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.