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.