On our recent short holiday on the Yorke Peninsula here in South Australia we stopped to have lunch at Penguin Point near Marion Bay. I didn’t see any penguins; at this time of year they are probably all far out to sea feeding. In fact, I saw very few birds during our lunch break. The reason for this was the weather; it was blowing a gale.
While sitting in the car eating our lunch two Ospreys flew low overhead. This was a great sighting because I’ve rarely seen this species over the years. Seeing two at once was a bonus. They were using the strong wind to soar and hover over the nearby beach and rocky headland. They repeatedly did this so it was too good an opportunity to let slip.
Leaving my lunch I braved the fierce wind and cold conditions and ventured out with my camera. Now I must admit that I have not really mastered the art of photographing birds in flight. It’s a skill I must spend far more time on developing. This was a good opportunity to practise. One element quickly become an obvious hindrance: the wild, blustery conditions. It was hard enough trying to remain upright without worrying about getting the shot just right. So I basically just aimed and clicked, hoping for the best.
While the photos on this post will never win any great photo competition, at least you can identify the birds from them. I console myself with two thoughts:
- I now have some photos of this species.
- I can only get better.
While we were at Penguin Point at Marion Bay on Yorke Peninsula just over a week ago I braved the wild gale force winds and went for a short walk along the ridge top. As I was returning a green parrot landed on the well made path. It walked a few metres in front of me then stopped to chew on a flower on the edge of the path. I took a few photos and then attempted to get a little closer, but it flew off into the sand dunes and I didn’t see it again.
I’d seen over a dozens Rock Parrots in this spot on my last visit some years ago. The sight of so many together was unforgettable. This time I had to be content with a brief view of just one. The poor weather probably had something to do with only seeing one, so I considered myself lucky to have seen any at all.
Rock Parrots are one of a family of parrots known as Neophemas. The group also includes the Blue-winged Parrot, Elegant Parrot, Orange-bellied Parrot (endangered), Turquoise Parrot and Scarlet-chested Parrot. The Rock Parrot is generally a bird of coastal regions, its preferred habitat includes granite outcrops, islands, headlands, coastal dunes, scrubs and grasslands near the coast.
On the second day of our short holiday on Yorke Peninsula last week we drove from Edithburgh to Marion Bay before lunch. The weather was turning bad with strengthening northerly winds ahead of a cooler change from the south.
On arriving at Marion Bay we drove slowly around the older part of town noting things we could remember from holidays there in the 1980s. Little had changed in that part of town but we also noted many new and expensive looking homes in the newer parts of town. We parked at Penguin Point overlooking the bay. As the wind had turned almost gale force we had to stay in the car to eat our lunch as it was too unpleasant outside. It was not good birding weather.
Penguin Point is obviously named after the bird of the same name, probably the Little Penguin which is seen regularly along the coast of South Australia. I can’t find any references in my library but I would expect that some Little Penguins actually nest along this part of the coast. I didn’t see any penguins on my visit but this is not surprising as most Little Penguins spend most of the winter at sea.
While the Little Penguin is the most frequently seen species along the southern coast of Australia, several other species are occasionally recorded, including the Rockhopper Penguin, Fiordland Penguin and the King Penguin.