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We knew the birds would be different in Australia, but we didn’t realize how quickly we would see them. On one of our first afternoons in Tasmania, driving home across dry, sandy colored farmland, we swerved to a halt to see a flock of cockatoos! If you haven’t been to Australia you will never see this because cockatoos are really big and even zoos usually have two or maybe four of these birds. To see eight or a dozen big white birds land in the branches of a tree, pop up their yellow topknots, and start squawking causes us childish delight. Look! We can see them! It’s just like the pictures!

One day we saw a flock of around 100 cockatoos swirling over our heads. It was amazing. The specks are cockatoos, and this photo is by Jonathan.

We carry our binoculars everywhere because you never know what you will see. While making a U-turn,  a frequent activity of ours, Jonathan spotting something moving and we pulled over and got a look. It was a Superb Fairy Wren. What a name! What a bird! Who wouldn’t want one of these in the yard? It turns out that these lovely little birds are not uncommon in Tasmania, it’s seeing one for the first time that is such a treat.

We’ve seen other delightful and interesting birds, including native hens (a bit like the gallinules of New Zealand), hawks, and falcons, but the birds with bright colors are the ones that amaze me most.

[As usual, most of my bird photos come from the internet. Thanks, internet! If you’d like to see fabulous bird photos look on Instagram at awbirder for the photos of professional bird guide Andy Walker.]