Over recent posts here I have written about a trip we went on after a visit to Adelaide for a medical appointment. We travelled home via Gorge Road, Gumeracha, Birdwood and on to Mannum for lunch. Mannum is about a half hour drive north of our home in Murray Bridge and is also situated on the banks of the Murray River.
After buying our lunch at the local bakery – excellent food, by the way – we drove the short distance to the other end of town, stopping at Lions Park on the wetlands area next to the local caravan park. This is a lagoon which is usually full of water from the adjacent main part of the river. On most occasions I find that this is quite a suitable birding area with a good variety of both water-birds and local bush birds.
As I wrote in my last post I had forgotten to bring my camera with on this trip, something I rarely forget. Consequently I had to be content with sightings using my binoculars and not get too excited about potential photos. It wasn’t long before I was really regretting my oversight regarding the camera.
As we ate our delicious lunch a colourful male and female Superb Fairy-wren came hopping across the grass only a few metres in front of our car. They would have provided me with some wonderful shots, but that was not to be.
A few moments later – as if to taunt me even further – an Australian Reedwarbler came out of the reeds nearby and it also began hopping around on the grass only metres in front of the car. Over the years I have struggled to get good shots of this bird. One hears them wherever there are reeds but one only ever catches glimpses of them scurrying from one patch to another. They don’t seem to want to stop and pose in full view and in good light so my camera can do its work. To see one hopping around in plain view was just taunting me. Never mind – I will return!
All in all it was a quite productive hour of birding. Here is a list of my sightings:
- Australian Reedwarbler
- Superb Fairy-wren
- Crested Pigeon
- House Sparrow
- Peaceful Dove
- Purple Swamphen
- Eurasian Coot
- Little Black Cormorant
- White-plumed Honeyeater
- New Holland Honeyeater
- Masked Lapwing
- Whistling Kite
- Australian Pelican
- Silver Gull
- Noisy Miner
- Pacific Black Duck
- Grey teal
- Red Wattlebird
- Australian Magpie
- Little Corella
- Welcome Swallow
- Little Grassbird
- Caspian Tern
- Little Raven
- Magpie Lark
- Willie Wagtail
- Striated Pardalote
- Black-tailed Native Hen
- Red-rumped Parrot
I must go back again some time soon – and try to remember my camera.
We used to have a few wrens in our garden from time to time, mainly in the late 1980s and early 1990s. On all occasions they were Variegated Fairy-wrens, which is not the dominant wren species of the region.
About a year ago on our return from six weeks’ holiday overseas, we were greeted by two Superb Fairy-wrens, a male and a female, who had taken up residence in our absence. (Read about that here.) We have seen them almost every day since – except for the last month. Suddenly they have reappeared, this time with a third, uncoloured, bird. It is entirely possible that they have nested nearby without telling us, or giving away the location of their nest.
All three birds took delight in having a good splash in one of our bird baths yesterday while I was finishing my breakfast and trying to complete the crossword in the paper. Sadly, I wasn’t quick enough with the camera, so I’ll use a photo taken elsewhere on another occasion.
A skill I admire in nature photographers is getting great still photos of moving birds or animals. It’s something I am still very much a novice at and will need to practise much more to get it right.
While this photo of a Black Kite soaring over the Murray River at Mannum taken a few weeks ago is not brilliant, I’m still quite pleased with it. Mind you, it has had a little treatment on my computer to enhance certain elements.
Click on the image to enlarge.
Grebes are not easy to photograph – well, that’s my experience, anyway. They are either too far away way out in the middle of a body of water, or they dive under the water as soon as you have them in focus.
Oh, the joys of nature photography!
Still, I should be pleased that his Australasian Grebe cruised around on the Murray River at Mannum a few weeks ago long enough for me to get some shots. It wasn’t all that interested in diving and it was close into shore. Sometimes the birds either enjoy being photographed – or the take pity on me!
Mmmm…having a closer look at the photos now I can’t help wondering if I’ve actually taken shots of two different birds. The one above looks different compared with the one below. (My memory is good enough to remember that the two shots below were a few seconds apart; the top photo was taken six minutes earlier according to the digital properties of the photo.)
Over recent days I’ve been sharing about bird sightings on a trip to Mannum on the Murray River recently. While I was sitting in Mary Ann Reserve watching the birds on and near the river these two Pacific Black Ducks swam past. I took the photo without noticing the orange tips on their bills.
It was only when I enlarged the image on my computer that I noticed the orange. That’s not normal in this species. The only explanation I can offer is that they have hybridised with Mallards at some stage. There are feral populations of Mallards in the region. Mallards are an introduced species and feral groups exist where they have been released or have escaped from farms or back yards.
I’d be interested in readers’ comments on this little mystery.
Meanwhile, I took the following photo just before leaving to go home. These two Pacific Black Ducks had been sitting on the grass alongside me while I photographed all the other birds shown here recently. They didn’t seem at all concerned that I was only about 2 metres away.