It is a funny name, Coober Pedy. Many Americans have heard of it. It is one the places in Oz where some people live underground. It is the opal capital of Australia (and whatever happened to the Buick Opal? Whatever happened to Buick period?). Coober is a rocky pile of rocks and gravel with a lot of holes. Its birds have been very, very good to Lynn and me. I am grateful for Coober Pedy! (By the way, Pedy rhymes with “needy,” not “ready”). Basically we came here with two targets in mind, Gibberbird and Chestnut-breasted Whiteface.
We arrived in town Thursday about 4pm after a day of driving in a lot of rain. We were tired and ready to settle in, but there was a birding spot only two minutes from our accommodation. It was a place where our friend, Anne Collins had seen Gibberbird a while ago. We parked Troopi on the side of the unsealed Oodnadatta Rd. and walked out into the rocky, Martian-like landscape. About 100 meters in, we heard the call and soon, a male Gibberbird was sitting up in front of us. Sweet! We got awesome looks and some photos too! I am very grateful.
Friday morning just past 7am (sunrise is at 7:17am) we were driving the 12 kilometers south to the “Monument.” This is a well know spot for birding as well as a free camp. There were a few campers around, but mostly it was quiet. So were the birds. I reckon it was early. Robert showed up for a little while and then went back to town to look for the Gibberbird. Lynn and I kept at it and then… I saw a Pied Honeyeater! I think I said in a bit of disbelief, “That’s a Pied Honeyeater!” I was not expecting them, but I was delighted to see them (it turned out there were three). It had been a bird that Lynn and I had kept missing. We had hoped to possibly get it on our way back north, but here it was. AND with that bird, we have now seen all the Honeyeaters in Australia! Yes we have! I am very grateful!
|Mr and Ms Pied Honeyeater|
Then we worked our way further from the monument, still looking for the Chestnut-breasted. We were using Lynn’s ears to their maximum ability and she thought she heard it. Then, looking through her bins, she said magical words, “That’s the bird!” And friends, it was. A lovely Chestnut-breasted Whiteface perched in the top of a bush. I was on it instantly as well. Sweet! We watched it, I took some photos. Then it and its friend (there were two) flew off into the brush. Grateful much? Indeed I am. We saw them three more times and once after Robert had returned, so a Lifer Selfie was indeed in order.
|Chestnut-breasted Whiteface, first view|
|Robert on the Chestnut-breasted Whiteface|
Meanwhile, in my pocket, “technology” had done what it does, which is whatever it wants to do. My app had played Cinnamon Quail-thrush all on its own. I had looked at that bird in the app, so I reckon it had been ‘open' to it. Anyway, Lynn and I were in giggly, lifer-high when she asked, “Is that a Quail-thrush under that bush?” And friends, it was. A beautiful male Cinnamon Quail-thrush, a bird we needed and had figured to get somewhere, but not necessarily there in the scrub and rocks. We also saw a female. Sweet birds and we had wonderful looks (excellent compared to our brief views of the Nullarbor version earlier this year). Sweet!
|Mr. Cinnamon Quail-thrush|
|Ms Cinnamon Quail-thrush|
|She is swallowing a large grasshopper.|
So we had gotten our targets, plus a real bonus with the Pied Honeyeater! I am stupid grateful and sitting in our accommodation in the Oasis Tourist Park writing this and having a non-alcoholic “beer.” I am celebrating four Life Birds in less than 20 hours. I think a pub meal is in order this evening. We will see. Here are a couple of photos from out there where we were birding.
|Evidently, this is Chestnut-breasted Whiteface and Cinnamon Quail-thrush habitat. And Pied Honeyeaters can show up too!|
RB Life List: 656
Lynn Life List: 636
Couple’s Year List: 617
Peace. Love. Birds.