Striated Pardalote (Pardalotus striatus)

The Striated Pardalote (Pardalotus striatus) is the least colourful and most common of the four pardalote species.  This little guy from Karara sure knew how to show himself off to good advantage – like a supermodel he showed his best profile, both sides and his gorgeous wings up!

IMG_0851 IMG_0854 IMG_0857 IMG_0858 IMG_0858aThey have a very large range throughout Australia.  I saw them in Karara and around Lake Coolmunda which is represented by the blue dot.




Birds in Backyards


These wild Striated Pardalotes are nesting on some lucky person’s verandah!

Galah (Eolophus roseicapilla)

One of the birds you are most likely to see in Australia is also one of the most beautiful.  The galah Eolophus roseicapilla, also known as the rose-breasted cockatoo, galah cockatoo, roseate cockatoo or pink and grey, is one of the most common and widespread cockatoos, and it can be found in open country in almost all parts of mainland Australia.

Notice how this first Galah’s crest (Nallan Station) is pinker than the other ones?


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IMG_0161Galahs are known for their silly, playful nature.  If an Aussie calls you a “galah”, they usually don’t mean it as a compliment!

You won’t have to try to hard to find them as they are pretty much all over Australia.  I’ve seen them around Perth, Nallan Station, Stirling Range, Tasmania, Melbourne, Brisbane, Bowra Station, Coolmunda, Karara, Girraween just to name a few.  They frequent the park a couple blocks from my house and I can usually hear them as they fly overhead in the morning to forage for breakfast.



World Parrot Trust


Birds in Backyards

The Australian Galah


Wild Galahs in  action – playing and foraging.




Birding Around Karara, South-east Queensland

If you are driving to Lake Coolmunda, a worthwhile stop for birding can be in the small town of Karara and the back roads nearby. On the map below you can see the town of Karara on the left and the Back Creek Road is the blue line in the middle where we saw a lot of parrot species.  Further to the right is the Durikai National Forest which also has excellent birding.

Karara Durikai

Although the Striated Pardalote and Tawny Frogmouth pictured below were on a private property (I was with a Birds Queensland group) the species are local to the general area.


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Can you see the Tawny Frogmouth?  He blends in very well!  If you ever see one resting like this, please don’t disturb him as making him fly in the daytime could cause predators to spot this bird.

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This gorgeous little Striated Pardalote was a real supermodel, turning every which way so I would get his best side, even giving me an open wings shot!

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Sulphur-crested Cockatoo hiding in a tree.


Karara Sports Ground – camping available although mine was organized by Birds Queensland.  I recommend going to Lake Coolmunda Caravan Park and making an excursion to this area.

IMG_0865Back Creek Road, about 4km down the road from Karara proved to be a treasure trove for parrots!  We saw Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Little Corellas, Galahs, Scaly-breasted Lorikeets, Pale-headed Rosellas, Eastern Roselllas and Red-rumped Parrots all within 1 hour early in the morning.  Coming back to Karara to rejoin the BQ group, there was also a Red-winged Parrot flying overhead near the roadhouse.

IMG_1005 IMG_0869Sorry, the editor isn’t working so please tilt your head left to see the Cockatoo Tree!


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Staying Hydrated While Birding

Here in Australia the weather is heating up which reminds me how important it is to stay hydrated when you are hiking through a national park looking for birds.  There are many different ways to carry water with you.  You may elect to buy one mineral water bottle and just keep refilling it if you are in a place where water is safe to drink.  Or you can get a product like this collapsible water bottle which has the added feature of collapsing down so you can carry it past airport security empty, then fill it up at a water fountain.


If you are birding somewhere that doesn’t have safe tap water, most eco-lodges will supply boiled water for you to refill bottle such as these or if you are camping then you can boil your own water.  Whatever you do, stay hydrated and stay safe!

For those who have the Chase Freedom card, don’t forget that you get 5x from Oct – Dec 2015 on!

Double-barred Finch (Taeniopygia bichenovii)

The Double-barred Finch (Taeniopygia bichenovii) is an estrildid finch found in dry savannah, tropical (lowland) dry grassland and shrubland habitats in northern and eastern Australia. They are sometimes referred to as Bicheno’s finch; and also as owl finch, owing to the dark ring of feathers around their faces.

The name of the species commemorates James Ebenezer Bicheno, a colonial secretary of Van Diemen’s Land appointed in September 1842.

I couldn’t get a clear shot of one so these are from Wikipedia

DBFinch DBFinch2 They have a good sized range in Australia but to date the only place I have seen them is Mosquito Creek Road near Lake Coolmunda.




Birds in Backyards

Australian Finches

Australian Bush Birds


Up close and personal with Double Barred Finches, very cute little bird!


Cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus)

The Cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus), also known as the quarrion and the weiro, is a member of the cockatoo family endemic to Australia.  Cockatiels have a special place in my heart as they were the first bird I had as a pet and it was my love for them that led me to learn more about them and ultimately led to me being a conservationist.  It will always be a magical experience for me to see them in the wild!

