IHG Pointbreak Deals Released Through 31 Oct – Some Potential For Eco-tourists

Although the IHG Pointsbreaks have been less inspiring in recent years, there are usually a few that can be used for eco-tourism and birding.  At 5000 IHG Rewards per night, these are a great bargain if you can use them.  Use your airline miles to get you to the country and the only thing left to pay is the rental car or taxi hire!

FULL POINTSBREAKS LIST

Here’s my picks:

PANAMA  –  Rent a car and visit Soberania National Park
CROWNE PLAZA PANAMA

COLOMBIA  – Have your hotel book you a car & driver for the day and go to Chingaza National Park or BioAndina
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES BOGOTA ZONA FINANCIERA

INDIA  – Jaipur is about 3 hours from Bharatpur and the Keoladeo National Park, you’ll need to spend the night there to go birding at dawn.
CROWNE PLAZA JAIPUR TONK ROAD

AUSTRALIA  – Rent a car and head up to the Blue Mountains.
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS SYDNEY MACQUARIE PARK

Ultra-cheap Fares USA – Australia, Won’t Last

I came across this incredible deal in my feed and I thought I would share it since many people may be waiting for the perfect opportunity to visit Australia and see the wonderful birds we have here!

Examples:

Los Angeles – Brisbane: $426
Las Vegas – Brisbane: $468
Los Angeles – Melbourne: $505

Full details of this deal can be found on Secret Flying.

** This is an error fare and sometimes these deals are honored, sometimes the airline cancels them so don’t book any non-refundable accommodation, tours or anything until you are sure the deal will be honored!

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60,000 United Miles To Sydney Promo Open For All Until 28 Jan

A few days ago, I told you about a targeted discounted offer on flights between the USA and Sydney.  I predicted that this deal would soon be open to everyone based on the language of the email I got stating it was a “presale”.

Good news!  Now anyone can get this deal and with the Aussie dollar so low, its the perfect time for Americans to come Down Under!

For a limited time, enjoy a 20 – 25 percent discount on roundtrip MileagePlus® Saver Awards in United Economy® when you travel from the U.S. or Canada to Sydney, Australia. Book by January 28, 2016, and travel between February 2, 2016, and June 22, 2016, to take advantage of the discounted rates.

Discount Days of travel Regular price Reduced price*
25% off Sun, Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu 80,000 miles 60,000 miles
20% off Fri, Sat 80,000 miles 64,000 miles

*Some exclusions apply. See terms and conditions for details.

Note: This table shows mileage rates for roundtrip flights. For one-way itineraries, the regular price still applies.

Book: January 7 – January 28, 2016
Travel: February 2, 2016 – June 22, 2016

FULL T&C’S & BOOKING PAGE

Birders – check out my posts on birding in Western Australia, Tasmania & South-east Queensland.

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HT:  Running with Miles

Targeted – Discount Mileage Awards From USA To Australia

Remember all those fantastic Australian birds I showed you last year?  Well if you need an extra incentive to plan a trip Down Under and are either a United Explorer Visa holder or have Premier status then you can save 20-25% miles for economy award tickets!

CHECK YOUR EMAILS FOR AN OFFER AS THIS IS TARGETED

UA Aus sale

If you have not been targeted, don’t give up as United often extends these promos to the general public after elites and credit card holders have has a chance.  They did say “pre-sale” so I am pretty sure that a “sale” will follow.  I’ll let you know if/when this happens.

Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae)

The Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae) is a carnivorous bird in the kingfisher family Halcyonidae. It is probably the most iconic Australian bird and its distinctive “laugh” is as true blue Aussie as you can get.

IMG_9057 IMG_9055 IMG_9026aThey are very clever and more than one picnicker has lost a BBQ steak or bread roll to a swiftly swooping Kookaburra.  We have quite a few of them in our suburb and I often wake up to the laugh outside my window and if you walk through any reserve or national park in Queensland, Victoria or NSW you will most likely see Laughing Kookaburras or even have unexpected guests at your picnic!

KookaburraLEARN MORE ABOUT KOOKABURRAS

Wikipedia

Birdlife

Birdlife Australia

Birds in Backyards

ABC Science

VIDEOS

The best video of the laugh was actually filmed at San Diego zoo.  It’s kind of hard to predict when a wild one will laugh unless you want to sit there and film until it does.  This is how they actually sound in the wild………..or in your backyard!  What a wake up call!

Here’s some wild Kookaburras

And just to show you how iconic they are in Australia, here’s a kid’s song about them!

