Archive for February, 2006

Taronga Zoological Park Pt 2

Above: Photo of a Galah at the Bird Show at Taronga Zoo, Sydney.

The Galah pictured above is featured in the Bird Show at the Taronga Zoological Park. The keeper asks a member of the audience to place a coin in his or her palm and to stand up. The Galah then flies to the audience member and collects the coin. It then flies back to the keeper and pops the coins in the keeper’s pocket. After some more banter from the keeper the bird returns the coin to its original owner. It is all very amusing and indicates how some of our birds can be trained to do tricks like this.As well as seeing many birds, both wild and captive, there are many interesting animals to view. One of these is the Himalayan Thar, a species I saw in the wild only a few weeks ago on a trek through the Everest region of the Himalayan mountains.

Above: Photo of an Himalayan Thar, Taronga Zoo, Sydney.

Another highlight on one’s visit to this zoo is the many absolutely stunning views of Sydney Harbour from the grounds of Taronga Park. It is almost worth paying the entrance fee just to see the great views.

Above: Photo showing the view of Sydney CBD from Taronga Zoo.

Taronga Zoological Park

Above: Photo of the entrance to Taronga Zoological Park, Sydney.
We are in Sydney visiting our son and daughter in law. Today we went to the Taronga Zoological Park. it has been almost six years since our last visit. There have been many changes made since then. It was quite obvious that big attempts have been made to improve both the animal displays and the overall facilities for humans.

While our prime objective was to view the animal displays, I cannot help being on the lookout for native Australian birds flying around free. Many of the enclosure’s feed trays provide a free meal for some of our native species. This Noisy Miner didn’t need to get into one of the cages. It just fed from a bottlebrush flower poking though one of the aviaries.

Above: Photo of Noisy Miner feeding on a bottlebrush (Callistemon sp)

As we were going along we observed a Laughing Kookaburra sitting quietly on the branch of a tree near the path. This is one species I have been trying to photograph since buying my new digital camera. This was one species I didn’t expect to see or photograph today.

Above: Photo of a Laughing Kookaburra in the grounds of Taronga Zoo, Sydney.
One of the highlights of visiting Taronga Zoo is the show put on by a range of Australian birds under the direction of several keepers. It is awesome to observe a Wedge Tailed Eagle gliding about a metre or two overhead as it headed down towards the keeper. We also saw a beautiful White-Bellied Sea-Eagle.
Above: Photo of a White-Bellied Sea-Eagle

Zebra Finch

Above: Photo of a Zebra Finch
We went to visit Pangarinda Arboretum again today. This is a large plantation of Australian native plants just east of Wellington, South Australia. This is about half an hour from Murray Bridge, or just over an hour from Adelaide.

As is my custom these days my attention was divided between watching birds, making a list of birds I see for my database, photographing any birds I see and photographing the many beautiful flowers in this arboretum. Summer is fast coming to an end here in the Murraylands region of South Australia so there are not too many native Australian plants in flower at present, but still enough for me to get some very nice shots.

The birding was also quite good with 23 species recorded. The best sighting of the day was that of Zebra Finches. I have recorded this species here before, but not in such good numbers. They almost outnumbered the commonest bird in the garden, the New Holland Honeyeater. A number of finches, including an obliging male, came close enough for me to get some lovely photos.

Collared Sparrowhawk

I haven’t updated my blog since late last year. I have been overseas for much of January, first in Thailand and then trekking in Nepal. Soon I will be writing a separate blog for that trip. Watch out for some amazing photography.

In the meantime, the bird life around home continues to delight. Just a short while ago while I was reading today’s paper I looked up to see a Collared Sparrowhawk in a tree just outside our sun room. I took one photograph through the window but this was not very satisfactory because the bird was sitting on a branch at least 30 metres away.

I went outside and crept closer, photographing every few metres. I was eventually able to creep to within five metres. Even though this species is regularly seen in our garden, this is the first time I have had the opportunity to get good shots of one. The individual here is an immature. I didn’t manage to see what it was eating. It may have been a House Sparrow. It flew off with the evidence.