Author JeLa D. ◦ Photos by Dorothy L.

It’s Friday evening, I’m doing my check of what I’ll need for tomorrow’s outing… shirt and shorts with lots of pockets, warm socks, dirty boots (as I haven’t polished them from the last outing). Spare batteries, lens cleaner, binoculars and make sure my phone has a full charge.

I set my alarm for 04:15 am, and woke at 04:00 am. A quick shower and I was ready for my friend Will, scheduled for a 05:00 am pickup. Will and myself are heading out of Alice Springs for an early bird photography day.

Heading north, and chatting away… Will suddenly said, “Oh no I forgot the boiled eggs.” Will always provides breakfast on our early morning outings.

“Well you always bring more than we need, so no eggs today,” I replied. “I would like to see a Pied Honeyeater today”, I said “and get some better photos than what I already have.”

“They are usually around here, so lets see what happens” Will replied.

More chatting and we arrive at our destination, north of Alice Springs. Not a secret location, but those in the know, know where I am talking about.

Now we’ve reached the gate, I get out and open and then close it (one of the unwritten rules of travelling through private property in the outback). Driving on to the second gate and as I’m closing the gate, a very swift bird flies passed the car and Will makes the educated call, of an Owlet Nightjar. Wow!! He said he’d never seen one here before. Double WOW!!

We parked his car in the usual spot and getting out of the vehicle… “Oh no I forgot to bring my camera and binoculars” I hear him cry!!

It was at this precise moment I see all these budgies flying overhead. “Will, look, budgies”, I call out. “There are hundreds of them”. I did not want to go back for his bloody camera and binoculars. But what are friends for…….. grrrrrr… “Ummm, well what’s happening now?” I say. “Do you want to drive back and get them, I can wait here” I suggest.”

“No we both go back in case something happens to me, how are you getting back then” was his response.

Makes sense I think, DRAT.

Well we finally arrive back at the Bore about 09.00 am.

I grab my camera while Will sets up our breakfast. Yes, the eggs were there all the time, boiled and cold, just how I like them.

Click, click click. All the while the budgies are flying and dipping down to the dam for a drink. Breakfast was forgotten I couldn’t stop taking photos. Will had joined me with his camera, the budgies coming closer and closer then flying just above our heads, I couldn’t stop click, click. Then I thought take a video!! Well I’m certainly no dab hand at filming a movie, but I try! The first attempt is just so so, then I spot something that makes my day even betterer (a bit of colloquialism).

There must be at least a thousand birds swarming around us dipping and diving. It was then I suddenly spotted among all the green, an all yellow budgie!!! WHAT A FIND. I was beside myself with joy.

Much later I found out in the bird world, this a ‘yellow / lutino’ and is a ‘natural mutation’.

But I digress. “WILL,” I all but scream out, he is sitting less than arms length from me! “An all yellow budgie, look over there,” I say pointing across the dam. You guessed it, click, click, click. The yellow budgie was sitting in the dead shrub across from us.

Well our day was almost complete. Somehow in all the excitement both of us had eaten our breakfast and enjoyed a much welcomed cuppa or two.

“There’s the Pied Honeyeater call” I hear Will say “just in that dead tree.” I went one way, Will the other. He got photos, I didn’t. Oh well that’s bird photography.

I see a flutter across the dam, click, click, once again. Another ‘must have bird’. I looked at the screen, “I got the Grey Honeyeater,” a huge smile across my face that couldn’t be wiped of in a hurry. Gosh, I have been after this bird for quite some time. It couldn’t get any better could it? Will agreed but was a bit unsure on my call.

Once home I checked my photos, I was pumped, Yellow Budgie and Grey Honeyeater all in one day, yeah. I was soon deflated, no Grey Honeyeater, bugger! Instead what I had captured was indeed the Pied Honeyeater male and female.

There was also an Australian Hobby, Native Hens, Cockatiels, Zebra Finch, just to name a few of the other birds that were spotted or heard while at the Bore.

Well there is always another day and we’ll probably be back there in a couple of weeks. But while at work today (Tuesday) I receive a call from Will, he doesn’t want to wait a couple of weeks before we go there again. Ho, ho look out birds we’ll see you on Saturday.