Tuesday, May 26, 2009


We had another wet weekend in South Australia, so yet again I was unable to get out and about. I used the time to prepare a new page for my website featuring one of Australia (and the worlds) most enigmatic birds......the Pelican. The Australian Pelican Pelecanus conspicillanus is widespread across most of Australia and is a vagrant to New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. The Pelican is currently experiencing a huge breeding event at Lake Eyre in South Australia and the channel country of South Western Queensland due to the floods in Queensland earlier this year. I never tire of watching them, wether it be one, soaring or swimming, or a flock loafing on the beach or squabbling whilst feeding. A great spectacle is the daily feeding of wild pelicans at Kingscote on Kangaroo Island. Groups of pelicans fly in around an hour before dusk, and some days there can be 100 or more.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Autumn in the Clare Valley

Maryann and I spent this weekend in the Clare Valley wine region 130Km (80 miles) to the north of Adelaide. I was a very wet and gloomy weekend with drizzle and fog most of the time. Saturday was spent further west in the "Copper Triangle". In the late 19th century there was a large influx of cornish tin miners here and a May fair is held each year (complete with maypole dancing and cornish pasties) to celebrate their cornish heritage. (Note: May here is like November in the northern hemisphere!!)
Sunday was spent driving through the vineyards, and I took a couple of interesting shots. This one shows the method used to train the vines so that they can be harvested by machine.
Here you can see the distinct segregation of the different grape varieties within the same vineyard showing later through to earlier cropping vines from left to right.
In the bad weather, only a few commoner species of birds were seen. Willie Wagtails were common along the roadside. This one looks particularly unhappy to interupted!!
And Galahs were seen in the hotel gardens (this photo was taken a couple of summers ago and shows a female - distinguished by the red iris - males have a brown iris)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Confusing Aussie birds

Many Australian bird species were discovered and named by European naturalists and explorers, and were therefore named after more familiar species. This gives rise to some very odd bird names here in Australia. One of my favourite families are the Quail-thrushes. This male Chestnut Quail-thrush was photographed at Birds Australia's Gluepot Reserve in the riverland mallee area about 300Km (180 miles) north east of Adelaide The Grey Shrike-thrush is a great songster, and responds readily if you imitate its fluty whistles. Magpie-lark is one of the most common birds, certainly seen every day, and frequently flies and pecks at its own reflection in windows and car mirrors. The horizontal eyestripe identifies this as a male. The female has a vertical black eyestripe. Finally here is a gorgeous Red-capped Robin - not Robin at all, but a flycatcher.

Friday, May 8, 2009


I will be busy in the garden this weekend, so may not get a chance to get out. So I thought I'd post some pictures from my archives.
I mentioned O'Reilly's in Lamington National Park in the last post, and this reminded me about the close encounters you can get there.
There are many feeding stations there and you can get particularly close to King Parrots and Crimson Rosellas, as well as Satin and Regent Bowerbirds
If you are ever in south-eastern Queensland I would recommend a visit. If you click on the Regent Bowerbird it will take you to O'Reilly's website.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Water, Water Everywhere!!

This morning, for the first time since the rains, I was able to walk through Kaurna Wetland Park to catch my bus to work. In the dawn light I could see that all of the pools and waterways were full!! The air was full of the sound of frogs calling, and I resolved to take a quick walk when I got home.
The frogs were still calling this evening, and a few birds were moving around. Nothing special, a few Willie Wagtails, Rainbow, Musk and Purple-crowned Lorikeets, Red Wattlebirds, Adelaide Rosellas and Galahs were all seen. Suprisingly, no waterbirds at all.
Below are a couple of views of parts of the wetland park, and the last picture is an Orange-eyed Green Tree Frog, taken at O'Reilly's in Lamington National Park on a trip to catch up with my good friend Jenny from the UK. You can read Jenny's blog at http://www.wrensnaturenotebook.blogspot.com/