Saturday, April 30, 2011

Snappers, Diggers and Wild Dogs

Easter is the time of the Australian Snapper Fishing Championship in Whyalla. Hundreds of fishermen try their luck to bag the elusive big Red Snapper. The competition is based at the marina, and there were rows of empty boat trailers there. As the boats come in, the local pod of dolphins greets each one, and many reward them with a fish or two. Whilst everyone is out fishing, there is not much to do other than watch the birds and any ships in the gulf. Pelicans are always good value. I love watching them as they transform from ungainly to graceful, and back to ungainly as they land again. This is the 12000 Tonne self-unloading barge Barngala, used to transfer iron ore to and from ships that are too large to dock at Whyalla. Gulls also float by, so I quickly snapped this sub-adult Pacific Gull, followed by this silver Gull. As the final weighing time approached, all of the boats converged on the marina causing a bit of a traffic jam!! Monday was ANZAC day, so we went to the parade and service at the war memorial. Soldiers young and old were proudly displaying their medals, and the Australian Army badge of the rising sun. Finally, on Tuesday morning I took a trip out to Whyalla Conservation Park and Wild Dog Hill, looking for Grasswrens. I saw a few, but not close enough to photograph. I did stop for this train taking iron ore from the mine at Iron Knob to the steelworks. At one stop, I was watching an Australian Pipit when I heard a whirl of wings, and a group of about six Mulga Parrots landed on the fence behind me. I managed a shot of a male and female before they moved further along the road. At Wild dog Hill, this male Variegated Fairywren posed for a few shots, and a Southern Slider was hunting ants and spiders in the early morning sun.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Skywatch Friday

A room with a view......

Thursday, April 28, 2011

More Easter in Arid SA

On Good Friday we drove up to Lyndhurst and onto the Strzlecki Track. Within a couple of hundred metres we spotted a few Cinnamon Quail-thrushes, but they were camera shy and kept their distance. A little further along the track I stopped first for a Brown Falcon, and then Black Kites. Jokingly, some people call the Strzlecki Track the Strzlecki Highway, and I can see why!! For lunch, we headed back to Lyndhurst and up the Oodnadata Track to Farina, a town started by a group of wheat farmers who thought they could make it the wheat capital of SA. Eventually it failed, for the same reasons as Kanyaka in my earlier post. An Australian Kestrel was perched on a post, and a couple of Galahs kept us company at the old Post Office. Finally, just before we headed home, I noticed this Harrier quartering a paddock. It stayed directly into the sun, so identification was tough, but I reckon it is a young Spotted Harrier. Next morning we popped back to Aroona Dam, before heading to the Flinders Ranges. Here I noticed this small blue butterfly on a succulent like flower, and then a couple of Wedge-tailed Eagles Next stop, Whyalla and the Australian Snapper Competition......

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easter in arid South Australia

Maryann and I headed north this Easter. As we drove towards the Strzlecki track, we stopped en-route at Old Kanyaka Homestead. This sheep station was built in 1851, but the owner drowned in floods here in 1852. The new owners quickly grew the station to over 50,000 sheep, but then lost almost half of them in the drought in 1864. This flood/drought cycle continued until the homestead was abandoned in 1888. At it's height, it employed over 70 men and their families. We stayed overnight in Leigh Creek and made a quick visit to Aroona Dam before sunset. On the way home we spotted this Common Wallaroo (Euro) grazing by the side of the road.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


We have been very busy in the last couple of weeks so blogging has taken a back seat. A couple of weeks ago we went for a quick walk at Warrawong Sanctuary. These are a selection of the things we saw. This Dusky Moorhen was wandering around close to the restaurant.
As we entered the woodland, I spotted this Grey Fantail. Red-necked Wallabies were all over the place. This one was nibbling on a native flower. A bit further on, a small party of Yellow-rumped Thornbills were busy in the trees. At the lake were a couple of Little Pied Cormorants, lots of turtles, and some Little Grebes. Over Easter, we are heading up the Strzlecki Track, and then back across to Whyalla, so I hope to have some shots to share!!
Happy Easter!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Skywatch Friday

A colourful kite contrasts the beautiful autumn sky in South Australia