Sunday, November 5, 2017

Port River cruise - Shorebird Festival

Yesterday we took part in the launch of the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary Shorebird Festival by taking a cruise on the Port River.   Around 300 people took part and it was a lovely way to spend an afternoon.  The bird sanctuary has recently been declared as a national park, and you can find out more about it here.

The port river is a busy waterway, and is used by boats and ships of all sizes. There were small sailing boats, motor boats, HMAS Brisbane, big container ship and everything in between, all using the river.

Many of the birds were a long way off, but I did manage to get a few shots.  Amongst the birds we saw were Pied Oystercatcher, Australian Pelican, Crested Tern and Black-faced Cormorant.

We also saw some of the Port River Dolphins, always a crowd pleaser.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Adelaide Airport

We popped down to Adelaide Airport the other day to watch the planes in the windy conditions.

This Tigerair Airbus was actually landing to my left!

There was the usual mix of Virgin, Qantas and Jetstar flights arriving.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Painted Snipe at Whites Road Wetland

Late on Sunday news came out of four Painted Snipe (an uncommon summer visitor to South Australia) had been seen at Whites Road Wetland.  This is a bird I hadn't seen for many years, so I headed down this morning to try and find them. 

Eventually I spotted three Painted Snipe deep in a tangled sedge bed, got the telescope on them for about ten seconds and off they flew!  

I searched for a couple of hours, but no joy.   The consolation prize was a very confiding Laughing Kookaburra, showing just how well camouflaged this large bird can be.

On the way back to the car I saw a lone Black-fronted Dotterel and some Fairy Martins picking up mud for nest building.

I decided to give the Snipe another try this evening.  A repeat performance. Short views and then off they flew, only this time they settled on the far bank.  I walked round and found them bathing in the shallows, before they flew again this time across a small channel.  A bit of stalking and a few more pics. Success!  Not the greatest pics as I was shooting through grass and trees most of the time.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Pengilly Scrub - almost 2 years on

Today I made a quick visit to Pengilly Scrub on the Adelaide Plains about 20 minutes drive from home.  Pengilly Scrub  was devastated in the 2015 Pinery Bushfire.  Whilst the understory is recovering well, the bigger trees still have a way to go.

The first bird to play was a Dusky Woodswallow, who perched about 15 metres away just above eye level.

There were plenty of Neophema parrots there, but they were very flighty, and I couldn't get very close to them.  There were groups of both Blue-winged and Elegant Parrots, and some young ones. The third pic is a young Neophema, and from the amount of yellow on its face I think it is most likely a juvenile Blue-winged Parrot.

Whilst wandering I came across this very agitated Willie Wagtail, and it didn't take much fieldcraft to find his nest complete with a clutch of three eggs. 

On the fence line nearby were plenty of Singing Bushlarks.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017


Yesterday I made a long overdue return visit to Tolderol Game Reserve, on the edge of Lake Alexandrina.   

On the way in, a Kestrel was playing cat and mouse with me, but eventually gave in and sat still to allow me a few photos from the car.

There were a few Black Swans on, and over the Lake.

Small birds were very busy singing and flitting about in the reeds,  Superb Fairywren and Golden-headed Cisticola both eventually staying still long enough to get some reasonable shots

There was plenty of raptor activity, mostly Swamp Harriers, but also a Whistling Kite.

Terns were very much in evidence with around 80 Caspian Terns, smaller numbers of Crested and Gull-billed, and probably thousands of Whiskered Terns on the reserve.

I was looking for White-winged Terns in the Whiskered tern roost when they all suddenly flew up.  I'm sure there will be one in there somewhere!!

The waders were all pretty distant except for this young White-headed Stilt.

Another sure sign of spring was this Bearded Dragon warming itself on a fence post.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Port Wakefield

Yesterday I headed north to check out Bald Hill Beach for migrant waders. Unfortunately, the armaments testing range was active so the road was closed.  Plan B was to visit the boat ramp and seasonal wetland at nearby Port Wakefield.

The tide was just ebbing as I got there, and I soon found a Common Sandpiper fossiking along the exposed mangrove margins.  There was also a single Black-tailed Nativehen there - not something I expected - they usually prefer fresh water. There was a Spotted Dove perched on the railing, and as I was leaving I heard the strident call of a Sacred Kingfisher perched in the mangroves. In the town were plenty of White Ibis, and a single Masked Lapwing.

At first glance, the wetlands was fairly quiet, so I settled myself down in the samphire and waited.  Soon, an immature then an adult Red-necked Avocet came within range, followed by White-headed Stilt and Red-kneed Dotterel.

Then some smaller waders appeared from the other direction, a migrant Red-necked Stint, and a pair of resident Red-capped Plovers, first the bright male, and then the female.

I headed back through the backroads of the Adelaide Plains, stopping for a couple of Brown Falcons, an older lighter bird, and then a darker bird that I thought might have been a Black Falcon.  At another stop I heard and soon tracked down a Brown Treecreeper.

I also spotted my first Bearded Dragon of the summer, warming on a concrete fence post.