Monday, November 2, 2009

Arid Country and a Grasswren

I headed back up to Whyalla this weekend, having not been there for over for a month. The land is very dry again, despite the good rains this winter. There are lots of flowers out though. These pink ones are plentiful along the roadside. We headed up to the lookout on Friday evening to try and catch a bit of breeze and watch the sunset. We missed the sunset by a few minutes, but the view was still good. I then went to the marina to try out a new setting I had found on my camera that extends the maximum ISO from 3200 to 6400 or 12800. I wish I knew about this when I was in the rainforest in Queensland!! On Saturday morning I headed out early to try and photograph Thick-billed Grasswren. Grasswrens are a lovely group of birds, generally confined to arid land. Then tend to skulk in cover, dashing from bush to bush giving short glimpses. I have seen various species of Grasswren but never managed a shot of one. I had just been told of a small population close to Maryann's home and it seemed an ideal opportunity to get familiar with it. The area they inhabit near Whyalla is an area of small sandhills and Saltbush/ Bluebush scrub between a road and a railway track. I slowly drove along looking for any sign of movement. Twice I saw one run across the road and disappear. So I stopped at a likely looking place, and tried my Audobon Bird Call. Up popped a couple of White-winged Fairywrens - no photo, and then a Grasswren, Click! and gone!! This is the highly cropped and magnified result - It is definitely the rear view of a Grasswren. Next time I am over I will give it another go and try to get his good side!! I also saw some interesting tracks in the sand made by a large lizard. I followed the tracks, but couldn't find it anywhere. They were probably made by a Sand Goanna. Going back through Whyalla, I noticed this unusual tree with its even more unusual fruit/nut/seed pod. Finally on the way home to Adelaide I passed the ephemeral salt lake at Lochiel which had turned a lovely shade of pink! This is due to carotene being released by the algae Dunadiella Salina


  1. The photos at dusk are stunning! And the ephemeral lake is lovely. Would love to see that in person. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Lovely post Tony! Those late evening shots are great, it's nice when you try something new and it works out! (-: That really is a weird looking seed pod. Could it be some unusual type of Eucalyptus? Your pink lake reminded me of the Salton Sea in California, did you ever get there Tony? Now that definitely is a weird landscape, almost alien.

  3. Thanks wilma. It's a great country for nature lovers!! Do try and come here sometime.

    Hi Jen, No didn't get there. I don't think it's a eucalypt. I'll try and find someone from the Botanic Gardens to ID it for me.

  4. Hi Tony when i about 14years old, i had a weekend job at our Garden Centre, and the number one best selling tree was the Eucalyptus.
    I can't remember if it had seed pods.
    But it looks familiar.

  5. Hi john. Thanks - I have sent the link to a colleagie at the Adelaide Botanical Gardens - I'll update the post when I get an ID