On our recent visit to Sydney, we took our two grandchildren on a picnic to Lane Cove National Park. It is a short ten-minute drive from my son’s home. This park has also become one of our favourite picnic spots in Sydney.
Whenever I go to parks, especially national parks, I always take my binoculars and my camera. Spots like Lane Cove National Park always have a good range of birds to watch, and photograph. Because the children see me using my camera frequently, they often ask if they can take a few photos as well. Their ages are eight and five, so I let them use the camera. These days, they know how to handle my camera correctly. I think I have taught them well.
When my eight-year-old grandson was taking photos, he took the photo above. Many Australians, even if they are not birders, would easily recognise it as a Laughing Kookaburra. It is one of our most recognisable birds. My grandson has captured the bird well – good enough for this site, in my opinion. I love the silhouette effect.
My grandson also took the second photo (above) in this post. He has everything right: focus, composition, lighting – except that the bird is looking away! Sometimes you get everything just right – and other times one little thing doesn’t quite go to plan. Below are a few more photos I took that day.
Here are links to other picnics we enjoyed at the same spot:
Lunch snatching Kookaburra
Recently I have written about our trip to Sydney last month. I am a bit behind with sharing my sightings and photos on that trip, so I had better rectify that in the coming days. Actually, it will probably be over the coming weeks because I have so many photos and experiences to share, especially on the trip home.
On the second last day of our visit to stay with our son, we all decided to have a family picnic at the nearby Lane Cove National Park, about a ten-minute drive from my son’s home – depending on the traffic. My wife and I had taken the grandchildren there a few days earlier. They were keen to have barbequed sausages and try their hand at cooking marshmallows on the coals after lunch.
All was going well. We found a lovely spot with no other people around. We were able to easily get a fire going. Soon the sausages were cooked and we enjoyed our lunch.
“Keep an eye on those kookaburras,” warned Nanna.
There were about five or six Laughing Kookaburras perched in the trees nearby. they were all watching our movements keenly. One of the birds was perched right above our picnic table. We were annoyed when one of them decided to “decorate” the table below. Thankfully, his efforts missed our food.
Just as my son was about to take the last sausage off the plate, one of the birds swooped down and deftly snatched the last sausage. It had obviously done this cheeky manoeuvre many times before, never hesitating and expertly snatching the sausage off the very hot plate in its downward swoop. It didn’t stop but continued off into the forest, hotly pursued by the rest of the “gang” of thieves. We didn’t see where they went to devour the food, but we certainly heard plenty of protesting and squabbling as they fought over their ill-gotten gain.
While we were annoyed by their theft, it was wonderful for our grandchildren to be there to witness nature in the raw like that.
Despite our loss, we had all eaten well and enjoyed our picnic on a lovely sunny autumn day.
Waking up with the birds in Narrandera
Sydney Road Trip May 2010
On our recent trip to stay with family in Sydney we stayed one night in a motel in the town of Narrandera. It was on the southern edge of town, near the intersection of the Sturt and Newell Highways. Though a little noisy with the sounds of trucks, we still had a good night’s sleep.
At dawn the next morning I was woken by the wonderful sound of a Laughing Kookaburra nearby. It’s a wonderful way to wake up. The morning was crisp and cool and slightly foggy. Sadly I didn’t have time to add many more species to my list before we headed off towards Sydney straight after breakfast.
I never did see the kookaburra that woke me – so I’ve included a photo of one I saw in Lane Cove National Park on our last visit some 18 months earlier.
The Birds of Mystery Bay, south coast NSW
Mystery Bay is so named because many years ago some men exploring the area in a boat disappeared. Their whereabouts remains a mystery.
On our way south from Bateman’s Bay in NSW in January we stopped briefly at Narooma to buy some bread and some goodies for morning tea. The picnic grounds at Mystery Bay seemed as good as any for a rest and a cuppa. It also looked promising from a birding point of view.
Click on the photos to enlarge the images.
The Eurobodalla National Park started on the edge of the picnic area and looked like it would have some interesting species on the long walking trail leading south. Unfortunately I had no time to investigate and had to be content to stay in the picnic area.
It was interesting to see both the Red Wattlebird and the Little Wattlebird in the trees near the picnic area. A solitary Laughing Kookaburra kept us interested as we had our cuppa. My wife and daughter noticed that this bird seemed to have some sort of injury to one of its legs. It didn’t come close enough for a closer inspection. A family of Superb Blue-wrens could be heard in the nearby undergrowth and soon braved the open lawn area near where we sat.
Four Great Cormorants were sitting on the rocks just out to sea (photo above) while Silver Gulls and Crested Terns were seen on a nearby beach. Back in the picnic area I saw a few Welcome Swallows, a single Grey Fantail and several White-backed Magpies.
We had a very pleasant morning tea but the bird list was not all that impressive.
A Laughing Kookaburra comes to lunch
Several days after Christmas last year we had a family picnic at Lane Cove National Park. It was a hot and humid day and the bird life was rather quiet. My son often comes here with his camera looking for birds to photograph. I did manage a modest list for the day, but this was not my main objective. I wanted photographs of species I don’t see at home in Murray Bridge.
After a long walk along the river we came back in time for lunch – hot, tired and not a little sweaty. As we were eating this friendly Laughing Kookaburra joined us. He flew on to a branch only five metres from our picnic table, eying off any food he might snatch in a moment of human inattention. Had he succeeded he would have tasted some of our delicious Christmas lunch leftovers.