Yesterday I was asked to drive from Murray Bridge to Pinnaroo via Karoonda in the Murray mallee region of South Australia. A local courier company needed some parcels urgently delivered in the morning and I was available. I used to do relief driving for this company.
I enjoy doing driving jobs like this because it gets me out of my office and away from my computer for some fresh air. It also enables me to look at the birds along the way. After I’d delivered all the parcels I took a leisurely pace on the way home, stopping a number of times to actually get out and stretch my legs and do some birding.
One of the things that impressed me on the outward journey was the number of White-winged Choughs in the region. It seemed that I was seeing a flock every kilometre or so along the way. It is my guess that this species tends to be found along the country roads in this region for several reasons.
- The roadside vegetation allows foraging opportunities for the birds, more so than many of the open farm paddocks nearby.
- The roadside vegetation provides excellent nesting sites in the many trees lining the route.
- The rain run-off from the roads gathers in puddles and gutters long enough for the birds to build their mud nests.
At the point where I stopped for lunch on a dirt side road I found a family of choughs, some of them posing for my camera nicely (see photo above).