Thursday, December 31, 2009

Skywatch Friday - Happy New Year

The dawning of a new day, and a new year in Australia
Happy New Year everyone.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Goolwa and the Coorong National Park

I took a couple of hours out today, and drove down to Goolwa which sits at the northern end of the Coorong National Park. On the way, I always call in to Old Noarlunga, a small village on the Onkaparinga River. At a little park here there is a roost of Rufous Night-herons. (Herons are my favourite bird family). They roost in some old pines, but when I arrived today the place had been invaded by a noisy flock of Little Corellas. They were all over the park, all over the pines, and I couldn't see any Night-herons. After a good hard search I eventually found two, high up in separate pines. No good for photos, but just as I was leaving another flew in, and settled fairly low down enabling me to get a some photos. They really are stunning with their long white plumes. Back on the road to Goolwa I spotted a bird that I didn't recognise on the verge. I did a quick u-turn and drove past again. The ID still did not click, and the bird flew up as I passed. So, another u-turn and I pulled up opposite. Luckily it was on a roadside bush. It was a Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, and I managed to get half a dozen quick shots before it flew off. I drove straight through Goolwa to the national park as the tide was falling and the birds would get too far away for photos. There were a good selection of waders (shorebirds) but only Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and Red-necked Stints were within range. There is a barrage across the River Murray here to keep fresh water levels up and sea water out and from here there were a few terns fishing, including Crested and Caspian. I caught a lucky shot of a Crested Tern shaking itself after diving for a fish, and also saw Caspian Terns hovering, which I hadn't noticed before. On the way back into Goolwa I stopped at a bird hide - I don't usually stop here the pans are usually dried out, but there was water there today. A quick look showed more Sharpies, and an Australian Spotted Crake - not a great shot, but the best I could get through the vegetation. Back at the car, this young Magpie was waiting for any crumbs I might drop.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Skywatch Friday - Merry Christmas

A Christmas sky in South Australia Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all. Thanks for visiting my blog in 2009. I have been amazed, and flattered, that so many people are interested in seeing my photos. Please stay safe over the holiday period, and into 2010. Take Care and best wishes to you all, Tony.

Monday, December 21, 2009

River Torrens Linear Park

Yesterday I walked part of the River Torrens Linear Park. This park stretches from Gulf St. Vincent right through the City of Adelaide to the hills, and apart from a couple of short stretches is continuous. It has a footpath and cycleway running its complete length. There is a weir close to the sea designed to maintain the water level in the river. In the summer the river can dry out in places. There is also a boom to stop rubbish and debris flowing into the Gulf which the birds find convenient to rest on. The sea end is being redeveloped and now has a stretch of the coastal path and cycleway and some new pelican sculptures. There were also lots of real pelicans there as well. There were plenty of flowering eucalypts along the walk, some with very interesting bark. One species of eucalypt with white flowers was very popular with the birds and had lots of Rainbow and Musk Lorikeets and also Little Wattlebirds feeding on the nectar. Amongst the many birds along the river bank were Maned Ducks, Masked Lapwings and Spotted Doves. Finally, back at the beach there were a group of Silver Gulls squabbling over a baby octopus.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Skywatch Friday

A gorgeous sky over Flinders Chase National Park, Kangaroo Island, South Australia.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Kangaroo Island - Part 4 - Odds and Ends

For the last post from KI I have pulled a few more photos that didn't really fit into the other posts. This is one of the two ferries (I am on the other one) that cross Backstairs Passage between Cape Jervis and Penneshaw. Another place we stopped at was Kelly Hill Conservation Park, and here we saw Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos high in the eucalypts. There was an Australian Raven hopping around the picnic site, and another family of Superb Fairywrens. This one was feeding fully grown youngsters. The western KI coastline around Cape de Couedic is stunning! At Seal Bay, we saw this group of Silver Gulls, landing on, and eating the berries of, this bush. Vegetarian gulls? surely not!! In the New Zealand Christmas Tree from the last post, there was a House Sparrow attempting to drink nectar from the blooms, and also a camera shy Silvereye - he was definitely on the flower when I pushed the shutter........

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Kangaroo Island - Part 3 - Kingscote

On the Sunday we had to make our way back to the ferry and then home to Adelaide. We took a slow drive and stopped at any likely looking spots. One such spot was a flowering Pohutukawa (New Zealand Christmas Tree) near the tidal swimming pool. It was a very busy spot with many birds coming and going. New Holland Honeyeaters and Silvereyes made up the majority. As we headed round the Bay of Shoals we found a few Pelicans, a couple of Pied Oystercatchers (recently split from Eurasian Oystercatcher) and a very cheeky Superb Fairy-wren. Finally we headed to Lathami Conservation Park at Stokes Bay to look for Glossy Black Cockatoo. This highly endangered race is found only on KI, and is separated from the mainland race by almost 2000km (1250 miles). We heard a couple, and saw one briefly as it flew away from us. This photo was taken a couple of years ago and is of the mainland race. Also at Lathami were lots of Common Brown butterflies and my favourite native plant the Grass Tree