I seem to have plenty of photos of Australian Magpies in my collection. This includes several shots of different races of this species. On my recent visit to Tintinara in the SE of South Australia I couldn’t resist adding to my collection.
I was having a short break, enjoying a cuppa in the shade. The temperature was already climbing and it was only mid morning. This magpie, along with several others, came up to me at the picnic table where I was enjoying my cuppa. I guess it was expecting a tasty morsel from me. Many travellers passing through would stop in Tintinara for a meal or a break and many of them would feed the local magpies.
When nothing was forthcoming from me the magpies continued foraging in the grassed area near the picnic tables.
On my recent visit to Tintinara in the upper south east region of South Australia I went for a drive around town checking out the local birds. At several points I stopped to take some photos. The shot above of a Galah perched in a gum tree lit by the early morning sunshine is rather pleasing to the eye. It’s almost as if it was posing for me.
I’m not sure if it is a male or female. Even enlarging the photo digitally I can’t see if the eye is brown (male) or red (female). Going by the rich colours of the breast feathers, I’d say it is probably a male. It also looks like it is perching near a hollow; perhaps it is where he and his mate nested during the recent breeding season. There was another Galah a little higher up in the tree.
On my recent visit to Tintinara in the upper SE of South Australia I took a drive around the streets. On every other visit to this town I had just driven through except once when we stopped for a toilet break. I occasionally do some deliveries for a local courier so I took this opportunity – after I’d delivered the urgent parcel for the veterinarian – to look around the town and see if I could spot any interesting birds, and perhaps get some good shots.
On the grassy verge of the main road near the oval I saw several Long-billed Corellas feeding on the grass. Several Galahs added to the number. I just pointed the camera out of the window and took the photos on this page. The photos are not very good as I shot them quite quickly. The corellas were a little flighty, and when I tried to get closer by getting out of the car, they flew away. I also saw a small flock feeding on the cones of a pine tree near the oval, but couldn’t get close enough to photograph them.
Long-billed Corellas are found throughout most of south-eastern South Australia, western Victoria and into the Riverina region of NSW. In some other areas there are feral flocks which established themselves via escapes from aviaries, or deliberate release.
I’ve personally not recorded this species here in Murray Bridge where we get large, noisy flocks of the very common Little Corella.
Yesterday I wrote about the mural painted on the side of a classroom at Pinnaroo Primary School showing a Malleefowl and its nest. A few days later I visited Tintinara in the south east of South Australia. Right in the main street of the town there is a Malleefowl’s nest with two birds tending the nest.
Before local birders race off to visit this “nest”, let me assure you that it isn’t a real nest; it’s been put there to simulate a real nest. And the two birds are metal cut outs in the shape of the birds. It’s located on the lawn in front of the Art Gallery and Information Centre which happens to be the old railway station building.
The nest looks realistic and so do the birds – if you just look at the outline shape. I think it would have been improved if an artist had painted the birds in their correct colours. I guess for consistency they’ve left them just as a shape, in keeping with the metal cutouts of a shepherd, a sheepdog and some sheep across the lawn and little.
It was only a short distance to the west of here that I once saw 6 Malleefowl in ten minutes, doubling my lifetime count of this species. You can read about that incident by clicking here.
Below I’ve posted some photos of the shepherd and his sheep.
As I was driving past the Pinnaroo Primary School recently I spotted a lovely mural painted on the wall of a classroom. The mural illustrates various aspects of the local farming activities and the environment. I’ve shown it in the photo above – click on it to enlarge.
From a birding viewpoint I was pleased to see the Malleefowl shown prominently as a part of the painting. Pinnaroo is in the heart of mallee country in South Australia.
The Malleefowl is an amazing bird unique to this part of the world and is classified as a vulnerable species in Australia. It is about 55-61cm in size (like a smallish turkey) and quietly feeds on seeds and berries in the mallee scrub, or on wheat seeds in farming areas.
The male Malleefowl builds a rather odd nest. It is a mound of dirt, leaves, sticks and bark and can be from 2 to 5 metres in diameter and up to 1.5 metres high. He will work this mound like a compost heap over the summer months, the rotting vegetation and sunlight heating up the mound. Over many months the female lays about 5 to 30 eggs in tunnels in the mound which are then covered over. The heat inside the mound is kept at almost exactly 33C throughout the incubation period which can last many months. On hatching, the young struggle through the dirt of the mound before running off through the scrub, independent from the beginning.
This species can be found nesting within 20km of my home, yet I’ve only ever seen one in the wild on a handful of occasions. One memorable occasion occurred a few years ago when I saw 6 birds in a period of 10 minutes. You can read about that encounter in an article called What kind of a duck was that? (Click here)
Below I have also included photos of two Malleefowl nests I have found in different parts of South Australia.