Some of you may well have read of the rediscovery of this incredibly rare, long thought to be extinct, Australian Night Parrot Geopsittacus occidentalis. The Birdwatch web carried the news and gave some details. However, an old birding friend who lives in Brisbane (we were at university half a century since and I shall be birding with he and his wife next year when Down Under), was one of the invitees to the special press conference and was able to provide me with extra details.

The Night Parrot Geopsittacus occidentalis is known from only a few specimens in the 20th century, one being a flattened bird on a road in the bush, another which decapitated itself on a wire fence. It is a relative of the Australian Ground Parrot and the New Zealand KakapoThe only previously accepted sight record of the species by the Birds Australia Records Committee was of two to three birds at Minga Well, Western Australia, on 12 April 2005.

Here enter stage left an Australian birder who became obsessed with finding, perhaps rediscovering might be a better expression, this incredibly rare species. John Young, the birder in question, spent 5 years on his search in the extreme conditions of the Australian Outback, and where he went it is virtually impossible to be further out! he covered some 11.000 miles and wore out two quad bikes in the process.

The press conference before an invited audience at the Queensland Museum in Brisbane on 3 July announced the rediscovery, showed 6 (six) seconds of video and a few images were released of some 600 claimed to exist by John Young. The bird is seen to be hopping like a kangaroo! My friend says that it is very convincing. 

The bird was filmed in a small area of some 38 square miles of private property in the Diamantina National Park in SW Queensland where it butts up against the Northern Territory (a lonfg way from Western Australia), which, as David said to me, is like it being in your back garden in Australian terms! It's a big country! The exact site was not released, apparently to loud applause when it was explained that it was not being given in order to dissuade twitchers and for that reason too sound recordings of its calls are not being released. Plans to set up a properly controlled search and then design conservation measures are being considered.

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