Due to a few different reasons, my usual work afternoon was a bit shorter than usual, and I was given some very sketchy directions to a waterhole along the Docker River. Directions went kind of like this... "Go to the end of the bitumen, follow the main track down across the River and then keep going until you find it". Not totally convinced I was going to do much more than drive around unfamiliar countryside for a few hours, I returned to my accommodation and grabbed some supplies for the afternoon and headed off "towards the end of the bitumen". I stuck basically as close to one side of the valley as I could and amazingly, found the waterhole. I could see lots of bird activity prior to arriving so I thought I must be in the right spot. The last part of the drive was a bit rocky so I parked the car as close as I could and clambered down the large rocks and sat in the shade of a large gum tree. Being the absolutely top notch observer that I am (not), a pair of Little Corellas alighted from a branch almost above my head, letting me know what they thought of my intrusion.
There were Zebra Finches and Diamond Doves everywhere, zooming around, chirping, and settling on branches in large numbers. The budgerigars zoomed in and out loudly, but were reluctant to settle near the water. After about 45 minutes, during which time I had entertained myself watching dragonflies, finally a lone Diamond Dove ventured to the water's edge, soon to be joined by another, and then another, and then the Zebra Finches started. After a couple of minutes of these two varieties zipping to the water for a quick drink before heading off again, I was starting to wonder about the Budgerigars. With a few shrieks from the nearby White-plumed Honeyeaters and complete panic from those at the water's edge, a large shape zoomed in and snaffled something before heading off into a tree on the other side of the water from me. A Collared Sparrowhawk had successfully stopped the Budgerigar drinking bonanza of a small flock by snaffling one before it had a chance to get to the water. I now knew why all the birds had been a bit hesitant. The bird of prey happily plucked its lunch and readied it for a journey to wherever lunch was to be served. It eventually flew into a nearby tree where it gave me a look at its now claw-encapsulated meal before heading off. Another 20 minutes of waiting and finally the birds returned for a drink. As it was getting late in the afternoon and the clouds were starting to roll in, I headed back towards Docker River community, after thoroughly enjoying my fortunate afternoon in nature.
Budgerigars and Zebra Finches - this was the "line-up area" to head down to the water's edge for a drink
The Collared Sparrowhawk
Diamond Doves and Zebra Finches