Sydney Trip June 2011
Yesterday I wrote about having a short stopover at the Malleefowl Rest Area on the road from Balranald to Mildura. We stopped to have a cuppa and afternoon tea in a patch of mallee scrub just off the highway.
While we were enjoying our break several Blue Bonnet parrots flew into a tree nearby and I was able to get some good photos of this colourful bird. At about 30cm in size this is one of our smaller parrots. While it is widespread in the mallee areas of Victoria, NSW and South Australia, it is generally not common anywhere. A small isolated population can also be found in SE Western Australia.
While I said that it is widespread in mallee habitats, it can also be found in several other habitats, including saltbush areas, grasslands, farmlands, mulga and acacias. I have yet to record this species on our home block but I have seen it within about 30 kilometres from our place.
On the third day of our recent holiday on Yorke Peninsula we drove along the south coast, stopping in various places to look at plants, birds and the general coastal scenery. As the afternoon progressed we visited the small village of Port Moorowie, a collection of nearly a hundred holiday homes and shacks. As far as I could tell there we no shops or other services there but it was still quite a delightful place to spend some time, especially during the summer months.
But not the day we visited. The wild gale force wind from the south west still made it most unpleasant to get out of the car, so we didn’t venture out on this occasion. Add to that the intermittent icy showers and you get a picture of how unpleasant the weather can be. All day the birding had been minimal; most species kept a very low profile.
A few hundred metres after leaving the beach settlement I saw a flock of about 20 parrots fly across in front of the car. I stopped, watching them closely. Several landed about 70 – 80 metres away. The binoculars revealed that they were Blue Bonnets, one of Australia’s colourful smaller parrots. Two landed in a good position for a photo, but unfortunately were too far away for a reasonable shot, even with my good zoom lens. If it hadn’t been raining at the time I might have managed a reasonable photo. I haven’t yet managed a reasonable photo of this species so I can’t show one. Those I took on the day are of such poor quality I don’t want to show them here.
A few hundred metres on I also saw a Richard’s Pipit on the road. It flew off and landed on a farm fence post. Again I was unsuccessful in getting a good photo. You have days like that. I guess if I hadn’t been on a tight time schedule I could have employed a little more patience and just waited for one to land close by, in bright sunshine and posed just right.