Birding Victoria River Crossing – Bridge Area

The bridge area I am referring to is the old bridge on the Katherine side of the Victoria River Roadhouse.  It’s the dirt road that is blocked on the end and you can see the new bridge above.  You cross this new bridge when driving from Katherine to Victoria River.

You have an excellent vantage point from here well above any crocodile infested area so just keep scanning the banks of the river and the bushes for birds.

White-faced Heron

This was the best I could do for the Purple-crowned Fairy-wren.  There was a male and  some females I could see with binoculars but they were too far and too small to get the focus on them.

We also walked around the back of the campground but couldn’t find any more Fairy-wrens, I was hoping for a closer view.

Aussies: Qantas & Virgin Both Have Transfer Promos

These promos come up several times a year so no need to rush and transfer your points.  Best to wait until you are within a few months of booking an award to avoid being caught out by devaluations.

First up: Qantas is emailing members who have previously transferred credit card points with a tiered bonus promo.  Few people will be able to hit the 30% tier so I am calling this a 15% bonus for all practical purposes.  The link emailed to me is tied to my account so keep an eye out for it.  You may want to transfer a nominal amount of credit card points to keep you in the loop for future promos.

Not to be outdone, Virgin’s Velocity has a more accessible promo with Flybuys that anyone can do if you have linked your Flybuys and Virgin accounts. 

This promo was a real nice earner for me last year as I got lots of Flybuys points from maximizing shopping promos, then used a promo like this to get a 15% bonus!

Book Review: Top End Birdwatching By Mike Reed

Top End Birdwatching by Mike Reed may be only 24 pages long but this little book is worth its weight in gold!  I stumbled upon a copy at the Katherine Museum about halfway into our trip after we had already been to Pine Creek, Edith Falls, Victoria River Crossing and Humbles Creek.  I had been using eBird research so I knew what birds to look for and approximately where; but eBird links up with Google maps which aren’t much help in these remote locations.  Mike’s book has detailed maps showing exactly where the main target birds can be found and once I started using it, I was able to hone in on places like Donkey Camp Weir and the Edith Falls Road watering hole where Gouldian Finches can be seen.  We actually ran into Mike Reed at the Edith Falls Road spot which was pretty cool, he’s a great guy and knows heaps about birds!

I highly recommend ordering this book before your trip so you don’t miss out on some of the best birding hotspots in the Northern Territory.  I just wish he would do a book like this for each Australian state!

Click on the image to go to the ordering page.

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