To all my regular readers I’m sorry there has been quite a delay since my last post here. I’ve been busy finishing off the academic year and getting snowed under a little with all the end of semester marking. Nearly there.
I ignored the assignments waiting for my attention today because it’s my birthday.
I had a relaxing day, didn’t pressure myself in any way, enjoyed the lovely spring sunshine and gentle breeze. The highlight of the day was chatting via Skype with my grandchildren in Sydney. Precious times. Nearly went out birding, but didn’t in the end.
Instead of showing a photo taken today, I looked through my photo album to share one not seen here before. The shot above was taken a few weeks ago on our way back from Sydney. It shows a very obliging White-faced Heron feeding on one of the grassy areas in the beautiful Wagga Wagga Botanic Gardens.
Sydney Trip Report June 2011
A few days ago I wrote about our short visit to the Wagga Wagga Botanic Gardens in southern NSW. We were on our way home from holidaying in Sydney with family. These gardens are small but hold a nice range of Australian and exotic plants. It’s also a good spot to get right off the highway, relax with a picnic or a cuppa, and enjoy the range of birds resident in the area.
On this visit I managed to photograph several of the Grevillea species in flower, and while doing so I also captured a Red Wattlebird feeding on one of the bushes (see photo below). It must have been hungry, for the bird almost completely ignored me and my camera only a short distance away. I guess it also needed to stock up on energy for the cold night which was quickly closing in. It had been a bitterly cold day, quite unpleasant for being out and about.
While my prime objective is to photograph our wonderful Australian birds and showcase them here in this site, I also enjoy getting great shots of our native flowers like the Grevilleas. (You can see more photos of flowers, both native and exotic, on my other site, Trevor’s Travels. Click on the Parks and Gardens category or click here.
While staying with our friends in Gisborne north of Melbourne last January we went for a drive to Castlemaine and then on to Bendigo. The main purpose of the trip was not to do any birding but rather as a social outing. The ladies in our group wanted to see an exhibition in the gallery so my friend and I spent the time shopping. We didn’t buy anything, which can be the best kind of shopping.
Before leaving I asked my friend to drive to the Bendigo Botanic Gardens. I wanted to check out the small zoo there and to get a few photos. I’m sorry I did. This very small zoo can hardly be called a zoo. Two rather disgusting aviaries with only a handful of birds and a small enclosure with three wallabies does not exactly inspire one to visit. The gardens are also in a very poor state. I guess the local authorities have the excuse of the continuing drought and severe water restrictions. I didn’t even bother making a list of birds living in the natural environment there as I was so upset. Visits here in the past have been so enjoyable in this beautiful city, but this time I felt very let down.
Whenever my wife and I travel interstate we look for national parks and botanic gardens to visit. Both afford excellent opportunities for us to pursue our interests. My wife is interested in Australian native plants and flowers – she has a small nursery – and I am interested in the birds that frequent such places.
On our trip through the eastern states last Christmas and New Year we visited Canberra for a short while. Our main objective was to visit the National Gallery to see the special Degas art exhibition. As important was a brief visit to the Australian National Botanic Gardens. These gardens are possibly our favourite in all that we have visited so far.
We were able to spend about three hours wandering the gardens on this occasion, not nearly enough time, granted, but we were on a tight schedule. During our stay we were entertained by a jazz group playing a variety of pieces. This, we found out, was a part of their Summer Series of concerts on Sunday evenings. Daylight Saving is ideal for such events and it proved to be very popular with many hundreds of people coming in toÂ the gardens. Fortunately the music did not deter the birds, and I was able to compile a nice list and get some interesting photos.
With so many plants in the gardens, and many of them flowering, it is not surprising to find many honeyeaters present and active. The Red Wattlebird shown in the photo above was quite unafraid of me only a few metres away; they are obviously used to people.
2007 Australian Capital Territory trip report #12
The Eastern Spinebill is one of Australia’s more colourful honeyeaters. We do not have this species in our garden in Murray Bridge, so I have to travel up into the Adelaide Hills, or interstate, to see this lovely bird.
It is a relatively common species in its range which extends along the coastal regions of eastern and south eastern Australia, from near Brisbane through to north of Adelaide. Its preferred habitat includes gardens, forests, heathlands and woodlands.
This particular species has caused me some angst over the last two years. Although I’ve seen it quite a few times, I haven’t been able to get any individuals to sit still long enough for me to focus the camera. Until my recent visit to the Australian National Botanic Gardens, that is. It’s quite a long drive to find one cooperative bird. Never mind, get it I did. It’s an even longer drive to see its cousin, the Western Spinebill in Western Australia. That one will have to wait a little while to appear in my camera lens.
Click on the image to enlarge the photo.