One of the more interesting birding spots near my home in Murray Bridge South Australia is Lowan Conservation Park near Bowhill, about a 40 minute drive to the north east. This park is mainly mallee eucalypt scrub with some native pine (Callitris) and smaller shrubby undergrowth, including acacias, eremophilas, spinifex and some annual flowering plants.
The birdlife in this park can vary from overwhelming in number to very few. It all depends upon what is flowering at the time. When many of the mallee trees are in flower the honeyeaters flock there in large numbers. When nothing is flowering I’ve struggled to list more than a dozen species – and sometimes no honeyeaters, with the possible exception of a solitary Red Wattlebird. It can be very rewarding – or downright frustrating.
On a visit early last year I was delighted to catch a glimpse of a Shy Heathwren, not a species which is common in this region. True to its name it proved to be elusive but very vocal. A birding friend had a bird field guide application on his phone, so he played the call of this species. Within seconds it was almost hopping around our feet. I was therefore able to get a few not-so-brilliant shots. Wish it had sat still for more than a half second!
As a result of this experience I just had to go and buy myself a smart phone – along with a bird guide app.
UPDATE: I have since bought a smart phone AND have a field guide app on it. I haven’t used it much for calls out bush, but my grandchildren think it is really cool. [sigh]
A more recent article about this park can be found here.
Updated July 2015.
I have been trolling through a few photos taken over two years ago, looking for some I haven’t shared here on this site. On this occasion I took John Tongue and family birding to a site about 15 minutes’ drive from home. Brown’s Road, near Monarto just west of Murray Bridge here in South Australia is something of a birding mecca for birders in this locality. The Birds SA people, as well as individuals, often arrange field trips to this locality.
Strange as it may seem, after living so close for over 25 years, this was my first visit. It was quite a warm day and the birding was a little slow but we did see a few good species, including the Purple-crowned Lorikeets shown in the photos today. Below I have also shown the vegetation typical of this area. While it is predominantly mallee eucalypt, there are also consideration native pine stands (Callitris spp) and quite a few introduced plant species due to the area being planted up several decades ago.