Friday, December 31, 2010

Odds and ends.

Happy New Year!! New Years Eve is forecast to hit 43C (109F) so instead of going out I decided to scour my archives and show some of my photos that never made the blog for various reasons.. This Centipede was in my garden and there was nothing else to make up a posting, so it was left "on the shelf". I spotted these clouds on the way to work, taken through the bus window at approx 50kph (30mph).

These lovey dovey Musk Lorikeets were seen on the Cobbler Creek walk, but I already had a pic of a Musk Lorikeet in the post. Lorikeets and parrots in general are often seen mutually preening.

I liked the way this plane stood out against the clear blue sky.

This shot was taken at Lake Gilles. I was trying to capture the remoteness of the place.

Now a couple of close-ups taken at Cleland Wildlife Park. I had never noticed the blue around the eye on a Pied Cormorant before, and every day is a "bad hair day" if you are an Emu!!

With vast distances to cover, almost everything is hauled by road or rail. On the main interstate routes roadtrains are used. They frequently have 3 trailers, but this one was the first I saw that has 4 trailers. Alpacas are seen more and more frequently, being farmed for their wool, or being kept as pets.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Square-tailed Kite

A few weeks ago I found out about a pair of Square-tailed Kites nesting in the Adelaide Hills. Square-tailed Kite is a rare breeding bird in South Australia and I was looking forward to seeing a bird I haven't seen for 5 years. I hadn't had a chance to go and see them until today. I was hoping that the chicks hadn't fledged, as that would have made the birds much more difficult to find. When I arrived at the site, there was another birder there. He had seen the kites before, so could show me the nest location. One of the adults was at the nest, and we watched for a while but there was no sign of the chicks. After a while the adult flew off, and I managed a quick shot against the bright sky. When the adult returned, it flew to a tree about 50m (50 yards) away. I headed over to see if I could get a couple of photos, and found her (?) perched next to a fully grown chick! She had some prey in her talons (it looked like a small bird) and was using it to encourage the chick to fly. The chick wasn't at all interested, though it did try a few wing stretches, before resorting to begging for food.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Lights

In Adelaide, many people decorate their houses for Christmas. It has also become a tradition to take the kids round in the week before Christmas looking at all the lights. Here are a selection from the neighbourhood around my house. I would like to wish all my blogging friends a very merry Christmas, and a happy and peaceful new year. Please take care and stay safe over the holiday, and I look forward to blogging with you in 2010.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Skywatch Friday

Sunrise from my back yard, Adelaide, SA

Friday, December 17, 2010

Skywatch Friday

Giant Christmas decorations in Rundle Mall, Adelaide, South Australia

Saturday, December 11, 2010


This weekend we are in Whyalla for a combined family birthday and early Christmas celebration. On the way, I spotted this lovely clump of Scotch Thistles. they can grow to head height, and these were about 1.3m (4ft) tall. The thistle heads are a little bigger than a tennis ball. This morning, I went for a short walk at the whyalla Wetlands. This is a relatively new, man-made lake with a few small islands. In the 15 minutes I was here I saw around a dozen species including cormorants, gulls, and some waders (shorebirds). I surprised this White-headed Stilt, which flew around calling before settling on the opposite bank. This pretty flower was on a shrub near the car park. The flower looks similar to bottlebrush (calistemon), but the leaves are very different. Just as I was about to leave, a few ducks arrived. The duck on the left is an eclipse or immature male Chestnut Teal, and the other looks like a Grey Teal, but could be a pale female chestnut. Final stop was the beach and marina, looking for more waders and dolphins. No waders, but a couple of dolphins were close in at the marina. As I got back to my step-daughters house, there was a commotion in a tree as a small flock of Galahs arrived.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Skywatch Friday

A walk along the jetty at Semaphore, South Australia
(taken with my mobile phone)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Brookfield Conservation Park

Today I took a trip into the riverland to Brookfield Conservation Park. I wanted to see what difference the good winter had made to the park. The park is just beginning to dry out, but many of the bushes are still green. Most of the wild flowers are over. For most of the time I was there it was drizzling, which makes the photographs very washed out. One of the first birds I saw was Red-capped Robin. I couldn't decide which of these photos I like best, so here they both are. Whilst looking for the robin, I spotted this White-winged Chough nest. It is about 30 cm (1 foot) across. In the same area were hundreds of these small brown grasshoppers. A little further along was a busy little group of Inland Thornbills gleaning insects from the bushes. These bushes had small (2cm/1 inch) tubular flowers on them. When I got back to the car, I noticed this fly on the bonnet (hood). On the way back to Adelaide, I followed the River Murray southwards and called in at a small Wetland just outside Murray Bridge. I was hoping to see Latham's Snipe here, but despite conditions and habitat looking perfect, I couldn't find any. There were lots of Purple Swamphens, White-faced Herons and this very noisy and protective White-headed Stilt.