Australia has two species of spoonbill, the Royal Spoonbill, shown above, and the Yellow-billed Spoonbill. The latter has a special place in my birding life; you can read here about how this bird played an important part in me becoming a birder.
I love seeing either of our species of spoonbill, so they are rather special birds to me. While both species are widespread throughout suitable habitat in Australia, in my experience they are generally not encountered in large numbers anywhere, usually from one individual to three or four in the same locality. Or perhaps I’m not looking in the right places.
I went for my morning walk before breakfast today. I generally follow the same route along a side road next to our property. The birding was quite good, despite the cool, overcast conditions. It was threatening to rain and I actually felt a few drops as I walked along.
Near the end of my route where I turn around and retrace my steps home I saw a dead Brown Snake on the road. It had been reasonably warm the day before, so I guessed that was when it came to grief. Although it’s not a busy road, large trucks come long it several times a day so it’s possible that one of them ran over it.
Although it is only a few weeks into spring, the snakes are on the move – and probably hungry after their winter hibernation. Brown Snakes are relatively common around here but they tend to keep out of our way by choice, so we only ever see one or two every year, usually dead specimens like the one I saw this morning.
The photo above is of an Inland Taipan (I think I read the label correctly) taken yesterday on our family visit to the Cleland Wildlife Park near Adelaide. The Brown Snake found around here is somewhat similar in appearance. Both are quite venomous so I treat any encounter with caution.
More than once I’ve almost stepped on a snake while birding, and on one infamous occasion actually had one slither over my boot. Now that’s observing our wildlife just a little too closely.
Just so my loyal readers are not disappointed, I’ve included a photo of some birds taken yesterday.