Late last year I had a brief visit to the Wittunga Botanic Gardens in the Adelaide Hills. I had a medical appointment nearby and when that was out of the way I drove the short distance to the gardens and found a shady spot to have lunch. This was in the spring last year, but it turned out to be quite a warm day.
These gardens used to be a part of a large private collection of plants, mainly exotic with a nice mix of Australian native trees and shrubs. In the spring time to exotics can put on quite a colourful show. After lunch I took the camera and strolled around the gardens trying to get a few bird shots. This is usually an excellent spot for birding but on this occasion the birdlife was a little quiet. Like me, the birds were probably feeling the first heat of the coming summer.
The gardens feature some dense plantings of both native and exotic species. It also boasts some beautiful sweeping grassed areas ideal for picnics as well as several water features. Somehow the usual ducks, coots and swamp hens weren’t to be seen during this visit – except for the two Australian Wood Ducks shown feeding in the photo below.
- Wittunga Botanic Gardens
- Wittunga Botanic Gardens part 1
- Wittunga Botanic Gardens part 2
- Wittunga Botanic Gardens part 3
- Wittunga Botanic Gardens part 4
On our visit last week to the Wittunga Botanic Gardens in the Adelaide Hills, I observed quite an interesting range of birds in the gardens and near the lake. There were plenty of Pacific Black Ducks and Wood Ducks, all clamoring for a piece of the action if any people came along – whether or not they looked like have a picnic. Ducks are ever hopeful of some food handouts.
I saw Eurasian Coots and Dusky Moorhens on the water and two Little Pied Cormorants perching on dead branches sticking out over the water of the lake. Two – perhaps a pair – of Masked Lapwings patrolled sections of the lawned areas used by picnickers. Welcome Swallows swooped low over the water and nearby bushy area. The trees were abuzz with Rainbow Lorikeets in a feeding frenzy. I also saw several Musk Lorikeets, a smaller parrot than the Rainbows but just as noisy. As for the larger parrot species I noticed several Galahs feeding on the lawns while a single Corella, I presume it was a Little Corella, flew overhead at one stage. I didn’t get a close enough look to be certain.
One species I was delighted to be able to see and photograph was the Eastern Rosella. In South Australia this species is mainly confined to the South East region of the state and to parts of the suburbs of Adelaide and the Adelaide Hills. The above photo shows up its brilliant colours. This is one occasion when I didn’t have to chase the bird in question, as it seemed happy to pose for me on the edge of the path.
Two days after taking the above photo, I was surprised to see a single Eastern Rosella at the Murraylands Homes for the Aged in Murray Bridge. I was there visiting my mother-in-law. This is the first time I have recorded this species anywhere near here. My closest other sightings are at least 60km to the west. By its behaviour it could well have been an escapee from someone’s aviary.