I meant to write about this last night but somehow became distracted by a movie. We are currently staying with our daughter in Clare in the mid-north of South Australia. Last night she showed us an interesting movie, one we hadn’t seen before, and the evening went without an update here.
We arrived here two evenings ago after appointments in Mt Barker on the way. Our daughter had dinner ready for us when we arrived, so I left the unpacking of the car until later. As I braved the frosty air I noticed the moon rising over the nearby hills; one of those crisp, clear winter evenings so common in the Clare Valley – except that it is now early spring. Oh well.
As I unloaded the car a Willie Wagtail called from a nearby garden, a common enough sound on moonlit nights. A few minutes later the Willie Wagtail’s call was accompanied by the distinctive “boo-book” call of the Southern Boobook Owl. It was probably calling from one of the larger eucalyptus trees in a nearby reserve.
It was too cold – and I was too tired – to track it down to get a photo, so I’ve used one taken some time ago in our own garden.
On a recent visit to Clare late last year I took off about a half hour from helping my daughter in her garden and took a five minute walk down the road to Lake Inchiquin. Yesterday I wrote about some of the birds I saw.
One of the highlights was this little family of Pacific Black Ducks. From the size of the ducklings I’d say that they are about half grown. It was a lovely sight and they let me come to within a few metres of them.
I guess they knew that I wouldn’t dive in and harm them in any way.
Last December we visited our daughter who teaches in Clare in the mid-north of South Australia. One afternoon I wandered down the road to Lake Inchiquin which is next the Melrose Park on the northern edge of town. Over recent years I have often visited this top little spot to do a little birding.
Over recent years this lake has often been almost dry due to the extended drought conditions we’ve experienced over that period. This last year’s good rains has seen the lake return to capacity again. The birds have also returned, so I try to find a half hour or so to check it out every time we visit our daughter.
On this occasion I saw a few Pacific Black Ducks, Chestnut Teal, Grey Teal, plenty of Eurasian Coot, several Masked Lapwings and a solitary Darter. On the opposite shore a single Great Egret patrolled the lake edges, especially near the reeds. Another species was a Yellow-billed Spoonbill but I didn’t manage a photo of the one bird seen flying overhead.
Away from the water the birdlife was just as interesting, with Laughing Kookaburras, Little Corellas, Galahs and dozens of Rainbow Lorikeets. In nearby trees I saw Noisy Miners, Red Wattlebirds and White-plumed Honeyeaters. Standing quite still for about 5 minutes I watched a Mallee Ringneck feeding on the seeds of some weeds growing on the bank of the lake.
A few days ago I was asked by a local courier company to deliver several urgent parcels to Clare in the mid-north of South Australia. I do the occasional emergency run for this company and enjoy getting paid to go for lovely drives in the country. The wine growing region of the Clare Valley is just over 2 hours drive from my home.
After delivering the parcels I wandered over the road to the well patronised local bakery to get some lunch. I then drove to the lake on the north eastern edge of town next to the Clare Country Club. This lake is a five minute walk from my daughter’s home and about the same from where we used to live many years ago. I couldn’t visit my daughter; she’s currently teaching in Ethiopia.
While I ate my delicious Cornish pasty I did a spot of birding, including some photography. The rest of day was mine so I could take as long as I wished getting home again. The first species to show was a large flock of abut 60 Black-tailed Native Hens, shown in the photos above and below. I haven’t seen that many together in one spot for quite a while.
Earlier this year we travelled to Clare to visit family. On the way we took a different route, one we hadn’t taken for many years. Along the way we stopped for a short break at Burra Gorge to have lunch. This ephemeral waterway drains through the hills to the south east of the mid-north town of Burra.
We were only there for about a half hour, so the birding opportunities were limited. It was a rather hot day and the bird activity was minimal. There is a pleasant camping area where I’d like to spend a few days sometime and explore along the gorge deeper into the range. On this occasion I only managed a short list of less than a dozen species. This area should produce some interesting birds if one was able to have an extended visit. This is because this gorge is in a zone between the high rainfall area of the Clare Valley to the west, and the much drier salt-bush country to the east.
The Galah featured in the photos on this post looked as if it was about to start nesting in one of the many tree hollows.
It was school holiday time and many people were bush camping in the picnic areas. There are no facilities here except for several public toilets. The nearest supplies are in Burra, some 30km to the north west.