Archive for May, 2011

Ramsey Way Conservation Park, Yorke Peninsula

Ramsey Way Conservation Park, Yorke Peninsula

On our way to Edithburgh for a short holiday last week we took a short detour on a side road a short distance off the main highway. This dirt road took us through some farming country and passed the small Ramsey Way Conservation Park (see photos above and below).

I’ve done a little research online and can find only two references to this park: the government declaration of the park concerning mining restrictions (2008) and notice of a field trip visit by the Native Orchid Society of South Australia next Sunday (June 5th 2011). It is not even listed yet on the National Parks website list of conservation parks. Now that I know that I would have spent a little more time there doing a bird and plant survey. Still, it was late afternoon and the light was fading quickly, so it would have been an inadequate survey.

I’m sure that a longer survey of the park would reveal a diverse and interesting bird and plant list. This park is one of only a few remnant bush areas in the region and so is a valuable asset regarding the local flora and fauna. My list seems very inadequate, but given the time restraints it is a start:

Bird list:

  • Little raven
  • White-browed babbler
  • Magpie lark
  • Australian Magpie
  • Willie wagtail
  • Yellow-rumped pardalote
  • Weebill
  • Spiny-cheeked honeyeater
  • Grey butcherbird
  • Crested pigeon
  • Common Bronzewing pigeon
  • Silvereye
  • Red-rumped parrot
  • Nankeen kestrel

Ramsey Way Conservation Park, Yorke Peninsula

Ramsey Way Conservation Park, Yorke Peninsula

Roadside birding, Yorke Peninsula

Native apricot (Pittosporum phylliraeoides) on Yorke Peninsula

After leaving Mulbura Park reserve near Pt Vincent on the Yorke Peninsula we drove on along a dirt road towards a nearby conservation park. I’ll write about that visit tomorrow. At one point my wife asked me to stop to take a photo of the native apricot trees growing on the side of the road.

The native apricot (Pittosporum phylliraeoides) is a widespread tree throughout South Australia but in most areas is not present in large numbers. The road we were on was an exception with many such trees on the roadside verge. Most were in fruit and the bright orange fruit looked spectacular in the late afternoon sun. Every time I see the fruit I’m reminded of that terrible day when I had a brain snap – I tried to eat the fruit. The juice squirted down my throat and I spent the next half hour coughing and spitting trying to rid myself of the astrigent, bitter taste. Don’t try it – the fruit is not edible, I assure you. In fact, a little research has found at least one reference to the seeds being poisonous.

I can’t recall ever seeing any birds eating the fruit, though the flowers do attract a range of nectar loving birds such as honeyeaters. The trees also provide suitable nesting and shelter for a range of species. The birds observed within a short distance of this clump of trees include:

  • White-browed Babblers
  • Willie Wagtail
  • Crested pigeons
  • Weebills
  • Spiny-cheeked honeyeater
  • Silvereyes
  • Yellow-rumped Pardalotes

Mind you, we only stopped for a few minutes before driving on, so the list of birds frequenting these trees would be much larger.


Native apricot (Pittosporum phylliraeoides) on Yorke Peninsula

Mulbura Park, Yorke Peninsula

Mulbura Park plant reserve, Pt Vincent, South Australia

On our holiday to Yorke Peninsula last week we took a short detour off the main road. We always seem to be doing this. It gives my wife a chance to look at the local flora (see her site about plants here) and it gives me more opportunities to go birding, and perhaps get some photos. As an aside, when our children were young they would always make sure they had at least one book to read whenever we went for a drive.

Near Pt Vincent on the east coast of the peninsula there is a small plant reserve we had visited many years ago. We couldn’t even remember many of the details of what was there, and we had the time to check it out. Mulbura Park – we’d even forgotten the name – is a remnant block of native plants set aside as an example of the vegetation of the area. This part of the peninsula has very little in the way of bushland like this, so it is rather precious – and a good habitat for the local fauna, including birds.

We didn’t wander far into the reserve but near the entrance gate we saw a good variety of local vegetation present in this area, including casuarina, goodenias, dampiera, daisies, pea bushes, pimelia and correas.

Being mid afternoon – and quite windy – the birds were not very forthcoming. When various plants were in flower, and when conditions are right, and when one had a few hours to wander right through the patch of scrub, I’d anticipate seeing at least 30 or more species here. Not so on our short 15 minute visit. I did record Singing Honeyeater, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Australian Magpie and Little Raven.

The highlight however was hearing a Crested Bellbird, always a nice species to record. It was some distance off and I couldn’t get close enough for a photo. Some other time I’ll capture this species on my camera.

Other species I’d expect to see here include Galah, Blue Bonnet, Mulga and Red Rumped parrots, Yellow-rumped Thornbills, Weebills, Brown Falcon, Nankeen Kestrel, Black-shouldered Kite, Bronzewing pigeons, Crested Pigeon, Grey Fantail, Willie Wagtail, White-browed Babblers, Grey Shrike-thrush, several species of cuckoos, owls and nightjars and even perhaps Variegated Fairy-wrens.

Mulbura Park plant reserve, Pt Vincent, South Australia


Reflections on the Barossa Reservoir, South Australia

While doing a spot of birding at the Barossa Reservoir last week I captured this rather interesting reflection of a tree. While there are no birds evident in the photo there were many all around, including Welcome Swallows swooping over the water, a large number of Eurasian Coot just to the left of the tree and a range of honeyeaters and other bush birds in the trees and surrounding scrubland. A Grey Fantail was heard nearby as well as Little Ravens calling in the distance.

A Magpie comes to lunch

Australian Magpie near the Whispering Wall reservoir, South Australia

Yesterday I wrote about the birds I saw while having a picnic lunch on our way to a short holiday on Yorke Peninsula last week. We stopped at the Whispering Wall, the retaining dam of the Barossa Reservoir between Williamstown and Gawler in the Barossa Valley.While we were eating our lunch a male Australian Magpie came up quite close to us. I guess it was used to getting a free lunch from people using the picnic grounds. It was out of luck with us, however.

Australian Magpie near the Whispering Wall reservoir, South Australia

The Barossa Reservoir, South Australia