An unexpected birding trip

I was busy doing some writing on one of my other blogs this morning when the phone rang. It was the boss of my friend Keith. I sometimes do relief driving for Keith on his courier round of Murray Bridge here in South Australia. His boss wanted me to do an emergency delivery from here in Murray Bridge to just north of Adelaide. I didn’t mind stopping my writing to do this job even though it would take out just over three hours of my day. I enjoy doing it because the company pays so well for me to have a lovely drive into the city and back.

Birds along the Freeway

I didn’t see all that many birds along the freeway in the city. The most common species appeared to be the Australian Magpies feeding on the grass verge of the road and in nearby fields. I was disturbed by the number of dead magpies; road kills are a real problem here in Australia. Little Ravens strutted across the road and along the fence lines and out in the fields. At one stage I thought I might collect a Willie Wagtail as it swooped across the road chasing an insect, but the bird flicked out of the way at the last moment. Several small flocks of Galahs crossed the road high above the freeway as we drove along.

Birds through the city

While driving through the city on the way to our destination I had to concentrate on the driving; it was only while waiting at the traffic lights that I was able to pay any attention to the birdlife. Small flocks of Rainbow Lorikeets seemed the most common species. I also noticed quite a few Noisy Miners flying between trees and bushes near the road. The introduced Spotted Turtle Dove appeared frequently on fences, footpaths and parklands, along with their native cousins, the Crested Pigeons. There also seemed to be many Australian Magpie Larks everywhere too.


As we approached our destination we passed an extensive area of wetlands. Storm water from nearby suburbs drains into these wetlands. We were driving too fast to see anything of note. In fact, a solitary flying Silver Gull was all I managed to see. I did ask my wife to produce a Glossy Ibis, a species I’ve not yet seen in the natural environment. She didn’t oblige.


At our destination I was not able to linger long in the extensive gardens surrounding the building where I delivered the parcel. I did see several Masked Lapwings feeding on the lawns, along with a large flock of House Sparrows. Along the road leading to the building I saw more Noisy Miners along with several Red Wattlebirds.

Return Journey

On our return journey I managed to add a Nankeen Kestrel to the list; this particular bird was being harassed by a very persistent magpie. Probably the highlight of the trip home was the Collared Sparrowhawk gliding low over the ground as it crossed the road less than twenty metres in front of the car. Another highlight was a single Sulphur Crested Cockatoo sitting on a light pole. This is always a delightful species to see.

Distressing sight

Perhaps the most distressing sight of the whole journey involved two species. An Adelaide Rosella had fallen victim to a passing car and was lying on the roadside. It is always sad to see this beautiful bird become a road kill. A Little Raven, however, was taking advantage of its misfortune and was steadily picking over the remains.


It was a rushed trip we went on today. We didn’t stop anywhere to specifically go birding. Despite this I saw a long list of beautiful birds. It sort of made up for the lost writing time.

Related articles:

  • Many of the birds mentioned in this article have separate articles about them – often with photos. Just click on the species name.

2 Responses to “An unexpected birding trip”

  1. Duncan says:

    I’ve sometimes contemplated making a “seen from car” list Trevor. Surprising what one can sometimes see while driving.

  2. Trevor says:

    I agree. This seems a good idea – though one must concentrate on the driving, of course.

    I have been known to hand the note book to a very obliging (and tolerant) wife to add species to the list of the spot we have just visited. Funny how many extra species one sees after leaving that picnic spot or car parking area. I’m convinced some species enjoy hiding until I drive off – then pop out to taunt me – especially when I’ve just put the camera and bins away!

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