Spring arrives early in The Alice

Zebra Finch (male) gathering nesting material, Alice Springs

Spring has definitely arrived early this year in Alice Springs.  Everywhere you look, native shrubs are in flower, the birds are building nests and the hills still have a greenish tinge after consistent rainfall all this year.  It is gorgeous.  We are even getting a few days now above 20 degrees, although the nights remain cool.  Who would be anywhere else?!

In recent weeks I’ve managed to fit in a few bushwalks.  I’ve been out exploring the West MacDonnell Ranges in the Simpson’s Gap area, and on a couple of walks north of Alice Springs along the Todd River.  The countryside is beautiful, with a profusion of wildflowers, and I was surprised to find water in many of the creeks.  The chatter of Budgerigars is a constant companion as you walk along any watercourse, either from their nesting sites in tree-hollows or as they fly overhead at high speed – a flash of lime-green as they pass.

Zebra Finch looks out from its tree hollow nest.  Todd River north of Alice Springs

Ruby Dock (also know as Wild Hops), Stuart Hwy north of Alice Springs

Riverside scene, along walk to Rocky Gap, West MacDonnell Ranges

Hairy Mulla Mulla (I think) foreground, Large Green Pussytails background, West MacDonnell Ranges

As I began my drive home from the West MacDonnells yesterday I caught a glimpse of a couple of birds feeding beside the road on some bitter melons.  I did a double-take, quickly pulled-over, grabbed my camera and walked back.  My hopes were realised – there it was, a beautiful Pink Cockatoo (also called a Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo).  It is the first one I’ve seen in almost three years.  Unfortunately, this beautiful bird is now endangered and an all too rare sight in inland Australia, where once they were common.  The bird I saw was a female (according to Nirbeeja), and I can only hope that she has a mate nearby.  To see a Pink Cockatoo again was an absolute thrill for me, the icing on the cake to end of a perfect day’s bushwalking.

Pink Cockatoo, also called the Major Mitchell's Cockatoo, West MacDonnell Ranges

Pink Cockatoo, also called the Major Mitchell's Cockatoo, West MacDonnell Ranges

15 August 2010.

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