Purple-crowned Fairy-wren (Malurus coronatus)

The beautiful Purple-crowned Fairy-wren (Malurus coronatus) is a species of bird in the Maluridae family.   I couldn’t get a decent shot at Victoria River so here’s a couple from Wikipedia, you can see the difference between male and female.

They are only found in the northern part of Australia spanning from Western Australia to parts of the Northern Territory and QueenslandVictoria River Roadhouse is the go-to place to spot them, also try Timber Creek.

LEARN MORE ABOUT PURPLE-CROWNED FAIRY-WRENS

Wikipedia

Birdlife

Austalian Wildlife Conservancy

Australian Gov’t

VIDEO

I could only find one clip on Youtube but it’s a good one!

Birding Victoria River Crossing – River Area

There are several places to look for the Purple-crowned Fairy-wren and other birds.  Excellent maps are provided in Mike Reed’s “Top End Birdwatching” book (which unfortunately I hadn’t bought yet).  One is the boat ramp/river area below the escarpment.  It’s just a few kms beyond the Victoria River Roadhouse, turn left and keep going until you see the car park.

***DO NOT GO TOO CLOSE TO THE RIVER AS CROCODILES ARE PRESENT***

There were a couple Purple-crowned Fairy-wrens hopping around across the river but I couldn’t zoom in on them.  They are tiny and fast!  Binoculars work better for this bird.

Corellas stood out much better.

The scenery is gorgeous!  A few fishing boats passed while we were there.

Wallabies are everywhere!

Amazing scenery!

Rainbow Bee-eaters posing nicely!

Lodge Review: Victoria River Roadhouse, Northern Territory

About 200 kms west of Katherine on National Highway 1, the Victoria River Roadhouse is a welcome sight after almost 3 hours driving in the heat of the day.  This was the first place we really felt the Territory’s Outback experience.

The main building houses the reception, petrol pumps, restaurant, bar and shop and the campground surrounds the main building.

The cabins are off to the left surrounded by trees which attract Corellas, Cockatoos and Red-collared Lorikeets.

The rooms are fairly typical of an outback roadhouse – simple decor but functional.  The tv only has 1 channel which is controlled by reception and shows the same in all cabins.  No wifi.

The restaurant is HUGE considering the location, maybe they get busloads of tourists at times.  We had hamburgers for lunch as the restaurant closes at 7pm and I wasn’t sure we would be back from birding by then.  We had sandwiches and noodle cups to eat for dinner.

They have some interesting souvenirs for sale and some camping supplies.

I was soooo tempted but the budget didn’t allow.

Plenty of space for caravans and tents.

The truth is they pretty much have a captive audience as there is nothing else for at least 50 kms but it’s a decent place and there are some nice birds to watch around the grounds, even out the window of the restaurant!  The top bird here is the Purple-crowned Fairy-wren as we will see in another post.

They don’t have online booking or even a dedicated website so you’ll have to call.  Trip Advisor has some reviews.

Victoria River Roadhouse Hotel/Motel
Victoria Hwy, Victoria River NT 0852
Telephone: (08) 8975 0744
Facsimile: (08) 8975 0819

Red-collared Lorikeet (Trichoglossus rubritorquis)

The Red-collared Lorikeet (Trichoglossus rubritorquis) was previously considered a subspecies of the rainbow lorikeet, but today most major authorities consider them as separate species.  They have become world famous for their drunken antics which sounds like it could be funny but really isn’t as it exposes them to predators.

They are easily found within their range, especailly in Australia’s Northern Territory and are very noisy so you can’t miss them!  I saw them around the Darwin area, Pine Creek, Edith Falls, Katherine, Outback Northern Territory, Nitmikuk and Kakadu.

LEARN MORE ABOUT RED-COLLARED LORIKEETS

Wikipedia

World Parrot Trust

Birdlife

About Drunk Lorikeets

VIDEOS

Lets start with some sober parrots foraging as usual.

 

And here’s a story about the drunk lorikeets.

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.