Friday, June 24, 2011

Skywatch Friday

Sacred Kingfisher, waiting for supper.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Local birds

This morning I took a short drive around my local area. First stop was a local ornamental lake. Nothing much there apart from the usual "mixed up Mallards" and Muscovy Ducks. I turned back towards the car, and spooked a Great Egret, before trying to stalk a White-faced Heron. Next lake held an Australian Pelican, a pair of Maned Duck and some Purple Swamphen. En-route to the agricultural area, I spotted a couple of Masked Lapwings by the side of the road. These birds are normally very timid, and fly off at the earliest opportunity. I stopped a short distance along the road, and they continued approaching. For the first time I saw the wing spurs which gave them their original name of Spur-winged Plover. The agricultural land was very quiet, but I spotted a female fairywren, so pulled over and was rewarded with this stunning male White-winged Fairywren. Last bird of the morning was a Wedge-tailed Eagle fighting against the wind.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

Franklin Harbour

This weekend is a long weekend in Australia, so we went up to Whyalla to spend it with family. On the Sunday I went out for the day to explore the area around Franklin Harbour and Cowell in the North-East Eyre Peninsular. Not far out of Whyalla, I spotted a bird on a Km post by the side of the road. As soon as I stopped, it hopped onto the bonnet (hood) of my car and tried to eat the dead insects. It was a juvenile Grey Butcherbird. Next stop was at a small quarry, where I had noticed a few birds flying down to a small pool. I couldn't get close enough for any shots, but in the bushes were a White-eared Honeyeater and Singing Honeyeater. Further down the road, there was a large black lump in the middle of the road. I slowed down and saw it was a dead bird. It think it is a Southern Giant Petrel, which would have been "beach-wrecked" that night as it was very fresh. We are currently enjoying a mouse plague in South Australia, so there are plenty of raptors around. Most common were Australian Kestrel and Australian Black-shouldered Kite. Whilst watching the kestrel and kites I heard a few twitterings behind me, and saw a group of White-fronted Chats enjoying a bath in a puddle in the road. Eyre Peninsular is mainly an agricultural area, and there are many sheep farms. This is a typical Australian breed, the Merino, bred mainly for its wool. When I eventually got to Franklin Harbour, it was very quiet with just a few Pied Cormorants feeding in the channel. Last birds before heading home were a pair of Sacred Kingfishers.