We’ve visited Edithburgh on the Yorke Peninsula of South Australia a number of times over the years. We used to go regularly when my brother-in-law lived there. On our recent visit we were pleased to revisit some of our favourite spots. One of these was the Edithburgh Nature Reserve, just across the road where we used to stay just two minutes’ walk from the main street.
This large park near the main shopping street of this coastal town is a wonderful asset to the community and is maintained by local people, though on this visit we noticed that there has been some recent neglect. It is in need of some tidying up and the list of plant species at the entrance has been badly vandalised since our last visit.
On the last day of our recent short holiday in the region we packed up and then spent about an hour in this park. The showers of the previous two days had gone, the sun was shining but the southerly wind was still bitterly cold. I’ve spent some hours birding in this park over the years, usually with some interesting species. I didn’t have high hopes on this occasion, being the start of winter and quite cold.
The Grey Shrike-thrush shown above caused some puzzlement at first. I heard it off in the distance and tracked it down. It’s call was distinctly different from the birds I’m familiar with at home. The bird took pity on me and responded to my imitations and came quite close, posing several times for a photo.
Over the next hour I steadily added to a small list of species seen in or near the park. Welcome Swallows swooped low over head and New Holland Honeyeaters flitted from bush to tree and back again, never sitting still enough for photos. Silvereyes flew overhead and I heard several Weebills calling nearby. Several Australian Magpies searched on the ground for a snack while a small flock of Galahs flew quickly overhead. A group of Crested Pigeons rested on the power lines while the Rock Doves settled on the roof of an old church over the road.
Red Wattlebirds gave their harsh calls and chased away the lone Singing Honeyeater trying to feed on the nectar of flowering trees. A Nankeen Kestrel glided overhead, causing alarm calls from the smaller bush birds. I heard a Common Blackbird give its startled alarm call from a nearby garden and Magpie Larks checked out the roadside puddles left by rain showers.
It’s not a big list, but it was an enjoyable hour of birding enhanced by getting several good flower shots. Oh, I nearly forgot the Willie Wagtail which refused to pose facing me.
Over the last weekend my wife and I had a short four day holiday on Yorke Peninsula. We stayed in a holiday unit at Edithburgh, about a four hour drive from our home. Edithburgh is a small town near the bottom of the peninsula, directly opposite Adelaide which is on the other side of Gulf St Vincent.
It has been far too many years since our last visit. The peninsula offers some interesting birding with mixed farming covering most of the region, mainly wheat and sheep. There are also remnant mallee scrub areas, particularly in the south and of course the long coast line offers good birding opportunities where there is access to the beaches. One major goal was to spend time in Innes National Park on the southern tip of the peninsula.
On this visit I didn’t anticipate making a long list of birds seen. Many of the migratory seabirds have long since flown to warmer parts in the northern hemisphere. In another blow, the weather forecast was far from promising good birding; gale force winds and rain. Still, we had a booking in one of the many holiday units and we were looking for a relaxing break regardless of what was thrown at us.
I didn’t see any of my target birds: Mallefowl, Western Whipbird and Hooded Plover, but I still managed some great birds, including Crested Bellbird, Blue Bonnet parrot, Rock Parrot and great views of Ospreys.
Over the coming days I will share some of my sightings, along with the usual photographs.