CRIMSON ROSELLA – race elegans (Platycercus elegans)

It was late in the day (6.30pm DST) when I went outdoors for some fresh air yesterday.

I walked to the end of the row of townhouses and back to my front door with my Mother’s old walking stick.  It had been one of those days when my back/hip/knee pain was absolutely excruciating and no amount of painkillers worked.  Having successfully achieved this short ‘stroll’ I decided to walk down to the nearby Maribyrnong River and back home.

(note: photos below were made at various times over the last 2 years since I moved to the area, not yesterday).

My Sony a6000 ‘mirrorless’ with its one (and only) lens – the 55-210mm –  was over my shoulder and I figured I’d probably not see any birds close enough to the walking path to do any bird photography and besides…….if I did, I would have needed my DSLR and long 150-500mm lens to capture them up close.

But what the heck – a walk with a camera is better than a walk without  🙂

Of course, as you can all imagine, I DID see a bird.

A new one I’d never seen before in this area.

Its stopped me in my tracks and I never did get to the river.

Despite the fast dwindling light, the bird’s brilliant red head stood out like a beacon in the pocket of dry grass next to Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve.

It was a Crimson Rosella (Platycercus elegans).

I’d seen this Rosella in the Dandenong Ranges National Park in the wild (and also at one of the bird feeding stations on my brother’s farm in the country), but NEVER in an urban area or near my current home, despite being a very common bird.

The Crimson Rosella is a large broad-tailed parrot, conspicuous and familiar in the east and southeast of the country.  The adult is predominantly deep crimson, heavily mottled black on back, with blue throat/cheek patch, blue shoulder to the wing and blue-green tail.

The Southeast race (Platycercus flaveolus) is strikingly different with a golden-olive body, crimson forehead, breast and under tail.

Despite the cold wind which pierced my thin jacket and made me shiver, I managed to hold the camera  quite still and captured 3-4 relatively well focused shots.  The last 6-8 months practice of photographing those fast-moving tiny Fairy-wrens on my balcony…… paid off.

And here’s a cropped version of the image on the left.  Sorry the grass is in the way, but you bird photographers know how it is.  The best camera is the one you’ve got with you and while I could hope for a better shot on another day, this nature blog is about what I see on my walk (not what I hope to see in the future).

I carefully used my walking stick to balance as I gingerly side-stepped down a steep 4 foot embankment (in the hope of getting closer to the parrot).

I couldn’t get closer than about 20 feet, but once again my shot was good enough to crop to show you the back of the parrot as it turned in the dry grass.

(for the zillionth time I wish I had my Canon DSLR and could pin point the bird’s head with one focal point).

Then it must have sensed my stealthy approach and flew away to the tree on the corner of the nature reserve.

…and once again, here’s a cropped version.

Then it hopped down to a lower branch….


For those new to my nature blog, the corner of Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve, which is so overgrown and has no pathways through it, is approximately 100 feet from my ‘back gate’ (the entrance to my building’s basement car park).  You can walk around the perimeter, but not through it.  In fact the area close to my home has a pond surrounded by 6-7 foot high reeds and various species of waist-high densely woven grass.  In the warmer weather the signs warning of snakes are not to be ignored.

Note: Australia has 9 out of 10 of the most poisonous snakes in the world.

Yesterday, just before dusk, the wind was bitterly cold and I probably should have gone outdoors earlier, but it was a last-minute decision.  I certainly wasn’t prepared for the chilly wind on this late Spring afternoon.