Monday, January 31, 2011

Lower Glenelg National Park and Surrounds

I decided to escape the scorching heat wave forecast for Adelaide so headed South East for a few days.

Saturday morning found me on the road at 5.30am & I drove straight through to Bool Lagoon where I stopped for about 45 minutes.

I allowed myself short walk along the board walk. The first thing I noticed was there are so many HUGE tadpoles there. They almost lept out the water as I walked along the board walk. Then I noticed that some had grown up already..

There were plenty of Magpie Geese breeding – lots of fluffy little juveniles around!

Magpie Geese with young

Magpie Geese

I also heard 2 Australasian Bittern in the reeds quite close to the board walk. I got a glimpse of one as it clumsily flew from one clump of reeds to another very close by. I had fun photographing the Cisticola's who came over to visit me.

Golden Headed Cisticola

Golden Headed Cisticola

One of the thousands of Dragon Flies at Bool Lagoon

That was fun but I had to keep moving so it was back into my Birding Bus and onto Port MacDonnell where I filled up on Fish & Chips & a Pepsi Max before driving on to 8 Mile Beach and Danger Point.

This beach is the breeding ground for resident shorebirds including Hooded Plovers. Thankfully there are informative and large signs erected to stop people driving onto this beach between November and April in an attempt to save these nests.

I walked along the beach to see if I could find any interesting birds when suddenly a 4WD group drove straight past the signs and onto the beach!!! Well, I was livid. Dressed in my Khaki gear I positioned myself directly in front of the leading vehicle and photographed him so he could see that I had done so! I then signalled for him to stop. Calmly and politely I proceeded to explain to him about the breeding area, describing how cute & vulnerable these little birds are and how helpless they are with their tiny fragile nests. When he looked like he wanted to take one home as a pet I then reminded him that he and his friends may now be directly responsible for their demise!!! At that point he looked like he would commit suicide. After I handed him a pack of razor blades they carefully drove straight back to the exit, blowing their noses and wiping their eyes as they went….

My work here was done so I too moved on, straight to Nelson and Lower Glenelg National Park.

What a great Park, Brown Stringybark with dense health understorey. A great variety of birds and mammals just waiting for me.

As I was unsure how hot it would be there I spoilt myself and booked an airconditioned cabin at Kywong Caravan Park in Nelson.

This park backs onto the National Park and a great variety of birds and animals come in including Red necked Wallaby,  Red Wattlebird, Little Wattlebird, Pied Currawong, Forest Raven, Crimson Rosella, White Browed Scrubwren, Superb Fairywren, Rufous Whistler and Rufous Bristlebird.

Pied Currawong

Eastern Grey Kangaroo

Red Necked Wallaby

Little Wattlebird

I spent the rest of Saturday and all of Sunday morning birding in the national park, mainly along Glenelg Drive near the turn off to Forest Camp and Battersbys.

At Battersbys I came across a bloke camping there who was chopping out a tree root with an axe! Now if that isnt bad enough, the reason he gave me was so that he could have a campfire that night! What the???  What part of conservation park.... totally fire ban.... 40C.....  does he not understand???

I wanted to put the axe through his skull..... so I walked off before I reacted..... he appeared to be a good example of what is produced when you have a lack of genetic diversity....

Anyway, back to birding  - I was rewarded with great views of Gang Gang Cockatoos, Crested Shrike-Tit (one of my all time favourite birds), Red Tailed Black Cockatoo, Olive Whistlers, Blue Winged Parrots, Forest Ravens and a good (albeit brief) view of Rufous Bristlebird who decided to cross the track right in front of me. I stupidly grabbed my binoculars instead of my camera. NOTE TO SELF – Always grab camera first!!!

Gang Gang Cockatoo

Crested Shrike-Tit

Blue Winged Parrot

Gang Gang Cockatoo

After the morning birding in Glenelg NP on Sunday I decided to drive to Portland to check out the Gannets. After driving to the roost near the smelter  I noticed that the roostery is protected by a tall electric fence and a really beautiful guard dog. The poor dog appeared to have no shade and I could not see any water either. I hope it had some somewhere!!

Guard Dog protecting Gannet Rookery

Point Danger
                                                                    Gannet Roostery

I climbed the steps to the observation deck which is connected to a large structure covered in signs reading Warning – Shooting Range….. What the???

I took a few photos and left before I was either mauled alive, electrocuted or shot.

Then it was time to eat. Portland Harbour produced  fish & chips, pineapple fritter, White Chocolate Magnum icecream with a large coke.  All the major food groups are represented.

