Sunday, September 14, 2014

Innes National Park

At the end of last week, I went to Innes National Park as the South-western tip of the Yorke Peninsula. I drove the eastern then southern coastal roads, birding as I went.

First stop was Clinton Conservation Park. There were 9 Caspian Terns here, along with a lone Crested Tern, some Little Black Cormorants and about 150 Red-necked Avocets on the pool. A great start!




As I headed further south, a lone Little Egret was feeding close to a bridge and Welcome Swallows were busy collecting mud for their nests.


In Edithburgh, there were some Galahs feeding amongst bright yellow flowers, and nearby some Silver Gulls doing the same. (Or is this a new species - Yellow-breasted Gull???) 


The southern coast is very rugged and ideal for wind farms as it faces the prevailing wind.


As it warmed up lots of Shingleback Lizards started moving, and the Kestrels were about, alternating between soaring and perching.


Innes is stunning at the moment - full of amazing red Cockies Tongue (Templetonia retusa ), Emu's with stripey chicks, and Kangaroos. This Western Grey Kangaroo had this season's joey in the pouch, and last season's still tagging along behind.




One interesting spot is Ethel Beach near Cape Spencer where the wreck of the iron barque Ethel can still be seen on the beach. It ran aground in 1904.

The birdwatching is great here, with a good population of Malleefowl and the easternmost population of Western Whipbird (unfortunately I saw neither of these on this trip).  I found this pair of Sooty Oystercatcher with a nest at Cable Bay.  The park is overrun with Silvereyes at the moment, as well as White-browed Scrubwrens.



One bird I haven't seen in ages is Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, and a pair were very happy to pose for a few photos, as was this inquisitive Striated Pardalote.


On the way back, another stop at Clinton produced first one, then eventually 9 Great Egrets roosting in a small mangrove tree.

The last couple of pics were from a visit to Murray Mouth yesterday.  Pied Oystercatcher and Red-capped Plover - tagged on here as there is not enough for a post in its own right.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Local wetlands

After last night's storm, today dawned calm and sunny. But this was only to be a lull, as another front is forecast for tonight.

I decided to make the most of it and head to two local wetlands. The water was very high at Greenfields Wetlands so there were not many birds.  A Little Grassbird was very confiding though, alternating between feeding and singing in a bush right by the road.


This Purple Swamphen had a small family of chicks with it, but they all disappeared as soon as I touched the camera!

At Whites Road, the water was a little lower.  The Black Swans were feeding in one corner, with a single Australian Ibis and 100's of Black-tailed Nativehens in another.



On the way home I saw this White-faced Heron busily feeding in an old overgrown paddock.  He slowly stalked back and forth until he found lunch!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Windy Spring Morning

I'm on leave this week and was hoping for some good weather to get some birding in. No such luck as Monday starts with a severe weather warning for most of South Australia.  Still, I ventured out for a few hours, hoping to find somewhere sheltered

I headed northeast from Adelaide, and planned to call into a couple of different spots. First call, a small reserve near Roseworthy.  It was very windy, and no birds to be seen until the miners started with their alarm calls as a large raptor flew over.  It was silhouetted against the sky, but some post processing revealed an adult Spotted Harrier

Next call was Altona, still windy, but once I got below the ridge it wasn't too bad. I noticed that a few orchids were starting to show. Purple Cockatoo is very common.

The problem with looking at flowers while birding is that they are at opposite ends on the focusing range!  I missed a couple of shots that way.  Luckily this Grey Currawong was on a fallen branch that was too big to be blown around. Not so the White-naped Honeyeater. He was being blown all over the place. Not the best photo, but you can still make out his awesome red gape.


Then some more flowers. Not sure of the ID of the first two, but the rest are Common Donkey Orchid, Spreading Night-phlox and Pink Fairies





Then it's back to the birds with White-winged Chough, Red-capped Robin, (they seem to be everywhere this year) and astern Spinebill.



Finally, on the way home I saw a marker for a historic grave site, so I went to see who it was.  It was William Jacob, assistant to Colonel Light (who first surveyed Adelaide in the 1830's) and the founder of Jacob's Creek winery. Cheers William!!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Birding again

I can't believe its been 4 months since my last post.  A combination of ill health, too busy at work and at home, (and the Aussie Rules Football season!) has kept me away from the camera and the binoculars.

I did make a quick trip up to Brookfield Conservation Park the other weekend though. Just inside the gate, and the first bird I see is a stunning male red-capped Robin.  He was very confiding, and was not bothered that I sat only a few metres from his song perch.  Not so confiding were any of the multitude of lustily singing Rufous Songlarks. They wouldn't let me within 20 metres before flying away.


A little further along the track I stopped for an immature Hooded Robin, and what I think is a juvenile Rufous Whistler |(happy to be corrected).


Just as unconfiding was a Pallid Cuckoo, about 50 metres was his limit! (so this is a highly cropped image)

It was to be a very short visit, so I only had time for the Bluebush Track.  As usual there were plenty of White-winged Fairywrens about, and I got close to a small party of females. It wasn't long before the male popped up, but he never gave me a unobstructed shot.


As I was about to leave I noticed this Southern Whiteface popping in and out of a Saltbush with insects in it's beak, a sure sign that spring is on it's way.