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2008: Albany, Western Australia

Western Rosella

The three parrot families sit somewhere between pigeons and cuckoos. First of them, the New Zealand clan numbers only three. That country’s six parakeets mix in with the main world family (the Psittacidae), before which lies the cohort of twenty or so cockatoos. About a quarter of the way through the 350 Psittacidae species are six rosellas – all Australian. In fact, they immediately follow red-capped parrot and the ringneck.

The only rosella that occurs in the south-west is, not surprisingly, western rosella and this it was that gave me my 880th lifer. Round the motel I also caught up with New Holland honeyeaters for the sixth family member of the odyssey. Discounting chats, that little corner of Australia provides 15 honeyeaters. So for day two of the road trip, I wasn’t doing too badly.

And of course the truly great thing about birding entirely new regions is that cruddy locations like motels deliver lifers. Unfortunately this motel delivered nothing else, like food or even access to food in the neighbourhood. Two nearby garages stocked crisps and sweets but nothing as solid as a sandwich.

Ah! The British sandwich: a readily available – even in garages – model of convenience stacked up against its world offspring. Two slices of bread packaging a filling. Note the use of the word packaging. Not struggling to contain some squidgy mass of meat, vegetables, condiments and sauces. Not that American model of a sandwich, which Australia also seems to have adopted. A behemoth that no gape could be wide enough to bite into.

But Australian sandwiches were later. Not even they were to be had now. Does this sound like I was having a good time?

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