Pacific Gulls

Juvenile Pacific Gull, Yorke Peninsula

At one stage while travelling along the south coast of Yorke Peninsula we pulled off the main road and drove down a rough dirt track towards the beach (see photo below). A solitary juvenile Pacific Gull was feeding on the sand. This species is found along coastal NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and southern Western Australia. While it is widespread it is not present in large numbers in most places. It is usual to see only one or two birds at a time.

The photo above shows the bird in the juvenile plumage which indicates a first year bird. For the next 3 years a variety of plumages stages can be seen, from the chocolate brown through to mottled brown and white until the full adult plumage is developed. Below I have included several photos of two birds in adult plumage at Victor Harbor earlier this year.

South coast of Yorke Peninsula

Juvenile Pacific Gull, Yorke Peninsula

Pacific Gulls, Victor Harbor, South Australia

Pacific Gulls, Victor Harbor, South Australia


A misty day at the beach

Crested Terns, Sheoak Beach, Yorke Peninsula

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.

Australian Pelicans, Sheoak Beach, Yorke Peninsula

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.

Crested Terns, Sheoak Beach, Yorke Peninsula


Kangaroos – and a few birds

Western Grey Kangaroo, Pondalowie Bay, South Australia

Okay – so this site is supposed to be about Australian Birds. Every now and then, however, I come across something interesting to photograph which doesn’t fall into that narrow field. Here is one example.

On our recent short holiday to Yorke Peninsula we visited the lovely and secluded Pondalowie Bay. The weather was quite unpleasant with light showers and almost gale force winds. The birding was consequently very limited. I did see several Pacific Gulls along with a few Silver Gulls and a solitary Sooty Oystercatcher. Two Pelicans braved the wild conditions in the bay and a small number of Crested Terns kept watch from some rocks. A Nankeen Kestrel used the wind to its advantage, soaring on the rushing air to search out a late afternoon snack.

Leaving the shoreline and driving inland a few hundred metres the wind abated somewhat in the lee of the sand dunes and thick coastal vegetation. Here the birding was a little better and I sighted a small list of species, including

  • Masked Lapwings
  • Galahs
  • Willie Wagtails
  • Grey Currawongs
  • Silvereyes
  • Singing Honeyeater (also seen near the water)
  • Rainbow Lorikeets
  • Crested Pigeons

And just as we were leaving the camping ground area we sighted a group of five juvenile Western Grey Kangaroos grazing near the road. They are used to vehicles in this area and didn’t stop their grazing as I stopped to take some photos.

Western Grey Kangaroos, Pondalowie Bay, South Australia

Australian Magpie, Pondalowie Bay, South Australia

Pacific Gulls, Pondalowie Bay

Pacific Gulls

We briefly visited Pondalowie Bay on Yorke Peninsula on our recent holiday. It was nearing the end of a wild and windy day. Not many birds were showing themselves along the beach or nearby headlands. I did see some cormorants, several Sooty Oystercatchers and  the inevitable Silver Gulls.

Also present were two Pacific Gulls, soaring overhead on the wild gale force winds. I managed a shot of the two overhead flying in perfect synchronised formation. Annoyingly the shot out of focus. Bother!

It’s not good enough to show here, so I’ve included a photo of two sitting on a rock (see above). That shot was taken at Victor Harbor back in January. By way of apology I’ve included several scenery shots of wave action below.

Pondalowie Bay, Yorke Peninsula

Pondalowie Bay, Yorke Peninsula

Another Osprey

Osprey at Inneston, Yorke Peninsula

Yesterday I wrote about seeing two Ospreys soaring over the beach and headland at Marion Bay. This lovely species is one I’ve not seen many times before. This merely reflects the fact I’ve not done enough birding in their preferred habitats: shorelines, estuaries, rivers and lakes.

I short time after seeing the first two I saw another one, this time flying overland at the historic township of Inneston. To see one is good; to see three in a couple of hours was a real buzz, and a highlight of the weekend.

Inneston is now a deserted town. In the early twentieth century is was a bustling mining town with several hundred residents. The nearby lakes were mined for gypsum. When the mine closed the town quickly died. About five of the original homes have been restored and are now used as accommodation by visitors to the Innes National Park.

Lake Inneston, Yorke Peninsula