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.

Galah rangeLEARN MORE ABOUT GALAHS

Wikipedia

World Parrot Trust

Birdlife

Birds in Backyards

The Australian Galah

VIDEOS

Wild Galahs in  action – playing and foraging.

 

 

 

Australian Magpie (Cracticus tibicen)

The Australian magpie (Cracticus tibicen) is a medium-sized black and white passerine bird native to Australia and southern New Guinea.  It’s virtually impossible to visit Australia and NOT see a magpie or “Maggie” as we call them.  They are literally everywhere, especially in the major cities.  They await you at picnic sites hoping to steal your food.  They will swoop on you in breeding season if they think you are a threat to their chicks.  They can be annoying if you are trying to photograph other birds and the maggies are scaring them off.  But they do have a beautiful melodious warbling sound, it’s one of the first sounds I hear when I wake up in the morning though it is not loud enough to actually WAKE me up!

IMG_0015 IMG_0102Don’t worry about trying to find Australian Magpies.  In most places in Australia, they will find you!

MagpiesLEARN MORE ABOUT THIS BIRD

Wikipedia

Birdlife

Birds in Backyards

ABC – Good info on why they swoop!

Magpie Alert – good map showing swooping hotspots!  I can see reports in a few streets near me – mostly attacking cyclists.  My husband says he was swooped once while on a walk.

State of Queensland (Department of Environment and Heritage Protection)

VIDEOS

Trust me, this is only a small bit of their song, it really is beautiful!

Amazing footage of a swoop on a cyclist from the cyclist himself!

He later appeared on the local news.

 

And here is a swoop from a spectator point of view, the guy’s Mom really freaks out!

This maggie clearly doesn’t like the postman, maybe he got too many bills that day?

Maybe it’s better to make friends with them!

I don’t approve of allowing cats outdoors where they can kill wild birds.  Magpies are extremely clever and seem well in control of this situation but other small song birds wouldn’t have been so lucky.

And I’ll leave you with this adorable clip of a juvenile maggie singing to some rainbow lorikeets!

Last Chance Birding Near Hobart International Airport

Sadly our exciting birding adventure in Tasmania had come to an end.  We had seen all the parrots which are found on the island, some seen up close and easily photographed.  Others like the Blue-winged Parrots only flew overhead without warning or chance to grab a photo.  Our flight was around noon so that gave one last chance to go birding.  We left Customs House right after breakfast and drove out to the airport where I knew several parrots species would be easily seen.  I had been hoping the elusive Blue-winged Parrots would come closer but they didn’t.  This map shows the general area to look for birds.

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We started at the patch between the Travelodge and the caravan park where we had seen Galahs and Eastern Rosellas before.  They did not disappoint!

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I wanted to see birds but not badly enough to pay a $5000 fine!

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Musk Lorikeets were everywhere!IMG_8201a - Copy IMG_8204 - Copy IMG_8217a - Copy IMG_8218a - Copy IMG_8222a - Copy IMG_8226 - CopyAnd that concludes my birding report on Tasmania, hope you enjoyed it as much as I did and are inspired to plan your own trip!  If you want to find all the posts in this series, simply click here.

Birding The Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens

Trees and plants attract birds so it was a good choice to go birding at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens in Hobart, Tasmania.  It is a short drive from the hotel we spent the night at – the Customs House in Salamanca area of Hobart.

Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens map

The gardens themselves were beautiful as one might expect.

IMG_8051 - Copy IMG_8052 - Copy IMG_8054 - Copy IMG_8053 - Copy IMG_8056a - Copy IMG_8067 - Copy IMG_8068 - CopyThere is a really cool hide overlooking the garden with stunning views over the river and city.

IMG_8062 - Copy IMG_8063 - Copy IMG_8061 - Copy IMG_8064 - Copy IMG_8058 - Copy IMG_8060 - CopyOur visit was in the late afternoon and found that birds were more easily seen up near the entrance of the gardens.  Eastern Rosellas, Musk Lorikeets and Sulphur-crested Cockatoos were easily seen.

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Eastern Rosella (Platycercus eximius)

The Eastern Rosella was named by George Shaw in 1792 and in my opinion is one of Australia’s most beautiful birds.

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Three subspecies of Eastern Rosella are recognised:

  • P. e. eximius, Victoria and southern New South Wales. Black feathers on the back have green margins. Rump is pale green.
  • P. e. elecica, northeast New South Wales and southeast Queensland. In the male the black feathers on the back have golden-yellow margins, and greenish-yellow in the female. The rump is bluish-green. This subspecies is also called the Golden-mantled Rosella.
  • P. e. diemenensis, eastern Tasmania. White cheek patches are larger and the red on the head is darker.

My photos above are the Tasmanian subspecies.  We saw them easily around Hobart in the Botanical Gardens and near the Travelodge Airport Hotel.  I have also seen the 2nd subspecies around the Girraween area in South-east Queensland.

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LEARN MORE ABOUT EASTERN ROSELLAS

Wikipedia

World Parrot Trust

Birdlife

Birds in Backyards

Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife

VIDEO

Don’t be fooled, these are wild birds who set up housekeeping in someone’s backyard!

Hotel Review – Customs House Waterfront Hotel

Location and history make the Customs House Waterfront Hotel a unique experience in Hobart.  Built on Hobart’s waterfront for Charles Gaylor and licenced in 1846 it derived its name from the fact that the then Custom House (now Parliament House) is opposite. Mr. Gaylor was one of Hobart’s early settlers and his name is cut deep in the front coping stone of the building.  When I was planning this trip, I chose this hotel for its proximity to birding areas such as the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens and the history.  I was very happy with it but if you prefer modern luxury this won’t suit your needs.  Look for deals on Pointshound or Rocketmiles to earn miles for your stay.   Aussies can also get Virgin Velocity points for staying here.