In my last post, I wrote about our weekend at Brighton Beach in the southern parts of Adelaide. During our short caravan holiday with a group of friends, we stayed in the Brighton Caravan Park – which is actually in the suburb of Kingston Park. During the weekend, most of my time was occupied chatting with my friends. We spent quite a few hours in our comfortable folding chairs, sitting at the top of the beach watching the passing parade of people walking, running, playing in the water and various water sports. Included in this constantly changing scene were various birds, mostly seabirds.
Probably the most common birds were the Silver Gulls and Crested Terns shown in the photo above. from time to time I would also see immature Pacific Gulls, as well as the occasional Little Pied Cormorant. There was an area of exposed rocky outcrops at low tide, and for much of the weekend, two Masked Lapwings spent many hours foraging for food in the seaweed and rocks. I have shown one of the birds in the photo below. I am amazed at how well camouflaged this bird is against the surrounding rocks.
On the Sunday afternoon, most of our friends went for walks along the beach. I also decided to go for a short stroll, taking photos as scenes presented themselves. The tide was slowly coming in, covering some of the rocky areas and sandbars, providing a smaller area for the roosting birds. I sat on a nearby rock for over half an hour, photographing birds, people, and boats.
On our recent holiday on Yorke Peninsula we struck a weekend of wild weather. On Sunday morning the wind was blowing a gale and constant misty showers scudded across the sea and over the adjacent farmland. Undeterred we still went out for a drive knowing that this was the only way we would get to see anything. Walking was really not a pleasant option.
We stopped to have a cuppa at Sheoak Beach, parking the car so that we could sit in relative comfort out of the wind and rain – and yet be able to see the water and any birds on the beach. There was not much to see.
A few Australian Pelicans sheltered from the wind behind some seaweed tossed up on the beach (see photo below). A small flock of Crested Terns sat on the beach looking most uncomfortable in the atrocious conditions. Several Sooty Oystercatchers were hunched up against the wind too, and a few Silver Gulls valiantly tried to fly along the beach. A White-faced Heron also bravely battled against the wind.
As we drove off I opened the driver’s side window a little as it was on the leeward side. This was so I could add a few species I heard calling or saw as we drove along slowly. I saw several Singing Honeyeaters, Rock Doves and heard a Common Skylark calling out in a nearby field.
As you can see in the photos on this post, the conditions for photography were far from ideal, the misty rain making it impossible to get good shots.
Some birding days are like that.
One of the frustrations I felt on our holiday in New South Wales earlier this year was the lack of time to do some serious birding as we went along. We were on a tight time schedule because our daughter had to return home to go to work. It was great spending three weeks with our adult daughter, but the birding was limited. Despite that I did get to see a good list of birds and I also found some excellent spots to return to later when we are less rushed.
We travelled down the south coast of New South Wales from Bateman’s Bay to Mallacoota in Victoria. On the way we passed through the beautiful towns of Narooma, Bermagui, and Merimbula, all worthy of a stay for a week, not just a quick drive through.
Upon reaching the port of Eden we did stop for about a half hour. We found a picnic area with a great view out over the beach and bay, as shown in the photos on this page.
From our picnic spot we saw Silver Gulls and Whiskered Terns flying along the beach or just out a short way into the bay. A small flock of Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos flew over head heading for the nearby coastal forest. Red Wattlebirds and Silvereyes were feeding in the bushes near our picnic spot and a family of cheeky Superb Fairy-wrens came close enough for a few good photos. The full coloured male came up close and posed for me.
On the way through the town I was able to add Galah, House Sparrow and Rock Dove to my list. This area is well worth another, longer, visit sometime in the near future.
Mystery Bay is so named because many years ago some men exploring the area in a boat disappeared. Their whereabouts remains a mystery.
On our way south from Bateman’s Bay in NSW in January we stopped briefly at Narooma to buy some bread and some goodies for morning tea. The picnic grounds at Mystery Bay seemed as good as any for a rest and a cuppa. It also looked promising from a birding point of view.
Click on the photos to enlarge the images.
The Eurobodalla National Park started on the edge of the picnic area and looked like it would have some interesting species on the long walking trail leading south. Unfortunately I had no time to investigate and had to be content to stay in the picnic area.
It was interesting to see both the Red Wattlebird and the Little Wattlebird in the trees near the picnic area. A solitary Laughing Kookaburra kept us interested as we had our cuppa. My wife and daughter noticed that this bird seemed to have some sort of injury to one of its legs. It didn’t come close enough for a closer inspection. A family of Superb Blue-wrens could be heard in the nearby undergrowth and soon braved the open lawn area near where we sat.
Four Great Cormorants were sitting on the rocks just out to sea (photo above) while Silver Gulls and Crested Terns were seen on a nearby beach. Back in the picnic area I saw a few Welcome Swallows, a single Grey Fantail and several White-backed Magpies.
We had a very pleasant morning tea but the bird list was not all that impressive.
When we were in Sydney last month visiting family for Christmas, one of the things I wanted to do was to take a ferry trip on Sydney Harbour. Last time we were here we didn’t get to go on the harbour. The main objective of the ferry ride was to see the beautiful harbour and the magnificent scenery around it. Birding was secondary.
We took the ferry to Manly where we alighted for a walk to the beach. We also indulged in a delicious icecream before heading home again. I was more intent in getting some good photos of the harbour rather than watching birds. I definitely saw plenty of Silver Gulls. They seem to be plentiful here. I also saw several terns but without my binoculars it was hard to tell the species. Several cormorants were seen at a distance too great to positively ID and I’m sure I missed many others on the journey.
On a visit in 2000 I was walking along the foreshore near Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair and was surprised – and delighted – to observe a Fairy Penguin (Little Penguin) swimming in the shallow water. Later I found out that they are a breeding species in the harbour. No penguins on this trip however.
While birding from one of the ferries that ply these waters daily could be done with some success, my experience on this occasion was disappointing. Of more value, I suspect, would be to visit a series of key spots around the harbour.Ã‚Â A static position may be far more effective rather than a moving platform. Just a thought.