I’ve been a little quiet here over the last seven weeks. I’ve been overseas on a wonderful holiday. Stay tuned for plenty of wonderful photos of the birds of Ethiopia, Morocco and Spain in the coming months. In each country I saw about 30 species that I’d never seen before. The actual number is a bit rubbery as I’ve yet to identify some of the birds I photographed. Some long hours of interesting research ahead for me.
After a direct and very tedious journey home via Madrid, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur and Melbourne, we arrived at Adelaide Airport at 8am on Wednesday. Due to the blurriness of jet lag the rest of day was basically survival mode.
Thursday morning (yesterday) was a different matter. At breakfast time we had two Superb Fairy-wrens feeding in our garden, a male as shown in the photos, and a female. This species is widespread and common in our district here in South Australia, but this is the first time we’ve seen it in our garden in nearly 30 years living here. (On 5 occasions we have had Variegated Fairy-wrens visit over the same time period, the last being over 10 years ago.)
So, not only were we greeted with these lovely birds on our first day home, I was able to add a new species to our “home list”. Very nice.
Even better: they were around again this morning. I hope they find our garden enticing and decide to take up residence.
I managed only 2 photos of the male; the female was a little on the shy side and wouldn’t sit still long enough in the open for a shot.
A few weeks ago I spent a pleasant Sunday afternoon birding in and around Mannum, about a 20 minute drive north of home. The Murray River and its environment are the dominant feature of this town, an old paddle steamer port in the 1800s. I went for a walk along a walking trail on the riverside opposite the town. The trail starts just south of the ferry crossing.
I was delighted with the birding on that fine, pleasant spring day. One of the best species I saw was the Superb Fairy-wren. This stunning bird is always a good sighting and that can come up quite close in picnic areas. This family was just a little wary and it took quite a while and some patience to get several good shots of the male in all his colouful splendour.
Yesterday I wrote about stopping at a roadside rest area on the highway between Tintinara and Coonalpyn in the SE of South Australia.
While I was watching the various birds come to the small puddle of water that had formed, a family of Superb Fairy-wrens also came to have a drink. Most of this group were females or uncoloured males (see photos). I did see one partly coloured male; he must have been moving towards having his full breeding plumage and looked quite bedraggled. He also wouldn’t pose nicely for a photo.
Below I’ve included a photo of a fully coloured male taken last year on the south coast of NSW.
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.