Then the token drive along the dry dock watching gannets dive like missiles into the water.. and me nearly driving into it as well… watch where you are driving Kay, especially when you are on a jetty or in a salt field…

I then headed back to Mt Richmond National Park which has great views of a variety of honeyeaters, scrub and fairy wrens along with a few reptiles baking themselves on the sandy tracks.

Back to Lower Glenelg where I continued birding until sundown.

I spent the evening enjoying a cool shower and recharging my iphone, ipod, netbook and both cameras. Thank goodness the cabin had a lot of power points. How did I ever survive without all my gadgets?

This morning up at 5am and at Telford Scrub at 6.30am armed with Iced Coffee.

I wanted better photos of the Satin Flycatchers who have been hanging around there for a couple of months.

After photographing many species including white naped & white eared honeyeaters, Eastern Spinebills and Eastern Yellow Robins bathing at the water trough I walked in a bit further.  

White Naped Honeyeater

On hearing the flycatcher's raspy call I found both male and female Flycatcher flying back on forth to the same branch. On closer inspection I then realised there was a tiny nest with 3 nestlings. One juvenile appeared slightly more developed and that one was able to flutter to close twigs.

Satin Flycatcher feeding the young

Female Satin Flycatcher

I watched for about an hour as the male chased away unwanted visiting birds and Mum and Dad constantly brought food to the young. It was priceless to watch. AWESOME!

While in this quiet beautiful place I heard something rustling toward me from the undergrowth. It got louder and louder. I expected it to be a Koala as it sounded so large. Then an Echidna appeared right at my feet! It seemed to not notice that I was there and continued past without a care in the world. Nice!

Feeling very happy with my 3 days of birding I then drove back to Adelaide watching the thermometer in my 4WD tell me that from Telford Scrub being 26C, became Keith 36C, Coomandook 44C …

I remembered to give thanks for my air-conditioner and forced myself  not to turn around and head back to Nelson!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Yorke Peninsula Birding Weekend

I decided to get away this weekend so I phoned my friend Teresa and invited her to join me for a birding weekend on the Yorke Peninsula.  I arranged to meet up with my friend Colin Rogers at the Cheetham Saltfields in Price on Saturday morning so the 3 of us could spend the day together.

On the way to Price we called into Port Arthur and found 38 Eastern Curlew who flew past us looking for an area in the Mangroves to land. Teresa and I have found 41 Eastern Curlew there in the past! They are an awesome bird!

Eastern Curlews

At Price the 3 of us had a very enjoyable 5 hrs driving around the Saltfields and found some good birds.

Please note: if you want to go in there you need to be a member of Birds SA and have completed an OHS induction before being allowed entry!!

Highlights at Price Saltfields included  Red Necked Avocets, Banded Stilts, Banded Lapwings

Red Necked Avocets

Banded Lapwing

We saw 11 Whimbrel with good views through the scope but difficult to photograph - simply too far away!

There were lots of waders including hundreds of Red Knots, Curlew Sandpipers and Godwits.

Young Banded Stilt with broken wing

Juvenile Black-Winged Stilt


Red Capped Plover

Grey Plover


Colin also found a Terek’s Sandpiper and called me over but it moved behind vegetation and refused to step back out so I dipped on that one! BUGGER!!!

We then went to the local hotel for lunch before checking the local paddock where last year we had Oriental Plovers, but sadly this year it has a crop on it! No sign of the Plovers anywhere nearby.

Colin the went off on his own and Teresa and I headed on to Port Giles, Edithburgh & Sturt Bay.

Then onto Gleesons Landing.
View from Gleesons Landing

We had great views of 3 Eastern Reef Egrets.

Eastern Reef Egret

Also found an Osprey feeding, 2 Hooded Plovers and 7 Rock Parrots.

Hood Plover

Rock Parrot

Rock Parrot

Rock Parrots

Gleesons Landing is a lovely place but sadly so many people camp there that it is busier than a Westfield Shopping Mall!!! That ruins the recreational experience for me - but, its great for birding and snorkelling!

Onto scenic Port Turton. Postcard perfect.

Brilliant for snorkelling. The last time I was there was during my Undergraduate Marine Biology studies so I’d forgotten just how beautiful it is! Stunning! So is Hardwicke Bay! Seriously you need to go and check these places out for yourself!

Pacific Gull

I had planned to try for Lesser Sand Plover at Thompsons Beach on the way home but the tide was so far out I think I literally could have driven across from Ardrossen to Thompsons beach on the sand! So, there goes that idea - no Sand Plovers for me today…

A relaxing and fun weekend with some great views of some gorgeous birds!