Last Sunday I was in my daughter’s back yard in Clare sitting in lovely winter sunshine. I was intent on the novel I was reading and trying hard not to doze off in the warmth of the sun on my back. A small flock of about a half dozen Musk Lorikeets noisily flew into the neighbour’s almond tree.
I firstly checked them out with the binoculars; I’ve also seen Purple-crowned Lorikeets in this locality. I then grabbed my camera and quietly walked to the fence. Zooming in I could see that they were not going to be easily spooked. The unopened flower buds on the almond tree were obviously good eating. In the next two minutes I managed to get 18 really good photos, some of which I share on this site today.
Musk, Purple-crowned and Rainbow Lorikeets are relatively common and widespread throughout the Mt Lofty Ranges and the mid-north of South Australia, and elsewhere such as the south-east of the state. They can be seen in some places in large numbers, noisily feeding in eucalypt trees in particular.
When they are feeding in the dense canopy of a gum tree (eucalypt) they can be very hard to see, let alone photograph. So seeing them feeding in a tree with little foliage made photography so much easier for me. I wish all birds were so accommodating.
- Purple-crowned Lorikeets at Brown’s Road Monarto
- Purple-crowned Lorikeets
- Rainbow Lorikeets feeding
- Lorikeets and flowering trees
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.
I was almost arrested this morning.
Let me explain. We went for our normal early morning walk down the road along one side of our property. Part of this walk takes us past the external fence of the local prison complex. We think nothing of it every morning.
Along this stretch we had excellent views of about five Purple-crowned Lorikeets feeding on the flowers of the local mallee trees known as Eucalyptus porosa It’s a shrubby form of gum tree and quite common in this area. The photo above shows the flowers.
The lorikeets were quite unconcerned with our presence. In fact, I was able to watch one feeding at head height about a metre in front of me. It would have made an excellent photo with the first rays of morning sunlight highlighting the colours.
I was both pleased – and annoyed. No camera! And I do not yet have a photo of this species. Usually they are high up in the foliage feeding – or streaking across the tree tops at speed. Here was the ultimate photo opportunity – and no camera.
Ten minutes later we were home. I grabbed the camera and hopped in the car and drove to the same spot. Of course, Murphy’s Law – they’d flown off. All I managed was several shots of the trees and flowers. Then it all turned pear shape. Remember – this was right next to the boundary fence of the prison.
My actions immediately attracted the attention of the ‘boundary rider’ on his quad bike. Over recent months the prison has had a spate of people on the outside throwing tennis balls filled with drugs over the fence RIGHT WHERE I WAS STANDING! Talk about being a bit stupid. I had some quick explaining to do. He immediately reassured me that I certainly didn’t look like a drug supplier.
Whew! Talk about birding being a dangerous hobby!
Anyway – all’s weel that ends well! Except that I still don’t have a photo of that species!
Maybe next time!