A hopeful encounter

On Saturday I went to the Knife-makers Guild annual show in Attwood (as you do), and instead of fighting the freeway traffic back home, I decided to head south and drop by the Western Treatment Plant (the pooh farm). While driving out of the lagoons to leave I flushed what I thought were two Blue-winged Parrots off the track. I saw a flash of orange as they flew over the windscreen of the car and realised these must be a pair of the released Orange-bellied Parrots, a very rare and endangered species. They only flushed to the back of the car so I used the door for cover and took a few photos – bad light and shooting into the sun but got a few shots. They were smaller than I expected and made such a melodic buzzy call when flying. There has been a real push to try and breed up and release parrots to join the 50 wild birds that are estimated to be left (with only 340 in 10 captive/breeding recovery facilities). In the wild the tiny parrot migrates from its summer breeding grounds in Tasmania, flies over Bass Strait and into the coastal regions of Victoria –  a tough flight with very few intact feeding grounds at the end of the journey. I found out later that these two were males and part of the 2017 release program but had not joined the wild population yet. I am hopeful that this parrot does not die out in the wild during my lifetime.

Orange-bellied parrot, Western Treatment plant, Werribee

Orange-bellied parrot, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee

Orange-bellied parrot, Western Treatment plant, Werribee

A pair of male Orange-bellied parrots

Orange-bellied parrot, Western Treatment plant, Werribee

note the pair of leg bands.

Orange-bellied parrot, Western Treatment plant, Werribee

IV

Orange-bellied parrot, Western Treatment plant, Werribee

V

4 responses to “A hopeful encounter

  1. I am amazed at the beautiful birds you have in your country. To show how naive I am, I always thought of parrots as domesticated birds. I enjoy you bringing these to us.

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  2. What a great opportunity Malt to see this rare parrot! Yes they do look tiny birds and well banded. I guess it would be difficult to find unbanded birds, a bit like the Regent Honeyeater. Great pics of this colourful little bird.

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    • Thanks Ashley, I was happy to have this close encounter with such a rare bird, wild or captive. I have only seen one Regent and that was wild (unbanded) and young and travelling with a band of Wattlebirds. I have not seen any lately as I have not been to Chiltern for a few years…I think I may have posted about the Regent back in the early days of this blog…

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