On our recent visit to the Australian Reptile Park near Gosford north of Sydney, I was constantly on the lookout for birds that I could photograph. When most people were having lunch in the park picnic area – which was very nice, by the way – I noticed that there were quite a few ducks also present.
This is a familiar sight in Australia; where people gather to eat, many bird species, including ducks, tend to gather. Unfortunately many people also feed the birds, ignorant of the fact that human food is not only unsuitable for our native species, too much can also be deadly to the birds’ health.
Of the prominent ducks present, I photographed three species in the picnic area: Grey Teal, Chestnut Teal and Australian Wood Duck. Also present nearby were a few Pacific Black Ducks, but I decided not to photograph those as I have plenty of shots of that species already.
During our recent family visit to the Australian Reptile Park near Gosford north of Sydney, we had some interesting lunch companions. In the very well appointed picnic grounds several Australian Brush Turkeys moved amongst the picnickers picking up scraps. They didn’t come too near to us; they wouldn’t have been given any of our pies, potato chips or hot dogs – well, maybe the grandchildren might have been tempted to feed them.
Our other lunch time companions were far more daunting, if the photos below are any indication.
Thankfully they are only models of extinct species.
During our visit to the Australian Reptile Park near Gosford, NSW last Sunday, we heard a very entertaining talk about reptiles given by one of the keepers. All through the talk I kept an eye out for any birds flying overhead or perched on nearby branches, such as the Rainbow Lorikeet shown above. This species of lorikeet was probably the most common bird in and around the park, their constant screeching giving a noisy background for all the talks. Another common species was the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, also very raucous all around the park.
Featured in the presentation was the keeper’s pet alligator, Rosie, shown below. Rosie was well trained and very well behaved. Another animal shown by this keeper was the Lace Monitor, also shown below. The markings on the monitor, a large Australian lizard, are quite remarkable. The Lace Monitor, often called a goanna, is the second largest lizard in Australia. On one occasion I have seen this species in the bushland not far from my son’s home in inner North Shore Sydney.
Last Sunday we went on a family outing to the Australian Reptile Park near Gosford on the central NSW coast. Before going I thought that this was my first visit, but over lunch my son informed me that he could remember going there as a child. How the memory fades at this time of life.
Our grandchildren were particularly keen to go, having visited on other occasions in recent years. It was a fine treat for the last day of the school holidays. We arrived mid-morning in time for an informative talk about turtles and tortoises, including the Galapagos Tortoise shown below.
Just to keep faith with my bird loving readers I’ve also included a photo of a Cape Barren Goose below. This individual, the only one in the park, is a long way from its normal home. It is a resident of the park. In fact, it is more of a pet than an exhibit.
A few days ago my wife and I spent a little while at Long Reef Point at Dee Why, a suburb of Sydney. This spot is known for its sea-birds, but at this time of the year only a few resident species can usually be found. Most of the waders have long since flown to warmer climes in the northern hemisphere.
The only water birds I was able to identify with my binoculars and the zoom on my camera were as follows:
Little Pied Cormorant
Little Pied Cormorant
Sooty Oystercatcher (see photo below)
That’s not a great list by anyone’s estimation, but about the best I could do in the short time I had. Other birds seen in the vicinity, including the adjacent golf course, were:
Common Myna (see yesterday’s post)
Variegated Fairy-wren (see post from 2 days ago)
Again – not a great list but about what I expected for this time of the year, and for the weather conditions which were dull and overcast.
Next time we visit family in the summer months I must take out time from looking after the grandchildren and visit this spot again.