Sunday, June 27, 2010
Tolderol and Pangarinda
Yesterday I decided to go and check out one of my favorite birding spots, Tolderol Game Reserve. This reserve is on the northern shore of Lake Alexandrina, which, until recently, has been dry for about 2 years. As Tolderol gets its water pumped from the lake, Tolderol had also completely dried out. The lake is now almost full again, (due to floodwater from Queensland flowing down the River Murray), and I was hoping for Tolderol to be wet again. To get there I headed over the Adelaide Hills and drove through a wonderful Sunrise. I stopped at Strathalbyn, normally a bustling town, but all was quiet just after dawn. This is a lovely little park in the centre of town, and it's resident Pacific Black Ducks were very quick to investigate me for any food!! Just outside "Strath" I noticed a movement in a tree, and a quick U-turn later I was watching a Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike. This is a fairly common bird in South Australia, but they are not very confiding. I still haven't got any good shots, and this one is the best of a bad bunch. On the way in to Tolderol, I passed a couple of feral camels. There is a large population of camels in Australia, mainly from escapes and releases from a time before railways criss-crossed Australia and people used camel trains to transport goods to and from outback towns. Unfortunately, Tolderol hadn't improved, and most of the reeds have died, but on the lake there was plenty of avian activity and there was a group of Whistling Kites and a lone Black-shouldered Kite at the picnic site on the lake shore. I had been hearing the calls of Golden-headed Cisticola and White-fronted Chat but not seen them, so I sat quietly and waited. As the sun came out a cisticola popped up and I manage a couple of shots whilst slowly stalking closer. I had no joy with the chat until I was on the way out and I surprised this male on a perch by the track. On the way home, I headed east towards Wellington, and saw this tree full of Galahs. Just over the river at Wellington is the Pangarinda Arboretum. This small arboretum is always a good spot, and this time there was a wonderful show of Banksias in flower.