Archive for September, 2012

Superb Parrot near Wagga Wagga

Superb Parrot, Adelaide Zoo

We recently travelled by road from home in Murray Bridge, South Australia (near Adelaide) to visit family in Sydney. The road trip took two days of many hours of travelling because it is a journey of over 1300km. We didn’t have many opportunities to stop and do some birding, so I had to be content with the birds seen while travelling along at highway speeds – usually 95 – 105kph. That’s not conducive to good birding practices, nor does it allow bird photography.

While travelling between Narrandera and Wagga Wagga in central west NSW I saw a solitary Superb Parrot fly across the road in front of the car. This is only the second time I’ve seen this parrot outside of an aviary. This particular area is one of the regions where this species is relatively common. It is a spectacular bird, as shown in the photo above. I cheated with this photo; it was taken of a captive bird in one of the aviaries in the Adelaide Zoo. It’s not a great photo because it was taken through the wire netting of the aviary. One day I’ll see one in the wild, one which poses perfectly for my camera.

Noisy Friarbird and a few other birds

On our current trip to Sydney to visit family, we stopped a few times along the way. As I said yesterday, the journey is over 1300km, so we need to stop a few times for fuel and to change drivers. We also stop occasionally for a cup of tea and a meal break. On these occasions we usually choose a place well away from towns and in a bush setting; the birding is often better.

On the second morning of our trip we stopped at an unnamed rest area on the side of the Sturt Highway between Hay and Narrandera, NSW, in the locality of Tubbo Station. While having morning tea and a cuppa I saw a number of bird species, including Australian Ravens, Australian Magpies, Willie Wagtails, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes, Grey Shrike Thrush, White-winged Choughs and the tiny Weebill. All lovely birds but very common in this area, and all birds I’d seen many times while driving along.

We also saw several Yellow Rosellas, a beautiful bird and less widespread than many parrots. Another interesting bird is the Apostlebird, one I always enjoy seeing on the journey over to Sydney. Undoubtedly the highlight of this brief stop was to see several Noisy Friarbirds, one of the honeyeaters of Australia. While this is a common species in the eastern parts of Australia, it’s not one I’ve seen very often, making it an extra special sighting. I didn’t get a photo of it, but you can read more about this species and see a photo here.


Baby Emus on the Hay Plains

Male Emu with babies, Monarto Zoo, South Australia

In my posting yesterday here I mentioned that we recently went on a road trip to Sydney to help out our family living there. At a distance of  just over 1300km it is a significant journey to undertake, fully two days of travelling. We’ve done this journey many times over the last 15 years, and now we have the incentive of visiting our only grandchildren in the process.

Because the journey takes up most of the two days there are few opportunities for birding along the way – except from the car while speeding along at over 100kph. It always delights me when I see something special, like the Banded Lapwings yesterday. I usually make a list of the species seen along the way.

One bird species I always look for in the early stages of the trip is the Emu. The western plains of NSW are good habitat for this species and we usually see one or two small flocks. On this occasion we saw two separate groups, the second one being a male adult bird accompanied by about 4 or 5 half grown chicks, a little bigger than those shown in the photo above. This photo was taken some time ago in Monarto Zoo which is close to our home, being only about a 15 minute drive away.

Four Banded Lapwings and another road trip

Banded Lapwings in Murray-Sunset National Park, NW Victoria

It has been far too long since my last post here on my birding site. Over the last two months my energy levels have been very low due to a prolonged illness but I’m almost over that now, thankfully. I’ve also been overwhelmed by my workload with my lecturing job, but I’m now getting on top of that too.

Late last week we had a quick road trip to Sydney to help out family. Along the way I always enjoy watching out for any birds, seeing if something unusual pops into view. On the road from Tooleybuc to Balranald in far western NSW our approaching car disturbed 4 Banded Lapwings feeding on the edge of the road. Travelling at around 110kph is not ideal for taking a photo; the camera was inaccessible anyway. So instead, I’ve posted a photo I took several years ago in the Murray-Sunset National Park in far north-west Victoria.

As I commented on that posting, this species is something of a bogey bird for me. I’ve only seen it on a handful of occasions in the last 40 years. I must get out birding more often to increase my chances of seeing this delightful species.