A cold, almost non-birding experience
On the last leg of our recent holiday to Yorke Peninsula we stopped briefly at the Hale Conservation Park between Williamstown and Mt Pleasant in the Adelaide Hills. It was late afternoon, cloudy, occasional showers and bitterly cold. We stopped for a quick snack and a cup of tea – to warm us up.
As we pulled up and emerged from the car, the surrounding bushland was quiet – too quiet. I not only couldn’t see any birds, there seemed to be a total silence from the resident bird life. I’ve only ever experienced this on one of two occasions before. I’ve found that almost anywhere one stops on rural roads in Australia, there will be at least some birds to be seen and/or heard. One one memorable occasion some years ago when I was gathering data for the Atlas of Australian Birds I had to submit a blank sheet; no birds in a 20 minute period. Mind you, it rained heavily during the period concerned so I was pushing the limits.
After a few frustrating – and cold – minutes waiting for something to call or appear, a small group of White-throated Treecreepers came into the car park and starting searching the bark on surrounding trees in their normal behaviour. Treecreepers and Sittellas always fascinate me with their ability to hop up and down and even underneath the trunks and branches of trees. Why don’t they sometimes fall off??
I had my camera ready, but the poor light conditions so late on a cloudy day meant I was pushing the limits trying to get photos. I would like to have used the flash, but they were too far away for that. The photos are not brilliant; they are the best I could achieve in the conditions.