Wednesday, August 24, 2005

2005-08-21 Swift Parrot Galore

The highlight of the trip was seeing Swift Parrot in good number. Based on some direction given by a friend, I drove further along Glen Alice Road and look out for a specific property. As this weekend was also the Tree Planting weekend, a number of birders/volunteers were birdwatching along the road. About 11am, David Geering was very kind to alert me that someone has found some Swift Parrots at a particular spot.
When I arrived at the location, it did not take me long to locate the first Swift Parrot. Swift Parrot is very vocal bird and keeps calling around. It is usually heard first before seen. Swift Parrot's green plumage is very well camouflaged among dense leaves of White Box.

The photo on the left shows a typical sight of Swift Parrot (partial view) feeding on nectar and lerp (secretions found on leaves produced by some kind of pest insect).

Alas, the parrot kept crawling from one twig to another and the fine twigs were swayed by the wind. That made photographing very challenging and frustating.

Luckily, there were quite a number of Swift Parrots hanging around. It can be regarded as 'abundant' at this particular spot. Swift Parrot is hard to find, but once it is discovered, it is usually found in numbers because of its gregarious nature.

Better still, a lady showed me a bare branch where a few parrots were roosting. It is not common to find Swift Parrot roosting on bare branch as it is more often found either feeding on nector or flying around swiftly.

Not all Swift Parrots show forked tail. The bird shown on right might suggest how the parrot got its name. Swift Parrot (Lathamus discolor) is one of few parrot species that are seasonal migratory. During austral autumn, it starts migrating from its breeding ground in Tasmania to mainland Australia, mainly Victoria, New South Wales, and less commonly in SE Queensland and SE South Australia.

Swift Parrot is an Endangered Species. See more infor from BirdLife International.
Some information can also be found at Birds Australia where there is a link to listen to its call.

Swift Parrot, like most parrot species, is quite an inquisitive bird.

As we know that Swift Parrot breeds only in Tasmania. However, I had noticed that one Swift Parrot (probably the same individual) has visited a nest-like hollow for at least 5 times during 2 hours observation. At one occasion, it even went into the hollow to have a closer inspection. The nest hole was supposedly used by Red-rumped Parrot. A male Red-rumped Parrot was also seen at the nest hollow twice but it was the Swift Parrot that showed more interest in the nest hollow.