A Red-winged Parrot in Harristown!

In 2006, we set up the inaugral Challenge to see if we could collectively record 250 species during the year in the club's survey area. How did we go? Extremely well considering the drought... Plenty of unusual and rare birds .... some great records from non-members too. It was a fascinating year. And a worthwhile exercise which we encourage other groups to follow. See for yourself...

Moderator: Mick Atzeni

A Red-winged Parrot in Harristown!

Postby Mick Atzeni » Mon Jun 19, 2006 8:56 pm

On 17/6/06 around 11:45am, at 27 Justin St, Harristown (two houses down from St Anthony's Primary School) a strange parrot call caught my attention while I was out in the yard and I looked up to see a Red-winged Parrot being chased by a crow in a NW direction.

I have submitted a Rare Bird report just for the record, but it is unlikely we'll add this species to the Challenge list because it is more than likely an aviary escapee. What may sway the decision is if there are other sightings of this species, especially of two or more birds, in and around Toowoomba from now on. This would suggest these are drought-driven birds, or the species is extending its range eastwards like the Bluebonnet appears to be doing.

I have only seen this species once before in our survey area. That was at Helidon. Beyond the survey area, the closest I have seen this species regularly is around the Karara area west of Warwick. A big personal knowledge gap exists as far as sightings much closer to Toowoomba.

So how far from Toowoomba are the nearest resident populations?

I encourage birders to report any sightings of this species within 50km or so of Toowoomba, including historical records.

Thanks in advance.
Michael Atzeni
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Historical 'records' of 'Crimson Wings' in Toowoomba.

Postby Rod Hobson » Tue Jun 27, 2006 8:12 am

Mick,

Red-winged Parrots, known as Crimson Wings in the caged-bird trade, were certainly much more commom around Toowoomba when I was a kid than they are now. I grew up in Rangeville, which was then 'the boonies';consisted mainly of orchards, dairy farms and market gardens interspersed with large tracts of eucalypt woodland. All swallowed up now by housing development. I lived in Rowbotham Street (1950's-70's). Rowbotham Street was dirt in the 50's and the nearest suburban development was around the Perth Street/Kitchener Street (Lake Annand) area. I remember seeing a Black Bittern when I was yabbying there one day! This is setting the scene (rather than a trip down Memory Lane) for the habitat into which Red-winged Parrots were occasional visitors.

As kids we used to trap parrots and finches for pocket money so were well aware of the more desirable species such as Red-wings, Eastern and Crimson Rosellas when they used to put in their irregular appearances. Also Plum-headed Finches, Diamond Firetails and Chestnut-breasted Mannikins (Bullies, Bull Finches) were in this category. Pale-headed Rosella, Galah, King Parrot, Crested Pigeon (Toppies), Double-bars, Zebras (Shellies) and Red-browed Firetails (Red Snips) were the local stock-in-trade species. This all began to change in the mid 60's when suburban development started its inexorable advance across Rangeville. Many bird species disappeared locally to be replaced by other species that didn't exist there during Rangeville's bucolic existence; species such as Red Wattlebird and Blue-faced Honeyeater. The Crimson Wings and Bullies are gone but the Red Wattlebirds are now resident in Toowoomba.

The nearest to Toowoomba that I now see Red-winged Parrot is around Jondaryan on the eastern Downs.

Regards,
Rod Hobson
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Red-winged Parrots in Meringandan during April 2005

Postby Mick Atzeni » Sat Jul 29, 2006 6:21 pm

Member Barbara Jonsonn, in response to my request for historical sightings of Red-winged Parrots close to Toowoomba, advised there was a pair feeding regularly in a tree - Barbara didn't know the type of tree - in her son's yard at Valley View Rd, Meringindan during April last year. They hung around for about 3 weeks. Her son has since moved so doesn't know if the birds returned again this year.

Please keep an eye out if you're in that neck of the woods. Meringandan is within our survey area (Grid N1). The northern boundary of our area is Peter's Rd, north of the township.
Michael Atzeni
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Pittsworth observations from Alastair Silcock

Postby Mick Atzeni » Tue Oct 03, 2006 11:05 pm

In response to my request for sightings, Pittsworth member, Alastair Silcock, supplied me with the following info for which I'm most grateful.

... Crimson wings have been quite common in Pittsworth for the past several
years. We've been here 17 years in the town, and I don't remember
seeing them until the last few years. I noticed them particularly
because they were a favourite bird when we lived near Aramac years ago,
so I think I would have noticed them had they been in town previously.
They're mostly sighted in summer when they love the sunflowers that
people grow, but it's not surprising now to see the odd bird any time of
year.

Regards
Alastair Silcock
Michael Atzeni
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