Great Birding Moments # 16 Cockatoo Valley
We have driven through Cockatoo Valley dozens of times over the years but we have never stopped to have a look around. This small but growing community is near Gawler north of Adelaide. Last Saturday we rectified that; we were invited to visit a private garden just off the main road.
This private garden is a massive three acres in size, almost like a small botanic garden or arboretum. We have known Keith, the owner, for some years through our mutual interest in Australian native plants. Keith planted up this garden some 18 years ago and he grew many Australian native plants for the cut flower trade. He no longer does this, having retired several years ago, but he still maintains this magnificent garden.
With so many flowering plants in the garden the bird life is also wonderful. There seemed to be New Holland Honeyeaters everywhere and they far outnumbered the White Plumed Honeyeaters. The irritatingly noisy Little Wattlebirds keep up a constant barrage of their gratingly harsh “cocky-cock” and “yekkop, yekkop” calls all afternoon. Keith informed me that he rarely saw Red Wattlebirds in his garden which I found interesting.
We had barely sat down to have a cuppa in the garden when we heard the soft and soothing “doodle-doo” call of a Peaceful Dove nearby. House Sparrows frequently visited the fish pond near where we sat, but the Diamond Firetail finches did not make an appearance today. Pity. Such beautiful birds.
The clownish White Browed Babblers played all around the bushes and where we had parked the car, their miaowing calls coming from a half dozen different bushes. Overhead the recently arrived Rainbow Bee-eaters swooped and glided on the air currents looking for insects. As we were having a final cuppa I spied a very quiet Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo feeding in a nearby eucalypt tree, but he flew on before I managed to get a photo.
Where are the Cockatoos in Cockatoo Valley?
All afternoon I had been seeing and hearing various parrots. I managed some lovely shots of the Musk Lorikeet as shown in the photo above. Rainbow Lorikeets often flew overhead as did small flocks of Galahs. I never saw a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo that afternoon even though they are common in the area. As for cockatoos in Cockatoo Valley I had a settle for eight Little Corellas that flew overhead just as we were about to leave.
And a few miles down the road – Sulphur Crested Cockatoos in Williamstown where we had a picnic tea!