Sunday, July 30, 2017

Letter-winged Kite and Spotted Harrier

The other day, I went for a drive through the area ravaged by the Pinery bushfire in late 2015. The area is regenerating well, and is looking great at the moment. Following a bumper cropping season, there is also a mouse plague in the area, and consequently an influx of birds of prey.

I had heard there was a pair of Letter-winged Kites, a rare irruptive species in this part of South Australia.  The plan for the morning was to search these out, and then look for any other raptors before an approaching storm hit the area.

A couple of birding friends were also out that way, and I soon had a message to say that they had located them, only one road away from where I was looking.

As I arrived, one of the kites was flying around.  It soon settled in a tree, with a mouse in its talons. after a while the other bird also flew in and settled close to its mate.  

By this time it was getting late, so I made a quick tour around some of the nearby roads, where I saw a juvenile Spotted Harrier from a fair distance.  I managed a few shots, but they are heavily cropped.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Victor Harbor and Goolwa

Today I went to Victor Harbor and Goolwa. After seeing some great video of the birds at Nangawooka Flora Reserve, it was high on my list of places to visit.

There was quite a bit of activity there, particularly amongst the parrots, with plenty of squabbling, and some nest hole prospecting going on.  Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Adelaide Rosella, Rainbow Lorikeet and Sulphur-crested Cockatoo were all snapped in quick succession.

The small birds were a bit less cooperative, but I did grab some shots of Brush Wattlebird and House Sparrow.

I then headed top Basham Beach to see if there were any whales there.  On the way, at a small roadside pool I saw White-faced Heron and some White-headed Stilts.  No whales at Basham, but I did catch up with some at the surfing beach at Middleton.

Next stop was Goolwa, but the tide was in so there were no waders to be seen. The usual Purple Swamphens, Dusky Moorhens and Willie Wagtails were around the picnic areas.

On the way out to the boat ramp, there was a family of Black-shouldered Kites in the Pines. and at the ramp were Little Pied Cormorants and a confiding Great Egret.

Heading back, I stopped of at the barrage, and tried my hand with some flight shots.  Firstly with a Caspian Tern and then with the Great Crested Terns.  I am so glad I am not shooting film! These are the best from around 200 frames.

Last shots of the day were of a much more sedate Australian Pelican...

Thursday, July 20, 2017


Today I spent the day birding in the Area around Old Noarlunga and the Onkaparinga River with local birder and fellow Pom Tony Bainbridge.

We met up in Old Noarlunga, at a local reserve that holds a well known roost of Rufous Night-herons. There were around half a dozen roosting there and some of them were quite cooperative.

There was also a White-faced Heron there, and some Feral Rock Doves.

A walk along the Onkaparinga brought the usual cormorants, with Little Black Cormorant and Little Pied Cormorant both sitting still and in the open. The Great Egret was a bit further away.

Australian Pelicans were always in view, and always make a photogenic subject.

At the wetlands, we saw a pair of Blue-billed Ducks in amongst their more common cousins, as well as Blackbirds and plenty of Eastern Rosellas. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Local Birding

This morning I was planning to head up onto the Adelaide Plains, looking for raptors taking advantage of the current mouse plague. but I called into the Gawler River on the way and got sidetracked by the Red-kneed Dotterels and Slender-billed Thornbills.  Before I knew it, it was time to head home!

Red-kneed Dotterels are pretty common, but usually wary.  These were happy to keep on feeding while I watched from the car.

Slender-billed Thornbills are very localised to the samphire salt marsh, and were posing in the sun, albeit at a distance.

There were also a few egrets around, both Great and Little.

Oh well, I guess I'll go looking for raptors another day!!