Sunday, March 27, 2011

Adelaide International Kite Festival 2011

This weekend was the Adelaide International Kite Festival at Semaphore. This event sees kite flyers from all over Australia and some from overseas get together for a weekend of kite flying. The event is held at Semaphore Beach and draws a regular flow of visitors throughout the two days. Firstly a couple of general views and then some close-ups of the frilled lizard, one of my favourites. While we were there, the Nanchang CJ6 from Adelaide Warbirds at Parafield gave a couple of flypasts. As well as the unusually shaped kites, there were also a lot of more standard shaped kites. Next we were treated to the 15000 Tonne Car Carrier Canopus Leader departing from Outer Harbour en-route to Fremantle in Western Australia, and a flyby by the Westpac Rescue helicopter. Back to the kites, this stunt kite put on a great show, and the dayglow octopus is another favourite. Finally, we headed back to Semaphore for a well earned ice cream, passing the 1875 Semaphore Timeball Tower on the way. The timeball was hoisted at 12:57 , and then dropped at 1:00 as an aid to ships moored offshore to set their chronometers. It was last used in 1932. Finally, it was difficult to resist the Australian Flag, proudly flown outside the RSL (Retired Servicemens League) Club.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Skywatch Friday

Sunrise over the Barossa Valley

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Brookfield and Morgan

No, its not a firm of lawyers, but two conservation parks in the Riverland north east of Adelaide. As I had a free day yesterday, I decided to go and try and photograph the Owlet-nightjar again. On the way was a lovely sunrise looking across the Barossa Valley. This time I fared worse than last time. There was no sign of it anywhere, despite searching for two hours. The only birds were a couple of Galahs that looked like they were laughing at me. There were a lot of nests around, including one that looked like it had almost fallen out of the tree, but the birds kept building it up. As I headed back to the car I heard a group of Spiny-cheeked Honeyeaters squabbling in a tree. This one posed for a couple of photos. I love the Mallee habitat. It needs fire to promote regeneration and there is always a mix of dead and regenerating trees. This dead one strikes a beautiful silhouette against the blue sky. This is a typical Mallee tree, with multiple trunks coming from the same bole, which would have been burnt in the past. A little further on I spotted a couple of small birds flitting around. A quick twist of the Audubon Squeaker and this Willie Wagtail came almost too close to focus on. This shot has not been cropped. He was followed by the original birds I had seen. A Yellow-rumped Thornbill (also known as butter bum (butt)) and a Chestnut-rumped Thornbill. The thornbills are the ultimate LBJs! Nearby was a young male Splendid Fairywren. This chap will be totally blue in a couple of months time. I also wanted to see what impact the water flow in the Murray had had in Morgan Conservation Park. This shot shows a bend in the river taken from the Blanchetown to Morgan road. I have used this park to practice my four-wheel driving as it is usually a dust bowl. How it had changed!! Firstly a shot on the back road to Cadell, then the entry to the park. Hmmm don't think my trusty Subaru forester will make it down there. Lastly, a couple of Dragonflies, doing what dragonflies do!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Skywatch Friday

The other evening I noticed a beautiful pink glow coming through our front door, but by the time I got my camera out, it had almost gone.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Skywatch Friday

A little bit of paradise only 1 hour from home

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The mighty Murray

Yesterday I had a day off,and we decided to head to the Riverland and take a look at the River Murray. This is the longest river in Australia, and starts its journey way up in Queensland, flowing through New South Wales and Victoria before it gets to the Southern Ocean near Goolwa in South Australia. With a succession of floods and cyclones, the Murray is now in flood in SA too. First stop was Brookfield Conservation Park, where I had been tipped off about a very photogenic Owlet-Nightjar. (Thanks Chris) Armed with directions, I soon found the tree, and as I approached, whoosh!! the bird flew out, did a 180 degree turn and disappeared over the next bush. I searched for an hour or so, but never found it again!! I did manage a couple of shots of Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Chestnut-crowned Babblers, and a Mallee Ringneck. At Blanchetown we got our first view of the river. I have never seen the river as full as this. Next was Banrock Station, a winery and wetland nature reserve. The visitor centre has a lovely restaurant, and also a wine tasting area. The view shows the extent of the flooding as usually the water is way off in the distance (if you can see any at all!). The loop trail and bird hides are under a metre (3 feet) of water at the moment, but there is a short walk down to the waters edge where they have erected a couple of temporary viewing platforms. There are plenty of black Swans on the water. I spotted this White-winged Chough in a tree, and was surprised when he didn't fly off, only to find his partner sitting on a nest on the next branch. I recently had the opportunity to hold one of these impressive nests. They are about 600mm (2 feet) across and weigh about 2Kg (4.5 lb). Further along I found a group of Rainbow Bee-eaters and finally a young Black-faced Cuckooshrike.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Kaurna Wetlands Park

As you know, Kaurna Wetlands Park is (almost literally) right on our doorstep, and we tend to see it as an extension to our garden! In a bid to get fit, we have begun a regular walking program. This means that we get to see the changes on an almost daily basis. We recently had a huge downpour of 91mm (over 3 1/2 inches) of rain in about 4 hours, and the wetlands immediately began filling with the stormwater. Soon, all of the channels were full and next day I got these shots. The water has prompted an influx of birds, with various ducks and herons, and even Little Grebes back again within days of the pools filling. I have also noticed a few of these large spiders, with their huge webs. Finally a couple of dragonflies. It is really great to have the wetlands alive again!!