Australia Travel Diary - p 3Blue-winged Kookaburra.jpg (55262 bytes)

3 July 2002
Skulking in the trees at Edith Falls picnic area is a common NT bird, the Blue-winged Kookaburra.  A type of kingfisher, these birds are universally despised by songbirds because they raid nests for eggs and chicks.   Here they mostly raid the barbecue pit for leftover food scraps.
    From the caravan park a trail leads over a ridge into an area with flowering Fern-leaved Grevillea (Grevillea sp.). Grevilleas are one of the most typical and common Australian trees.  Like many here, their nectar attracts birds, not insects, which makes them a magnet for everything from parrots to orioles.  In a few days I've counted 13 different species in a single tree.  Few are as colorful as the Red-collared Lorikeet.  The one that I photograph has yellow pollen on its throat - just doing its job as a pollinator.  

Red-collared Lorikeet (65431 bytes)   




  The other birds enjoying a Grevillea nectar breakfast are a fascinating lot.  Two other parrots, Northern Rosella and Red-winged Parrot, join the fun, not to mention Pied Butcherbird, Straited Pardalote, Yellow and Olive-backed Orioles, Mistletoebird, and of course the main group of Australian nectivores, the honeyeaters:  Bar-breasted, Blue-faced, White-gaped, and Rufous-throated.  Most of the visitors drop by in mixed groups for a moment or two, then dart away.
     Red-winged Parrot (80917 bytes)


    The Red-winged Parrots arrive in family parties of 3-4, and stay an hour or more.  Using both their feet and beak, they climb through the tree, visiting every flower head within reach.  Red-wings should be easy to photograph, but they stay mainly in the shade, for which I can't blame them!  The upright needle-shaped grevillea leaves ruin many chances, obscuring the bird just when everything else is perfect.



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