 

Crimson Chat (Epthianura tricolor)

The Crimson Chat (Epthianura tricolor) is a species of small bird found in Australia. It is also known as the tricoloured chat, saltbush canary, and crimson-breasted nun.

IMG_8702a IMG_8704aThey have a very large range throughout Australia and I have seen them in several places in Outback Queensland & Western Australia.  The photos above were taken at Bowra Station.

cchatrangeLEARN MORE ABOUT THIS BIRD

Wikipedia

Birdlife

Birds in Backyards

Australian Geographic

VIDEOS

Nice close-up!

 

 

Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo (Lophochroa leadbeateri)

The Major Mitchell’s cockatoo (Lophochroa leadbeateri) also known as Leadbeater’s cockatoo or pink cockatoo, is a medium-sized cockatoo restricted to arid and semi-arid inland areas of Australia.  Regardless of what common name you use, it’s arguably the most beautiful of all the cockatoos and a real joy to see in the wild, especially in flight with the sun backlighting their pink wings.  These photos I took at Bowra Station don’t do it justice!  I noticed they always had a sentinel or two while most of the flock foraged on the ground.

IMG_8755a IMG_8854a IMG_8874a IMG_8965a IMG_8936aDon’t be fooled by all the green on the map, this highly nomadic bird may have a large range but it is really difficult to find them outside of the major birding hotspots such as Bowra Station (blue dot) in Queensland and Eyre Sanctuary in Western Australia.

MM2rangeLEARN MORE ABOUT MAJOR MITCHELL COCKATOOS

Wikipedia

World Parrot Trust

Birdlife

Birdlife Australia

Birds in Backyards

NSW Environment & Heritage

 

VIDEO

One bird foraging in a tree.

Enjoying a paddy melon.

 

Diamond Dove (Geopelia cuneata)

The Diamond Dove (Geopelia cuneata) is a bird resident in Australia.  The dove predominantly exists in areas near water but which are lightly arid or semi-arid in nature, being Central, West and Northern Australia. They are one of Australia’s smallest pigeons along with the peaceful dove. They have been spotted occasionally in Southern Australia in parks and gardens when the centre of Australia is very dry.

IMG_8536aTheir large range extends over most of Australia.  I took the photo above at Bowra Station near the shearer’s quarters.

DDoverangeLEARN MORE ABOUT DIAMOND DOVES

Wikipedia

Birdlife

Birds in Backyards

Xeno-canto

VIDEO

These birds are so popular in captivity I struggled to find one in the wild.  This is a nice close up.

Budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus)

The Budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus) also known as common pet parakeet or shell parakeet and informally nicknamed the budgie, is a small, long-tailed, seed-eating parrot. Budgerigars are the only species in the Australian genus Melopsittacus, and are found wild throughout the drier parts of Australia where the species has survived harsh inland conditions for the last five million years.

I’ve been dreaming of seeing one of those huge flocks with 10,000 birds in it (Budgie-nado anyone?) but at least I got to see them up close at their nesting site at Bowra Station.

IMG_8785a IMG_8530a IMG_8482a IMG_8489aAlthough they have a huge range throughout inland Australia you need to be very lucky to stumble across them in the vast Outback along the main roads.  Some people have been that lucky as you can see in the video below.  In Queensland, Bowra Station is very reliable for budgies, also check eBird for recent sightings as these parrots are very nomadic.

Budgierange

LEARN MORE ABOUT BUDGERIGARS

Wikipedia

World Parrot Trust

Birdlife

Birds in Backyards

Alice Springs Desert Park

VIDEOS

There’s no shortage of Budgie videos online but here’s a couple really good ones.  This one is a whole documentary about the species.

Budgie swarm.

In this video it seems the young wild Budgies have mistaken a windscreen for water and are confused.  I wish that workman had a clue and offered them some water, they look really thirsty.

 

Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae)

The emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae) is the second-largest living bird in the world by height, after its ratite relative, the ostrich. It is endemic to Australia where it is the largest native bird and the only extant member of the genus Dromaius.  The emu is an important cultural icon of Australia, appearing on the coat of arms and various coins. The bird features prominently in Indigenous Australian mythology.

IMG_8559Emus are pretty easy to find whether you are driving through the Outback or visiting national reserves throughout most of Australia.  I’ve seen them all over Western Australia, Queensland, down the Mosquito Creek Road and on Bowra Station to name a few.

EmurangeLEARN MORE ABOUT EMUS

Wikipedia

Birdlife

Birds in Backyards

VIDEO