Sydney Trip Report June 2011
On the first day of our journey home we stopped briefly in the Wagga Wagga Botanic Gardens for an afternoon cuppa and toilet break, a spot we’ve enjoyed on other occasions. The large rural city of Wagga Wagga is worth a longer stay than just a half hour or so. I’d really like to explore this lovely city and the region in more depth one day. We always seem to be in a rush somewhere when we go through this area. [Sigh]
One this occasion it was quite late in the afternoon, still cold and cloudy and we still had about an hour’s drive to our accommodation for the night in Narrandera further west. I didn’t have much time for birding nor photography, though I did get some nice shots of Australian Magpies and Grevilleas (native Australian plants).
Other birds seen included:
- Pied Currawong,
- Rainbow Lorikeets,
- White-plumed Honeyeaters,
- Red Wattlebirds,
- Crested Pigeons,
Last week I attended the 2010 Adelaide Writers’ Week. This popular event is an important feature of the Festival of Arts held here every two years. Writers and readers come from all over Australia and attendees are treated to a large contingent of guest speakers, some Australian but many from overseas, with a sprinkling of local talent. Writers for children are conspicuous by their absence.
This event is spread over six days and is held in the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Gardens in the beautiful park-lands of Adelaide, just an easy five minute stroll from the CBD. All sessions are free – except for several evening sessions in the Town Hall. Panel discussions, book launches and meet-the-author sessions are run concurrently in two large marquees set up on the lawn, while a third is the book tent where you can buy the books of guest speakers and get them signed. There is also a catering tent for food and drinks.
While attending three days of this year’s Writers’ Week I was able to position myself during most sessions where I was also able to see out of the tents and observe the passing bird life. Being set in the gardens, and very close to the River Torrens, I was able to get a nice little list of bird seen. Below is an annotated list.
Galah: small groups seen flying over head along the river.
Rainbow Lorikeets: fast flying flocks seen and heard over head and feeding in nearby trees.
Noisy Miner: several heard calling from nearby trees. Interestingly I only saw one bird.
Australian Pelican: two seen gliding low over the river where they presumably landed (the trees obscured my view).
Sulphur-crested Cockatoos: several small flocks of 4-8 flew noisily overhead.
Australian Magpie: two heard carolling in nearby trees and several feeding on nearby lawns.
Silver Gulls: one or two seen often flying over head or along the river.
Australian Wood Duck: flock of about a dozen feeding on the grass within a few metres of the tent, quite unperturbed by the large numbers of people.
Black Swan: One seen sitting on the grass near where I parked the car next to the river (I was lucky enough to get a park each day very close to the venue).
Welcome Swallows: About 5 seen flying over the river.
Crested Pigeon: one seen feeding on the grass near the tents.
Pacific Black Ducks: Two flew between the tents at just over head height, narrowly missing people as they mingled near the Book Tent.
Little Pied Cormorant: one seen flying over the river.
During our visit to the Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra in January I was keen to get some photos of the local birds as well as add to my collection of flower and plant photos.
On my last visit some fifteen months previously I had seen and photographed a male Gang-gang Cockatoo. This is one delightful species that I’ve only seen on a handful of occasions previously. On this new visit I was on the lookout for them. I had heard several calling as I left the car park.
I was wandering through the northern part of the gardens looking out for birds and flowers to photograph. I was suddenly aware of a carpet of Acacia seed pods and leaves on the path at my feet. Looking up, I saw a female Gang-gang Cockatoo busily eating seeds no more than two metres above my head. She wouldn’t move in order to pose for me in the open; she must have been hungry.
Further reading: Gang-gang Cockatoo