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.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Local Birding

Earlier this week, I took my camera with me on Kobe's walk in the wetlands,.  I photographed three different heron species, Pacific (also called White-necked) Heron, Great Egret and White-faced Heron.

Yesterday I had a couple of hours birding the backroads between St Kilda and Port Gawler.  It was very windy, so most of the birds kept well hidden.   Mr and Mrs House Sparrow were busy, so hardly noticed me when I stopped the car.

This Singing Honeyeater was perched strategically in the lee of a bush.

The Silver Gulls were enjoying a puddle in the car park.

There were a few waders, but no summer migrants yet.  Sooty Oystercatcher, Masked Lapwing and a young White-headed Stilt were all I managed to photograph before the heavens opened and I headed for home.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A day full of raptors

I spent this morning driving the back roads between Lower Light and Hamley Bridge looking for raptors.

Within 200m of Port Wakefield Road I saw the first of many Spotted Harriers. This one came and checked me out and at one point was too close to photograph.

In the same area were a pair of Black Kites, and one shot was photo-bombed by a Black-shouldered Kite which then thermaled with the other birds.

Other common birds were Australian Kestrel and Brown Falcon

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Letter-winged Kite and Spotted Harrier

The other day, I went for a drive through the area ravaged by the Pinery bushfire in late 2015. The area is regenerating well, and is looking great at the moment. Following a bumper cropping season, there is also a mouse plague in the area, and consequently an influx of birds of prey.

I had heard there was a pair of Letter-winged Kites, a rare irruptive species in this part of South Australia.  The plan for the morning was to search these out, and then look for any other raptors before an approaching storm hit the area.

A couple of birding friends were also out that way, and I soon had a message to say that they had located them, only one road away from where I was looking.

As I arrived, one of the kites was flying around.  It soon settled in a tree, with a mouse in its talons. after a while the other bird also flew in and settled close to its mate.  

By this time it was getting late, so I made a quick tour around some of the nearby roads, where I saw a juvenile Spotted Harrier from a fair distance.  I managed a few shots, but they are heavily cropped.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Victor Harbor and Goolwa

Today I went to Victor Harbor and Goolwa. After seeing some great video of the birds at Nangawooka Flora Reserve, it was high on my list of places to visit.

There was quite a bit of activity there, particularly amongst the parrots, with plenty of squabbling, and some nest hole prospecting going on.  Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Adelaide Rosella, Rainbow Lorikeet and Sulphur-crested Cockatoo were all snapped in quick succession.

The small birds were a bit less cooperative, but I did grab some shots of Brush Wattlebird and House Sparrow.

I then headed top Basham Beach to see if there were any whales there.  On the way, at a small roadside pool I saw White-faced Heron and some White-headed Stilts.  No whales at Basham, but I did catch up with some at the surfing beach at Middleton.

Next stop was Goolwa, but the tide was in so there were no waders to be seen. The usual Purple Swamphens, Dusky Moorhens and Willie Wagtails were around the picnic areas.

On the way out to the boat ramp, there was a family of Black-shouldered Kites in the Pines. and at the ramp were Little Pied Cormorants and a confiding Great Egret.

Heading back, I stopped of at the barrage, and tried my hand with some flight shots.  Firstly with a Caspian Tern and then with the Great Crested Terns.  I am so glad I am not shooting film! These are the best from around 200 frames.

Last shots of the day were of a much more sedate Australian Pelican...