Alice Springs Photographer Blog

Budgie Murmurations (large flocks) in Central Australia


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Its been an stunning few mornings here in Central Australia where one of natures true spectacles is in full swing. Budgerigars by the tens of thousands are converging to form the largest murmurations that Central Australia has seen in many years.

The location is a closely guarded secret amongst twitcher (birder) circles and it took a few mornings of mild success to find it. Once we did however we found Budgies by the thousands and also a few twitchers whose first words were "how did you find out about this place?". It might seem a little abrupt but the secrecy to such a spot is not just there so the twitchers can keep it to themselves. The secrecy, as I see it, is there to help protect such a rare congregation of budgies from being harassed to the point where they feel threatened and need to find a new waterhole.

The experience of such an event crosses over from the pure visual mezmerisation to the truly dynamic sound that such a large group of budgies can make as they swoop through the air. I'm sure you've heard it before, that rushing woosh even a group of 10 budgies flying past can stir up. So multiply that sound by a factor of 10,000 and I'm sure that anyone who is lucky enough (or persistent enough) to experience it first hand would be nothing less than stunned.

I for one have never seen anything like it, I've travelled the world going to great lenghts to find new experiences and photograph them so to have this phanomina happing so close to home is a blessing.

Photographing a murmuration of budgies is not the easiest thing to do because they are fast, agile and did I mention fast. Often on the first few mornings I'd find myself jogging into a field of knee high native grass, hoping there was no snakes and trying to flank them in anticipation of their next move. It was adrenilin filled shooting at its best. This morning I sat in stagnant water form before sunrise to get some shots close up and from below with a wide angle lens hoping to get a huge swatch of sky filled by the budgies.

All round fun as shooting where your using all your creative skills in combination with your keen observations to make some once a decade images.

It has been a good week!