Archive for October, 2007

European Greenfinch

While having lunch at Strathalbyn (about 50 kilometres SE of Adelaide, South Australia) I heard several European Greenfinches calling in the trees in the park by the river. I tried to locate one of them in a tree nearby, but it insisted on keeping most of the tree between itself and my waiting binoculars. I finally had a brief – perhaps two second – glimpse of the bird before it flew away. It did not return before I had to leave.

The European Greenfinch is an introduced species to Australia. It is reasonably widespread through the south eastern parts of coastal Australia. I have only been able to record this species on a handful of occasions, so this was a special sighting. Because of my fleeting glimpse I was not able to get a photo. To see some photos, and more information about this species, click here.

White-necked Heron

I was travelling from Meadows to Echunga in the Adelaide Hills region of South Australia this morning when my well trained eyes spotted a rare bird. Well – rare for me, that is.

I came to a screeching halt at the side of the road – after checking the mirror of course. This road is often used by large trucks thundering along at break-neck speeds. What I didn’t want was one of them breaking my neck by plunging into the back of my vehicle.

In a swampy area some 80 metres from the road was a single White-necked Heron feeding in the water. This is a widespread species in Australia but one I have rarely seen. In fact I think I’ve only seen it three or four times in the last twenty years. I have obviously not been looking in the right places, or I need to get out birding more often.

I didn’t have my camera with me but that was no great loss as the bird was probably too far away for a good shot anyway. To see a photo of this species click here.

Other interesting species feeding in the swamp included Black Swans (with several cygnets), Eurasian Coots and Chestnut Teal. Dozens of Tree Martins were swooping low over the water.

My enforced five minute interlude from work (delivering parcels) was very rewarding.

An eyeful of Ibises

Straw Necked Ibis

Straw Necked Ibis

Driving back home from Strathalbyn this afternoon my attention was caught by a huge flock of some three to four hundred Straw-necked Ibises feeding in a paddock adjacent to the highway. This is not an usual sight in the countryside around here. I am assuming they were feeding either on small insects in that field, or they had found a good source of an introduced snail. I’m sorry that I do not know which species of snail that are prevalent on farms around here. I do know that they are a pest to farmers, especially at harvest time as they can cause great problems for the harvesting machinery. They don’t do much for the quality of the wheat being reapt either. Without the ibises, the problem would be far worse.

I didn’t have my camera with me so you will have to make do with the one above. This was taken in our paddock a last year, one of the few times an Ibis has helped us get rid of those pesky snails. Still, we do not have a major problem because our Blue-tongue lizards largely keep them at reasonable levels.

Blue Tongue Lizard

Blue Tongue Lizard

Rainbow Bee-eaters

Rainbow Bee eater

Rainbow Bee eater

Rainbow Bee-eaters are a delightfully beautiful Australian bird. The “rainbow” part of their name is most appropriate for they seem to display all the colours of the rainbow. They are one member of a large family of bee-eaters across the world.

In Australia they are a migratory bird. In the spring many of them migrate to the southern parts of the country. While here they often breed, their nest being a short burrow in sand or the bank of a river or creek. On our property we have seen them making a nest in the bank of sand along a dirt road.

At this time of the year we are always on the lookout for these beautiful birds. They are one of our favourites. On most occasions we hear their high pitched “purr, purr” calls near the house well before we see them.

Over recent days we have been hearing them briefly – always before we can get outside to see them. I guess they are not hanging around our garden this year, but just passing through. Never mind, the brief encounter reminded us that spring is well and truly here, and that summer cannot be far away.

Further reading:

Gotcha! Photo of a Rainbow Bee-eater

I and the bird #60

I and the bird #60 has been posted over at Search and Serendipity.

This one is different. It is the first one to be hosted by video.

Oh – and if you are looking for my contribution – forget it!

Because that’s what I did! I forgot (yet again) to submit a post.

(Sounds of anguished groans and gnashing of teeth.)

Just to try to make it up to you, here is a recent photo I took.

Rainbow Lorikeet, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney

Rainbow Lorikeet, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney