 51,000 – 100,000 LifeMiles receive 2×1 + 15% additional miles, for purchases from 101,000 – 200,000 receive 2×1 + 25% additional miles.
    • The bonuses are calculated based on the miles purchased per individual transaction without taking into account the 2×1 bonus.
    • The miles must be purchased in multiples of 1,000.
    • The minimum miles to purchase per transaction is 1,000 LifeMiles.
    • The maximum miles to purchase per transaction during this promotion to receive the bonus showed in the table above is 200,000 LifeMiles if the Member has not purchased miles in 2017 or 200,000 LifeMiles minus the miles previously purchased by the Member in 2017.
    • The Member may purchase miles outside of the limits showed in the table above but in such case the transactions will be processed but no bonuses will be granted.
    • The maximum amount of miles to receive by a member per calendar year outside of this promotion is 200,000 LifeMiles (including miles purchased and bonuses received). If the member surpasses the limit, through purchases made during this promotion and other purchases in 2017, taking into account the bonuses received for those purchases, he or she will not be able to purchase any more miles until the next calendar year.
    • Each package of 1,000 LifeMiles costs USD $33.00 without applicable taxes and USD $40.26* including applicable taxes according to correspondence country registered in the LifeMiles database**
    • Only form of payment through Avianca´s Call Center and LifeMiles.com: credit card or international debit card. Cash payments are only allowed at Avianca´s Information Centers. Other Conditions: The receipt of the transaction will reflect the total number of miles accrued to the member´s account, including the bonus miles and the total charge for the transaction.
    • This promotion applies for miles purchases made between February 15th and February 28th, 2017 (between 00.00-23.59 GMT -6, El Salvador).
    • The miles purchased and earned with this promotion do not apply to achieve or maintain the Elite status.
    • The purchase of miles is not reversible or refundable. The purchase of miles is an immediate execution contract. Once the payment is made, the miles will be accrued immediately on the members account. As of that moment the miles can be used according to the terms and conditions of the LifeMiles Program. For these reasons the purchase of miles is a contract that cannot be resolved and retraction or similar rights according to applicable law are not applicable.
    • Miles are not endorsable.
    • Miles purchase is available through Avianca´s Call Centers, LifeMiles.com and Avianca Information Centers. For residents of Curacao it is only available through LifeMiles.com and Avianca´s Call Centers. For residents of Venezuela, it is only available through LifeMiles.com.
    • Does not apply to the Flexible Redemption (miles + money) during the payment process of air ticket redemption.
    • Miles purchased, once accrued, can be redeemed in accordance with the conditions specified in the LifeMiles Program Terms and Conditions and the portfolio of products and services available for redemption.
    • LifeMiles Terms and Conditions apply. LifeMiles is a trademark of LifeMiles B.V.

*For residents in Colombia: the values are settled based on Colombia´s exchange rate on the date of the transaction. For residents in Peru each package of 1,000 miles has a cost of USD 38,94 or S/.128.23 including taxes. Prices in Nuevos Soles reflect the reference exchange rate to February 10th 2017: S/. 3.293 Per 1 USD dollar. Final prices in Nuevos Soles will be determined bases on the exchange rate of the date of the transaction. For residents in Costa Rica the values are settled based on the exchange rate as provided by IATA. For the rest of the countries the values are settled based on the exchange rate of the date of the transaction.
**The price can be lower depending of the correspondence country entered on the Member´s profile in their LifeMiles account.

 

A Drive Around Pine Creek

Pine Creek is a small town in Australia’s Northern Territory which is of primary interest to birders because it is so easy to find Hooded Parrots here.  But it is also a quaint little town which was founded in 1870 and has some interesting places to see.

Even if you are not staying at the Lazy Lizard, you may want to fill up your car or yourself!

Map of the historic sights found at the park just across the street from the Lazy Lizard.

Railway Precinct

Cockatoos are all over the town and make their presence known!

There’s also a large flying fox population.

Straw-necked Ibis near the park.

The Railway Resort looked like a nice place and you can use their wifi if you buy some coffee or something.

These Hooded Parrots were close to the Police Station, wonder what they did!

