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.



World Parrot Trust


Australian Wildlife Conservancy


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.

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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


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.


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.

Rose-crowned Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus regina)

The Rose-crowned Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus regina) is also known as Pink-capped Fruit Dove or Swainson’s Fruit Dove.  Their delicate beauty and bright pink caps make them a real treat to see!

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They have quite a large range in northern and eastern Australia and also Indonesia.  I spotted this beauty at Howard Springs Nature Park in the Northern Territory.





Backyard Birds

Australian Geographic


When you know you’re gorgeous!


Bonded pair


Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii)

The Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii) also known as Banksian- or Banks’ Black Cockatoo, is a large black cockatoo native to Australia.

Five subspecies are recognised.

C. b. banksii is found in Queensland and, rarely, in far northern New South Wales
C. b. graptogyne, (Endangered) known as the south-eastern red-tailed black cockatoo, is found in southwestern Victoria and southeastern South Australia in an area bordered by Mount Gambier to the west, Portland to the south, Horsham to the northeast and Bordertown to the north
C. b. macrorhynchus, given the name great-billed cockatoo by Mathews; is found across northern Australia.

C. b. naso (Near Threatened) is known as the forest red-tailed black cockatoo and is found in the southwest corner of Western Australia between Perth and Albany.

C. b. samueli exists in four scattered populations: in central coastal Western Australia from the Pilbara south to the northern Wheatbelt in the vicinity of Northam, and inland river courses in Central Australia, southwestern Queensland and the upper Darling River system in Western New South Wales. Birds of this subspecies are generally smaller with smaller bills than the nominate banksii.

Good places to spot this gregarious and cheeky cockatoo are:  Along the coast of Western Australia, the Northern Territory south of Darwin, most parks in South-east Queensland.




World Parrot Trust


Recovery Project


Beautiful close-ups of cockatoos foraging and pair bonding.


Filmed at Paradise Park, this slo-mo clip shows the bird in flight.

Flock roosting near Cairns



Easy Birding In Howard Springs Nature Park, Northern Territory

Howard Springs Nature Park is the perfect way to begin your birding adventure in Australia’s Northern Territory.  It’s only half an hour from Darwin and easy to find.  Best of all, the birding is easy and amazing!

DSCN5526We opened the windows and drove slowly down the access road.  In less than 5 minutes, I saw a flash of colour on the left.  I drove closer as quietly as possible and found a beautiful Rainbow Pitta foraging in the bush!  This was going to be good  – one of my target species right off the bat!  I walked slowly and quietly closer until the bird disappeared into the bush. DSCN5541 DSCN5543 DSCN5532 DSCN5537 DSCN5542

Moving on, a Rainbow Bee-eater was doing his job!DSCN5549

A pair of Red-tailed Black Cockatoos were frolicking in the trees.DSCN5553 DSCN5557

Broad-billed FlycatcherDSCN5559

Closer to the picnic area was this lovely Rose-crowned Fruit Dove, another of my targeted species!DSCN5562 DSCN5567 DSCN5568

We drove down to the end of the road, didn’t find anything so turned around.DSCN5571

An Australasian Figbird was watching us.DSCN5577

Peaceful Doves peacefully foraging near the picnic ground.DSCN5580

Pied Cormorant stretching his wings.DSCN5582

The visitors info place was closed but they had some good information posted.DSCN5587 DSCN5590 DSCN5591

Orange-footed Scrubfowl right near the sign!DSCN5588 DSCN5589

Bar-shouldered Dove watching from above.DSCN5598

Up to now we had been braving the mosquitoes.  We only had a small bottle in our carry-on because we planned to buy more when we got here.  By the time we reached the pond and the hiking trails we were being eaten alive and forced to turn back.DSCN5593 DSCN5594

I wasn’t worried as I knew we would be passing by here after the road trip around the Top End so decided to save our skin.  We had already seen many of the target birds anyway so a very auspicious start to this adventure!

Rainbow Pitta (Pitta iris)

The Rainbow Pitta (Pitta iris) is a colourful bird with a velvet black head with brown stripes above the eye, dark green upper parts, pale blue shoulders, black underparts and an olive green tail. It feeds on insects, crustaceans and other small animals and builds an untidy, spherical nest. It is a shy forest bird and a real treat to see!

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They are endemic to Australia’s Northern Territory and are easily seen at Howard Springs and sometimes near Fogg Dam.  I spotted the one above barely 3 minutes after entering the park!





Experience the Wild


This is the call to listen for.  They tend to be spread out but close enough to contact each other.

A birding group spots one.

This is pretty cool, I didn’t know you could attract them by tapping on the ground!