I am sorry about the lack of posts here in the last few weeks. I’ve been busy, distracted, somewhat unwell, and occupied with other tasks. Life happens.
Last week we hitched up the caravan for a four night mini holiday in Victor Harbor on the coast south of Adelaide. We usually head down there for a few days this time of the year so my wife can attend the CWCI Convention there. This convention is enjoyed by Christian women from all over the state and even some come from interstate. Meanwhile, the respective husbands, including yours truly, sit around in the caravan park talking about all manner of things and generally solving the world’s problems. Sometime we even gather up the energy and go for a walk.
This time around it was different for me. I was recovering from dental surgery and was not feeling much like walking. I did a lot of sleeping and reading. I also had long chats to some of the men on some quite deep topics – about life, the universe and everything. It didn’t leave much time for birding.
I just made a sketchy list of the birds seen or heard from where we were in the caravan park. Not a great list but I was aware of a few birds. Probably the highlight was seeing four Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoos flying low overhead. Quite a nice species to add to my list for the weekend. I didn’t have the camera on me at the time. In fact, the camera didn’t even come out of its case all weekend. Now that’s unusual for me.
There was one other nice sighting. On the way home we saw about 50 Cape Barren Geese just south of home. Here’s a photo of one I prepared earlier.
The Hooded Plover is found along the southern coast of Australia, from Tasmania, though Victoria, South Australia and southern Western Australia. Its preferred habitat is sandy beaches where there is plenty of seaweed and there are nearby rocky outcrops, reefs and sand dunes. In some parts it can be found at salt lakes some distance inland in SA and WA. It lays its 2 or 3 eggs in a shallow scrape in the beach sand during the months of September to January.
The Hooded Plover is an endangered species. On the Fleurieu Peninsula near where I live there are fewer than 75 left, according the warning sign near the beach at Victor Harbor (see below). On a visit to Victor Harbor some years ago I was walking along this beach watching over about 60 primary school children on an end of year school camp. Trying to keep so many little feet away from the nest with two eggs took a major effort, but the birds patrolling the beach nearby were not too disturbed. Why they chose one of the busiest beaches in South Australia to lay their eggs is a mystery to me! I hope they survived.
The bird in the photo above was not taken at the beach. It was of a bird in an aviary at Adelaide Zoo where the keepers have cleverly recreated a small sandy beach to imitate its natural habitat.
We recently had a weekend in Victor Harbor on the south coast of South Australia. We stayed in our caravan with a group of friends in their caravans. While sitting around talking at one stage a juvenile Australian Magpie came hopping around our feet, begging for food from the adults nearby. They were looking for any scraps of food that may have fallen from our picnic tables.
A little later this young bird flew in and landed on the annex of our friend’s caravan about 3 metres from where I was sitting. If you look closely at the photo above you can just see the corner of the annex. The bird looked at me, noticed that a camera didn’t look very tasty, and flew off.
We recently spent a few days in Victor Harbor on the south coast of South Australia. We stayed in the caravan park close to the beach. The park boasts many fine mature trees, including some eucalyptus trees which were heavy in flower. The local Rainbow Lorikeets were flocking in large numbers to feed on the nectar in the flowers, making a constant racket as they fed. During the day this was not much of a problem, though it did get on the nerves a little as it went on hour after hour.
The main problem came at first light, just when one is trying to get that last few minutes of sleep. A Rainbow Lorikeet screeching to his friends a few metres above your caravan is an unsettling alarm clock.
Masked Lapwings are birds that are easily recognisable to many Australians. They are found throughout the eastern half of the continent and the northern parts too, where suitable habitat exists. They are common in parks, ovals, grassed areas, swamplands, and the edges of watercourses, dams and lakes. They are notorious for their habit of fiercely and noisily defending their territory by swooping anyone who dares to come near to their nest on the ground or the young.
While they are known to also inhabit beach areas, I haven’t often seen this species right on the beach like the one shown in the photo above. Mind you – this one is actually walking on the piled up seaweed along Encounter Bay at Victor Harbor.