Archive for September, 2011

A little bit of birding in Narrandera

View from the balcony of our cabin in Narrandera

Sydney Trip report June 2011

On the first day of our journey home we stayed in a cabin in the Lake Talbot Tourist Park, the same park as on our way over. This time we were upgraded to a cabin with a spa. Nice added extra at no extra cost. We had a very nice spa before retiring for the night. Next morning when we opened the blinds we were pleased with the view from our cabin balcony. This overlooked Lake Talbot and I was able to make a very nice list of birds while we had breakfast and packed the car (see the list below). Before leaving we drove down to the boat launching ramp just below our cabin and I was able to add a few more species to a growing list.

Just after breakfast I noticed a few birds in the bushes near the balcony, including several Chestnut-rumped Thornbills. It flew off before I could get a good shot, so I apologise for the blurred image (below). You can see better photos here.

Blurred photo of a Chestnut-rumped Thornbill in flight

Birds seen in or near Lake Talbot Tourist Park, Narrandera:

  • Black swan
  • Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
  • Galah
  • Yellow Rosella
  • Black cormorant
  • White-necked Heron
  • Yellow-billed Spoonbill
  • Hoary Headed Grebe
  • Great Crested Grebe
  • Pacific Black Duck
  • Grey Fantail
  • Willie Wagtail
  • Yellow-rumped Thornbill
  • Chestnut-rumped Thornbill
  • Weebill
  • Magpie Lark
  • Common Blackbird
  • Rock Dove
  • Crested Pigeon
  • Australian Magpie

A chance meeting

Sydney Trip report June 2011

After leaving Wagga Wagga on the first day of our journey home we headed into the setting sun towards Narrandera where we had a cabin booked in the caravan park. Before it became too dark to see any birds I added a few interesting species to my trip list for the day. Just out of Wagga Wagga I saw a Great Egret feeding in a road side paddock. Several flocks of Galahs flew across the road in front of the car and Australian Magpies still scratched around on the ground looking for a tasty morsel for supper.Now and then I’d see an Australian Raven fly across our path.

One of the real delights of this stretch of road was seeing several small flocks of Apostlebirds feeding on the roadside. For some reason we hadn’t seen many on this trip.


Just on sunset we were approaching a fruit fly exclusion zone. Some parts of Australia have the dreaded fruit fly which destroys some of our finest fruit crops. For many years parts of Victoria and most of South Australia have successfully kept this pest out, and the fruit fly exclusion zones are designed to ensure that continues. As we approached the zone we started eating the little fruit we still had left on board. We decided to be good citizens and stop at the drop off point, a large bin on the roadside where travellers must deposit uneaten fruit. If people continue on with fruit on board and they are subject to a random check, there are severe fines in store.

As we pulled up to the deposit bin, two other cars were there, the occupants standing around chatting – and eating the last of their fruit. As we stopped we recognised the occupants of one of the cars – our local mayor, one of our councillors and their wives. The occupants of the other car were also from our home town.

What are the odds of that happening? Three cars, each independently coming from a different starting point and all stopping at the same spot at the same time with the same purpose and all occupants coming from the same town and all knowing each other. Bizarre.

Wattlebirds and grevilleas

Grevillea flowers, Wagga Wagga Botanic Gardens

Sydney Trip Report June 2011

A few days ago I wrote about our short visit to the Wagga Wagga Botanic Gardens in southern NSW. We were on our way home from holidaying in Sydney with family. These gardens are small but hold a nice range of Australian and exotic plants. It’s also a good spot to get right off the highway, relax with a picnic or a cuppa, and enjoy the range of birds resident in the area.

On this visit I managed to photograph several of the Grevillea species in flower, and while doing so I also captured a Red Wattlebird feeding on one of the bushes (see photo below). It must have been hungry, for the bird almost completely ignored me and my camera only a short distance away. I guess it also needed to stock up on energy for the cold night which was quickly closing in. It had been a bitterly cold day, quite unpleasant for being out and about.

While my prime objective is to photograph our wonderful Australian birds and showcase them here in this site, I also enjoy getting great shots of our native flowers like the Grevilleas. (You can see more photos of flowers, both native and exotic, on my other site, Trevor’s Travels. Click on the Parks and Gardens category or click here.

Red Wattlebird feeding on Grevillea flowers

Grevillea flowers, Wagga Wagga Botanic Gardens

Some birds of the Wagga Wagga Botanic Gardens

Australian Magpie, Wagga Wagga Botanic Gardens

Sydney Trip Report June 2011

On the first day of our journey home we stopped briefly in the Wagga Wagga Botanic Gardens for an afternoon cuppa and toilet break, a spot we’ve enjoyed on other occasions. The large rural city of Wagga Wagga is worth a longer stay than just a half hour or so. I’d really like to explore this lovely city and the region in more depth one day. We always seem to be in a rush somewhere when we go through this area. [Sigh]

Wagga Wagga Botanic Gardens

One this occasion it was quite late in the afternoon, still cold and cloudy and we still had about an hour’s drive to our accommodation for the night in Narrandera further west. I didn’t have much time for birding nor photography, though I did get some nice shots of Australian Magpies and Grevilleas (native Australian plants).

Grevillea, Wagga Wagga Botanic Gardens

Other birds seen included:

  • Pied Currawong,
  • Rainbow Lorikeets,
  • White-plumed Honeyeaters,
  • Red Wattlebirds,
  • Crested Pigeons,
  • Galahs

Australian Magpie, Wagga Wagga Botanic Gardens

Juvenile Australian Magpie, Wagga Wagga Botanic Gardens

Beautiful birds during a cold lunch

Crimson Rosella

Sydney Trip Report June 2011

The first day of our trip home was freezing cold. We had altered our route home to avoid the snow closed roads around Bathurst and followed the same route home we’d used on our way over. The sky gradually changed from bright sunshine in Sydney heavy cloud by lunch time. We had a picnic lunch with us and pulled into the Thomas Derrick VC Rest Area, hoping to get a few minutes of sunshine while sitting at one of the picnic tables there. We ended up eating lunch in the car because the wind was still freezing, and it was threatening to rain at any moment.

This rest area, like others in the region, commemorates the brave deeds of some of our soldiers. The “VC” after his name indicates that he was awarded Australia’s highest order for bravery in battle, a Victoria Cross. He was decorated because of his actions against the Japanese in New Guinea and you can read more about his interesting life here.

Thomas Derrick VC Rest Area, NSW

While eating lunch I was able to list a few birds out and about, an once I’d finished I braved the very cold conditions to get a few photos.  The most interesting species present was a flock of about 20 Crimson Rosellas. I tried to photograph a family of White-winged Choughs, but they flew off before I could close enough. There were also many Noisy Miners in the picnic ground, but seeing I have plenty of photos of them I didn’t bother chasing them up. Truth be known, it was too cold to spend too much time out of the warmth of the car!

Crimson Rosella

Crimson Rosella