Masked Lapwings, Lake Roberts, Lameroo


Masked Lapwings, Lake Roberts, Lameroo, South Australia

Sydney Trip Report June 2011

As I wrote yesterday, we stopped at Lameroo on the first morning of our trip to Sydney earlier this year. Lake Roberts on the eastern edge of town is a good birding spot with a mixture of bush birds and water birds inhabiting this artificial wetland area. On most of my visits I have seen at least two Masked Lapwings. They feed on the grassed area around the lake and picnic area. Behind me where I took these photos is the small caravan park which is also a grassed area. Last year we saw several chicks in the caravan park, running after the adults.

We stayed at this spot for about 20 minutes while we had a cuppa and morning tea. The following is a list of birds observed during that time:

  • Black-shouldered Kite
  • Brown Falcon
  • Nankeen Kestrel
  • Little Pied Cormorant
  • Muscovy Duck (introduced species)
  • Masked Lapwing
  • Rock Dove (introduced species)
  • Crested Pigeon
  • Galah
  • Variegated Fairy-wren
  • Red Wattlebird
  • Magpie Lark
  • Australian Magpie (both Black-backed and White-backed)
  • Little Raven
  • White-winged Chough
  • Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike

Some of these were seen in the town or on the road leading into town and not at the lake.

Lake Roberts, Lameroo, South Australia

Masked Lapwings, Lake Roberts, Lameroo, South Australia

Masked Lapwings, Lake Roberts, Lameroo, South Australia

Muscovy Duck, Lameroo

Muscovy Duck nesting at Lake Roberts, Lameroo

Sydney Trip Report June 2011

Over the coming few weeks I will intersperse my usual sightings around home with a series of trip reports when we went to visit family in Sydney in June earlier this year. I’ve been both busy and unwell so these reports are a little overdue. Never mind; I’m much better now and getting back into adding regular postings here.

On the first day of our trip we drove from home in Murray Bridge to Lameroo in eastern South Australia. We stopped for a cuppa and morning tea at Lake Roberts on the eastern edge of Lameroo, a farming community in the Murray Mallee region. I always like stopping here as you never know what birds are around.

This time I observed a Muscovy Duck near the edge of the lake and it seems it was sitting on a nest (see photo above). This is an introduced species in Australia and there are only a few feral populations away from farmyards. It is commonly kept on farms and in backyards as pets and are edible and are sometimes kept as meat birds. You can find out more about keeping them as pets by clicking here.

An afternoon walk in Monarto Conservation Park

Monarto Conservation Park, South Australia

A few Saturdays ago I took my elderly mother-in-law on a short drive to Monarto Conservation Park. This park is about 20 minutes by car from our home in Murray Bridge, South Australia. The open range Monarto Zoo is just north of the park. This area is one of our favourite places to see native Australian plants.

The park preserves a large parcel of remnant mallee scrub between the lower reaches of the Murray River to the east, and the Mt Lofty Ranges to the west. The park has several mallee forms of eucalypt (eg Eucalyptus dumosa), native pines (Callitris preissii) and a variety of understory plants like correas, native orchids and a many others.

There is one established walking trail through the north eastern corner of the park starting and ending at the car park. This easy 45 minute walk takes the visitor through a range of plant habitats giving a good overview of the vegetation native to this area. When in flower in winter and spring this is a delightful walk with much to interest keen botanists.

In my experience of many visits to this park over the last three decades the birding can be fickle, largely dependent on what is flowering. Many of our honeyeater species, for example, are highly nomadic, moving quickly to areas of abundant food sources. On this recent visit the birding was rather poor.

The following list is a poor representation of the bird life present in this area:

  • Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike: 5 seen, an unusually high number together
  • Grey Currawong: several heard and one seen
  • New Holland Honeyeater: often present in large numbers, perhaps only 4 or 5 seen this time.
  • Red Wattlebird: one seen and several more heard calling
  • Little Raven: heard calling from adjacent farmland
  • Welcome Swallow: several seen swooping low over the treetops
  • Adelaide Rosella: two disturbed from a tree as we walked along the path
  • Australian Magpie: many seen in nearby farmland
  • Weebill: a small flock heard nearby

As we were driving home via a different route we had fabulous views of two Wedge-tailed Eagles gliding low over the scrub in front of us. Nice end to a slow birding day.

This article was updated in July 2015.

Monarto Conservation Park, South Australia

Monarto Conservation Park, South Australia

Birding at Coobowie, Yorke Peninsula

On our short holiday on the Yorke Peninsula a few weeks ago we left Edithburgh mid-morning on the last day of our four day visit. We travelled the short distance to Coobowie, another popular holiday destination on the southern end of the peninsula, especially in the summer months. We found a suitable parking spot overlooking the bay and had a cuppa and a few nibbles.

The wind was still very chilly and so we stayed in the car. Birding from inside a car has its disadvantages, but it was far too cold out. This part of the coast can produce a good variety of birds, especially out in the bay at low tide. On previous visits I’ve timed my birding to coincide with low tide. The exposed sandbars can reveal a good variety of shorebirds, especially when all the summer migrants are in town.

No such luck today.

The tide was high, the strong wind pushing the water even higher. Few wading birds were visible and so I had to look to the bush birds in the roadside vegetation and in the paddocks to bolster my list:

  • Silver Gull
  • Pacific Gull
  • White-faced Heron
  • Little Pied Cormorant
  • Pied Oystercatcher
  • Australian Shelduck
  • Red-rumped Parrot
  • Australian Magpie
  • Magpie Lark
  • Little Raven
  • Singing Honeyeater
  • Red Wattlebird
  • New Holland Honeyeater
  • House Sparrow
  • Common Starling

Not a huge list but satisfying considering the poor weather conditions.

Silver Gulls

Birds and a dog at Gundagai

The dog on the tuckerbox near Gundagai

The dog on the tuckerbox near Gundagai

Sydney Trip May 2010

On the second day of our recent trip to Sydney we left Narrandera early and travelled on through Wagga Wagga and past Gundagai. A few miles past Gundagai we stopped at the famous “Dog on the Tuckerbox”  rest area, first to refuel and then to have morning tea.

The morning was chilly and we found a sunny spot to have a cuppa. Nearby we were able to buy some delicious apples to take with us on the journey. The birding was slow and I only managed to record the following species during our twenty minute stop:

  • Willie Wagtail
  • Australian Magpie
  • Red Wattlebird
  • House Sparrow
  • Welcome Swallow
  • White-plumed Honeyeater
  • Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
  • Red-rumped Parrot
The story about the dog on the tuckerbox near Gundagai

The story about the dog on the tuckerbox near Gundagai

  • Click on the image to enlarge.