Over recent days I have been sharing some photos and my experiences on a birding trip to Mannum a few weeks ago. This river town is about 20 minutes by car from my home. The afternoon was a classically beautiful Sunday afternoon in spring. To add to the wonderful weather the birding was also good.
I know that Silver Gulls are a very common bird here in Australia, but I do enjoy photographing them. The bird in the photo below was particularly photogenic, but I had to be quick with the camera as it was on the move. I’ve also included a few other photos taken on the same day.
A few weeks ago I spent an enjoyable afternoon birding in and around Mannum, about 20 minutes drive north of home. It was a beautiful spring day with bright clear sky, a gentle breeze and plenty of birds. I sat for a while in the Mary Ann Reserve on the river front, watching and photographing the birds on, over and near the Murray River.
I was rather puzzled by the behaviour of several species of birds in and over the water. Several Little Pied Cormorants and Little Black Cormorants were swimming around in the one spot about 30 metres out into the water. I can only assume they were fishing but I didn’t actually see one catch a fish. Over head several White-necked Herons and one Great Egret flew around low over the water sometimes almost landing and snapping at the cormorants in the water. A Silver Gull even joined in, harassing the heron as they flew (see photo below).
The White-necked Heron was an interesting sighting for me. It’s been one of my bogey birds over the last 25 years. I went from 1987 to 2001 without seeing a single one of them. Then only one – with another 6 year wait to see another one! Unbelievable. In fact in more than 35 years of birding I’ve only ever seen this species about 20 times. Then on this day at Mannum I saw 4 all flying around in close proximity. Unreal.
Sydney Trip Report June 2011
On our trip to Sydney earlier this year we visited Darling Harbour in the heart of Sydney. Many people were gathered there for the Jazz and Blue Festival. In addition to the human audience, these two Silver Gulls seemed to be enjoying the free music too.
In addition to the many Silver Gulls around the harbour, I also saw plenty of White Ibis, Australian Ravens, Rock Doves and those pesky Common Mynas.
This just proves the versatility of this hobby called birding; you can watch birds anywhere.
Sometimes, I feel that the birds are watching us!
At one stage while travelling along the south coast of Yorke Peninsula we pulled off the main road and drove down a rough dirt track towards the beach (see photo below). A solitary juvenile Pacific Gull was feeding on the sand. This species is found along coastal NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and southern Western Australia. While it is widespread it is not present in large numbers in most places. It is usual to see only one or two birds at a time.
The photo above shows the bird in the juvenile plumage which indicates a first year bird. For the next 3 years a variety of plumages stages can be seen, from the chocolate brown through to mottled brown and white until the full adult plumage is developed. Below I have included several photos of two birds in adult plumage at Victor Harbor earlier this year.
We briefly visited Pondalowie Bay on Yorke Peninsula on our recent holiday. It was nearing the end of a wild and windy day. Not many birds were showing themselves along the beach or nearby headlands. I did see some cormorants, several Sooty Oystercatchers and the inevitable Silver Gulls.
Also present were two Pacific Gulls, soaring overhead on the wild gale force winds. I managed a shot of the two overhead flying in perfect synchronised formation. Annoyingly the shot out of focus. Bother!
It’s not good enough to show here, so I’ve included a photo of two sitting on a rock (see above). That shot was taken at Victor Harbor back in January. By way of apology I’ve included several scenery shots of wave action below.