On our recent visit to the Australian Reptile Park near Gosford north of Sydney, I was constantly on the lookout for birds that I could photograph. When most people were having lunch in the park picnic area – which was very nice, by the way – I noticed that there were quite a few ducks also present.
This is a familiar sight in Australia; where people gather to eat, many bird species, including ducks, tend to gather. Unfortunately many people also feed the birds, ignorant of the fact that human food is not only unsuitable for our native species, too much can also be deadly to the birds’ health.
Of the prominent ducks present, I photographed three species in the picnic area: Grey Teal, Chestnut Teal and Australian Wood Duck. Also present nearby were a few Pacific Black Ducks, but I decided not to photograph those as I have plenty of shots of that species already.
On our recent boat trip we passed through the Goolwa barrages and headed south along the Coorong towards the mouth of the River Murray. It is here that Australia’s largest river empties into the Southern Ocean. As we travelled along we followed the line of sand hills which separate the Coorong from the ocean. It places these sand hills are spectacular – more of that for another post.
all along this stretch of the Coorong it is hard keeping up with all the birds one sees, especially seeing we were travelling most of the time at 25mph. On several occasions we had to slow down to slow walking pace and keep a sharp eye out for sand bars; more than once we almost became grounded.
In the photo above you can see a Little Egret, some Grey Teal and a Eurasian Coot just to the right of the sign.
Below the photo shows several Australian pelicans and a Masked Lapwing on the right. Almost impossible to see (except under extreme enlargement) are what look like Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and maybe a stilt.
A little further on we reached the mouth of the Murray. Our captain was unwilling to venture too close for fear of bottoming out on a sand bar. I was surprised by the number of vehicles on the beach and the number of people fishing along the shore of the river. I shouldn’t have been – it was a holiday long weekend and the weather was perfect.
The last photo below shows one of the tourist boats operating in this part of the river, The Spirit of the Coorong. It takes tourists from Goolwa down through the Coorong on a regular schedule.