Birding The Grounds Of The Lazy Lizard

While we were very happy with the Lazy Lizard’s facilties, we were even happier at the easy birding to be had!

Let’s start with the the camp area.  Birds can be seen foraging in the grass for leftovers.

This nest was just outside our cabin but several species of birds were seen so I am not sure who the rightful owner was.

Sulphur-cested Cocaktoos were seen above while we were in the swimming pool.

And the best place was the water tap at the rear of the property.  Lots of birds came here, even perching expectantly while we refilled the water dish. 

And this is why people come to Pine Creek – it’s the best place to see  the gorgeous Hooded Parrot!  We were lucky to see adults and some juveniles that would have recently fledged!  They were a bit more cautious and would only come down if we stood back from the water dish but once they got their courage up, they were so much fun to watch!

 

Lodge Review: Lazy Lizard Tavern and Caravan Park, Pine Creek, Northern Territory

The Lazy Lizard located in the heart of the historic Pine Creek in Australia’s Outback Northern Territory was my first choice as a perfect base for birders.

Approaching from the northern entrance to Pine Creek, it’s very easy to find.

DSCN5609 DSCN5610 DSCN5794

Lazy Lizard is typical of Aussie caravan parks and caters for everyone from tent campers to caravanners to people who want a small cabin.  We chose the latter.DSCN5795

Petrol is costlier here as it is trucked in from Darwin but you will probably need to top up (we did anyway) especially if you plan a side trip to Copperfield Dam and Edith Falls.DSCN5796

General layout of the grounds.DSCN5797

We were in the 2nd cabin from the left.DSCN5798

BBQs are available to cook your dinner – a fun part of the Aussie camping experience!DSCN5799

Caravan spaces further down.DSCN5800

Cool pool to chill out during the heat of the afternoon……………..DSCN5804

………………..with Cockatoos watching the humans below.  I was actually sitting in the pool when I took these shots!DSCN5803 DSCN5808

The Lazy Lizard has tourist information on display…………DSCN5612

……………a small general store……………..DSCN5613 DSCN5614

…………..and souvenirs.DSCN5615

Our cabin was very close to the swimming pool.DSCN5616 DSCN5617

The cabins are named after lizards.DSCN5618

Furnishings are simple but comfortable and provide all you need.DSCN5620

There’s a small kitchenette and a tv.DSCN5621 DSCN5623

Shower/ensuiteDSCN5624

We really liked the Lazy Lizard for its small outback town personality.  You can get half an hour free wifi near the bar, after that you need to sign up and pay.  Or you can go to the Railway Resort, order something and use their wifi.

There are quite a few birds to be found on the grounds which will be in the next post!

Preparing For A Northern Territory Road Trip

Once you leave the main city of Darwin, prices go up the further you go into the bush for petrol and groceries.  Katherine has a couple supermarkets and some fast food places and small cafes and the petrol there is only a little bit more than Darwin.

We discovered a great place after leaving Howard Springs, the Palmerston Shopping Centre.  It’s about a 10 minute drive and the Coles has everything you need at normal prices.

Since we only had a small collapseable cooler, we bought some hamburgers, steaks and sausages for BBQing and sandwich meat, cheese, bread, ramen noodles and snacks for the inevitable picnics in the bush while birding.  Soft drinks and large water bottles are cheap here so stock up as it gets hot out there and you need to stay hydrated!  Don’t forget the sunscreen and mosquito repellent!

Heading south towards Pine Creek there are some nice places to stop, stretch and use the conveniences.  Adelaide River has some nice birding spots but it was around 1pm by the time we got there and any birds were sensibly taking a siesta.

DSCN5601

Possible overnight stop if you can make it out of Darwin by 4pm so you get here before dusk.DSCN5602

Throughout the Territory you will find all-purpose stores like this one.  The selection won’t be great and the prices higher than the city to reflect the costs of transport.DSCN5603

There were a few birds taking shelter in these trees behind the rest rooms.DSCN5604

We only stayed here for around 15 minutes because there were no birds at that time of day so we continued on to Pine Creek.