These photos were taken along Mosquito Creek Road which is near Lake Coolmunda, about 4 hours drive from Brisbane.

IMG_0475 IMG_0467 IMG_0628 IMG_0634 IMG_0647They have a large range covering most of Australia but seeing them is harder than you may think as they prefer remote grassy bushlands and they blend in well if they are on the ground foraging.  Mosquito Creek Road and Bowra Station (blue dots) are 2 easy places to find them.  I recommend searching on eBird since they are so widespread and there is bound to be a place within a reasonable drive from most cities in Australia.



World Parrot Trust


Birds in Backyards

Birdlife Australia



Any search through Youtube will find 1000’s of pet cockatiel videos so I had to search for the wild cockatiel clips.  I found some good ones showing wild cockatiels going about their daily life in the bush.

I wish I could see this many all at once!

Mini doco with good basic info but be advised that some photos are pet mutation cockatiels, not the wild ones though they also have wild cockatiel pics.



Birding Mosquito Creek Road Near Lake Coolmunda

Mosquito Creek Road is one of the top birding sites near Lake Coolmunda and less than 4 hours drive from Brisbane.

Coolmunda3It’s signposted from both directions and there is an Olive Farm at the beginning of the road.

IMG_0593 IMG_0411You’ll be driving down a well-maintained gravel road.  The properties on both sides are fenced and for private use so you have to do your birding from the roadside.  It’s a great place to bird though as the wide open grassy areas and sparser trees make it easier to find the birds.  You can drive past a small pond a few km to a more densely forested area but I found the birdlife decreased from entering that area so we went back to the grassy area near the pond.

We made a couple trips to Mosquito Road with just Ina & me, then returned a couple days later with the Birds Queensland group which I will cover in a separate post.


Plenty of kangaroos so drive slowly, don’t add to the road kill!


We saw lots of Little Corellas & Galahs.

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There was a tree that had a lot of Zebra Finches who sometimes came out to the wire fence to pose for photos.

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Willie Wagtails are found here and basically all over Australia.


For me, the highlight was seeing wild Cockatiels.  Cockatiels are very special to me, they are the first bird I had as a pet which ultimately led to my interest in birding and conservation.

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Horsfield’s Bushlark

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Very tempting!

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Australasian Darter



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Pale-headed Rosella


Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus axillaris)

The Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus axillaris) or Australian black-shouldered kite is a small raptor found in open habitat throughout Australia.  Although I am not a raptor person, this one really caught my eye at Lake Coolmunda because he really was hovering just like a kite.  He then swooped down quickly and flew to a fence pole where I could see he had caught a rat.  I was so impressed, I was ready to offer him a job keeping my house free from rodents!

IMG_0368 IMG_0369 IMG_0373 IMG_0374Their range is basically all of Australia.  They seem to be territorial as I saw this one (at least I think it was the same one) on all 3 days we were at Lake Coolmunda in the same area.




Birds in Backyards

Australian Wildlife Conservancy



See how they hover while hunting for prey.

Nice close-up


Red-rumped Parrot (Psephotus haematonotus)

The Red-rumped Parrot (Psephotus haematonotus), also known as the red-backed parrot or grass parrot, is a common bird of south-eastern Australia, particularly in the Murray-Darling Basin.  The red-rumped parrot was described by John Gould in 1838 and is the type species for the genus Psephotus. It was long presumed to be closely related to the mulga parrot, however analysis of multiple genetic material shows it to be an early offshoot of a group containing the genera Platycercus and Barnardius.

At Lake Coolmunda, male Red-rumps were out foraging in all their glory but I struggled to get a good shot of a female.  I found this nesting pair near Karara but the lighting was bad.

IMG_0728 IMG_0559 IMG_0549 IMG_0517 IMG_0952They have quite a large range in south-eastern Australia.  I have personally seen them at Woodlands Park, Melbourne, Bowra Station, Lake Coolmunda, Karara and around SEQ in general.

RR range



World Parrot Trust


Birds in Backyards



This clip has excellent close ups of both male and female and you can really see the difference.  You can also hear their call and watch them forage in the grass.

More foraging Red-rumps



Two People To The Colombian Amazon Rainforest For Under $600

Avianca has some really good deals going on right now that can get 2 people from Miami to Leticia in the Colombian Amazon Rainforest for less than $600!  If you don’t live near Miami, then use Avios on AA for a shorthaul.  Here’s a sample booking.

Leticia1 Leticia2 Leticia3Once you get there, find a nice eco-lodge and enjoy the birds!  Here’s a couple I found online though I haven’t stayed at either myself, they do look really good!

Amazonas Jungle Tours

Yoi Ecotours

This is a really good opportunity for those in the USA who can take advantage of it, I know I’d be jumping on it!