On the first weekend of March earlier this year my wife and I travelled to Peterborough in the mid-north of South Australia. My wife was attending a quilting seminar and we stayed with family while there. While she was attending the seminar I did a few hours of birding around town before the day became too hot.
The first place I ventured to was the Greg Duggan Reserve on Lookout Hill on the northern outskirts of town. This lookout gives a great view in all directions over the adjacent farming country surrounding the town. This small reserve is also a fine retreat for some of the local birds with over 70 species having been recorded there over the years. I had a good look around and managed a few good photos of a Western Grey Kangaroo (see photo below).
As I was leaving the lookout, which has a good ramp with wheelchair access, I heard the unmistakable and noisy call of a Mallee Ringneck Parrot. With very little effort I tracked it down and managed a few good photos which I have shown above and below. Next thing this bird was joined in a noisy duet with another bird which was walking along the railing of the lookout (see photo below). This chorus continued for several minutes before both birds flew off towards the town.
On our property in Murray Bridge, we have a noisy family of Mallee Ringneck parrots which are a resident breeding species in our garden. We get a little annoyed with them when they nibble at our pears as they are ripening on the trees. Mallee Ringnecks are a widespread species in the drier mallee areas of Australia. The Mallee Ringnecks are a sub-species of the Australian Ringneck, a widespread species with several other sub-species.
For more about the fauna of the Greg Duggan Reserve in Peterborough read my article called The Wildlife in the Greg Duggan Nature Reserve.
I have written about Peaceful Doves on a number of occasions on this site; check out the articles I have linked to in the ‘Further Reading’ section below. I must admit that I love seeing and hearing this small dove in the Australian bush. They are aptly named and their gentle call is so part of the Australian environment, especially in the drier parts of the country.
Over the 30 plus years, we have lived in our present home, I have recorded this species on quite a few occasions. In the last year or so their visits have become far more regular. In fact, at present, we probably hear or see them on most days of the week. It is still too early to call this a resident species, but it must be close to that. Late last year we are fairly sure that they could also now be added to the list of birds observed breeding on our five-acre block of land. Although we saw them mating, we never found a nest.
More recently – perhaps over the last two months, we have often seen two or three birds come to our bird baths. Then on one occasion we had at least six birds present. I would like to think that this sighting included the successful breeding outcome, and that this little flock is actually one family of birds.
On other occasions, we have only one bird visiting the bird baths for a drink. On one of those occasions I took the bracket of photos shown in today’s post. All of these photos are of the same bird. Although I like this series of shots, the bird in question refused to turn around and face my camera. Some days the birds cooperate, and on other days they just do as they please. That’s the delight – and the frustration – of nature photography.
Over recent posts here I have written about our recent short holiday at the Brighton Caravan Park in the southern parts of Adelaide, South Australia. While we were staying there for an extended weekend, I managed to squeeze in some birding along the coast there. On the Sunday afternoon, many of our friends who were also staying in the same park went for a walk. My wife had a little snooze in the van so I decided to take my camera and try to get some bird photos along the beach. You can see some of those photos in recent posts.
Now for something different
As I was walking back along the foreshore I came across some magnificent housing. In fact, most of the housing along this part of the coast is of a very high quality and very modern and probably with price-tags to match. The views from many of the homes and apartments along this coast are truly magnificent, plus one has the safe beach as an added bonus. One apartment building caught my attention in particular – that shown in the photo above. It had a ‘For Sale’ sign out the front but it was the name “Shearwaters” which caught my attention.
Shearwaters are seabirds and there are about 30 species of this family. Some of them are present in Australian waters and on occasion some can be seen along this stretch of coast. In fact, Australia’s most abundant seabird is the Short-tailed Shearwater which is also called a ‘Muttonbird‘ because in the early days it was caught in huge numbers as a meat bird (among other uses).
Various species of Shearwaters are seen occasionally in South Australian waters, but I can’t ever recall seeing any here. I do recall seeing the Short-tailed Shearwater in Victoria some years ago. While they aren’t seen here in large numbers, those in the Bass Strait between Victoria and Tasmania can number in the many millions and are an impressive sight when they all fly off in their migration to the northern hemisphere.
In my last post, I wrote about our weekend at Brighton Beach in the southern parts of Adelaide. During our short caravan holiday with a group of friends, we stayed in the Brighton Caravan Park – which is actually in the suburb of Kingston Park. During the weekend, most of my time was occupied chatting with my friends. We spent quite a few hours in our comfortable folding chairs, sitting at the top of the beach watching the passing parade of people walking, running, playing in the water and various water sports. Included in this constantly changing scene were various birds, mostly seabirds.
Probably the most common birds were the Silver Gulls and Crested Terns shown in the photo above. from time to time I would also see immature Pacific Gulls, as well as the occasional Little Pied Cormorant. There was an area of exposed rocky outcrops at low tide, and for much of the weekend, two Masked Lapwings spent many hours foraging for food in the seaweed and rocks. I have shown one of the birds in the photo below. I am amazed at how well camouflaged this bird is against the surrounding rocks.
On the Sunday afternoon, most of our friends went for walks along the beach. I also decided to go for a short stroll, taking photos as scenes presented themselves. The tide was slowly coming in, covering some of the rocky areas and sandbars, providing a smaller area for the roosting birds. I sat on a nearby rock for over half an hour, photographing birds, people, and boats.
A few weeks ago my wife was attending a convention in the southern parts of Adelaide in South Australia. This is an annual event and we usually go with several other couples, staying in our caravans. Previously this convention was always held in Victor Harbor on the south coast. This year the venue changed to a suburb in Adelaide, so we changed our destination for the weekend to the Brighton Caravan Park. We had never been there before and we were very pleasantly surprised. A nice clean park with new facilities and many new cabins. The van site we had included a cement slab. Our van was a mere twenty steps from the toilets and showers.
Always on these special weekends, I look forward to doing some birding. This can take place at any time during the day while the men are lounging around, eating and drinking tea or coffee, nibbling on biscuits and solving the world’s problems. Well… having an opiinion on world matters.
My plans briefly went astray from the first minute after we had pulled up at the entrance. When I entered the office to check in, the caravan park staff were in a mild state of panic. One of the employees had accidently run over an elderly lady staying in one of the park cabins. She had a cut under one eye from where she hit her face on her glasses, and she was quite shaken. As it turned out, her friend took her to a nearby hospital and I spoke to her the next day. She had recovered well from the experience, though she had a nasty looking black eye. The worker who had backed into her bought her some lovely flowers.
After this small amount of excitement, I checked in and then set up the caravan and annex ready for a few days of relaxation. On Saturday morning, the men in our group of friends sat at the edge of the park overlooking the beach. We were entertained by the local sailing club having a small regatta almost right in front of us. Most of the sailors were juniors and several boats tipped over as the sea breeze stiffened a little.
We enjoyed chatting, drinking our coffee while I did a little casual birding. There were plenty of Silver Gulls and Crested Terns flying past, along with occasional Pacific Gulls and Cormorants. Several Willie Wagtails flittered around on the lawn and nearby low bushes covering the low sand dunes. I could also hear Red Wattlebirds and Rainbow Lorikeets in nearby bushes. We were amused and entertained by the numerous Crested Pigeons feeding on the grass, chasing one another and displaying their feathers.
I will write more about this visit in my next post in a few days’ time.