Roadside birding, Yorke Peninsula
After leaving Mulbura Park reserve near Pt Vincent on the Yorke Peninsula we drove on along a dirt road towards a nearby conservation park. I’ll write about that visit tomorrow. At one point my wife asked me to stop to take a photo of the native apricot trees growing on the side of the road.
The native apricot (Pittosporum phylliraeoides) is a widespread tree throughout South Australia but in most areas is not present in large numbers. The road we were on was an exception with many such trees on the roadside verge. Most were in fruit and the bright orange fruit looked spectacular in the late afternoon sun. Every time I see the fruit I’m reminded of that terrible day when I had a brain snap – I tried to eat the fruit. The juice squirted down my throat and I spent the next half hour coughing and spitting trying to rid myself of the astrigent, bitter taste. Don’t try it – the fruit is not edible, I assure you. In fact, a little research has found at least one reference to the seeds being poisonous.
I can’t recall ever seeing any birds eating the fruit, though the flowers do attract a range of nectar loving birds such as honeyeaters. The trees also provide suitable nesting and shelter for a range of species. The birds observed within a short distance of this clump of trees include:
- White-browed Babblers
- Willie Wagtail
- Crested pigeons
- Spiny-cheeked honeyeater
- Yellow-rumped Pardalotes
Mind you, we only stopped for a few minutes before driving on, so the list of birds frequenting these trees would be much larger.
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