Monday, October 17, 2011

Scarlet-chested Parrots, Black Honeyeater & some frisky Budgies

 The last four days have been a birding feast. The highlight of course being more Scarlet-chested Parrots but I'll start at the beginning....

Last Thursday night I went spotlighting with my friend Chris Steeles......

This was followed by a weekend camping at Gluepot Reserve where I spent some time catching up with some other birders that I know. My good mate Chris was there to attend a course so we spent the early mornings and evening birding together.  I also caught up 7 other birding mates throughout the weekend, most of whom had travelled from interstate to see the Scarlet-chested Parrots.

Gluepot was busy as there was a Painting course being held at the Homestead and 2 organised bird tours also arrived. At one stage there were 14 cars all in Taylorville at the same time. It looked like the CBD!!!

I met up with Chris at Gypsum Lunette Walk in Taylorville and we enjoyed a few hours walking. During the walk we were surrounded by Woodswallows and Budgies, there were thousands of them!!

                                                      The attraction was obvious

Romance was in the air....

                                                     One thing lead to another.....

Spring has definately sprung!

Someone is blushing

The Mallee is really flourishing and birds are everywhere!

                                                         Red-backed Kingfisher

Over the weekend we found 6 Scarlet-chested Parrots. The males are feeding as the females are in the hollows.

We flushed a Painted Button-quail, saw 6 Cockatiel and I was happy to find a Black Honeyeater.

A Red-lored Whistler came in to say hi along with a few Striated Grasswren before a Brown Falcon flew past carrying a Bearded Dragon and I just managed to take a blurry photo and it sped past.

We spent 2 hours spotlighting on Saturday night which was fun although it only resulted in a few bats, plenty of spiders and 2 Tawny Frogmouths.

Million Star accommodation with an almost full moon was very pleasant.

Sunday morning and it was back to the Scarlet-chested Parrots and a few other nice birds then a quick catch up with some interstate birding friends.

It was great to see Paul Dodd and Ruth Woodrow and their friend Tania

If you do visit Gluepot Reserve please remember that it is there to protect our fragile and threatened environment. The entry fee is used to keep the place running!!  Please make sure you go to the Homestead, sign in and PAY YOUR ENTRY FEE!

Sadly there have been some visitors who have failed to do this recently. This is very sad considering we birders should all be doing our bit to assist Gluepot who do such a wonderful job keeping this vital habitat safe for our birds!! Seriously, this fee is very small, only $5 per person for a day trip, so it is only fair to pay your way. 

Please do your bit to help. Donations to Gluepot are also welcome if you wish to do a bit more.

If you enjoy being able to spend time birding please help Gluepot Reserve to be able to continue to protect our cherished birds (and their habitat).... and no I have no connection with Gluepot, but really do care about what they are achieving on very little funds. They are a great example of conservation in action!

When I left Gluepot yesterday I went via Morgan Conservation Park on my way home was rewarding with good views of a pair of Regent Parrots.


Monday, October 10, 2011

The Big O Australia's biggest Plastic The Barham OSTRICHES

Last Friday afternoon about 4.45pm I realized the weekend had arrived and I had no plans. I was in desperate need of a Lifer but the question was “where can I get one in a weekend”? There are none I can get around Adelaide now so I knew it was going to require a lot of driving.

It took me about 15 seconds to realize it was time to make the pilgrimage to Barham NSW to get The Ostriches. Yes, ok, I cam hear you from here, I KNOW they are plastics but hey, I was desperate ok….

No time for research so I flicked a desperate email to my friends Vik and Carl requesting vital info and thankfully my loyal friends who are used to me being so disorganised and a bit crazy didn't even blink as they came through obligingly with the required GPS co-ords – these duly printed I was ready….

I rushed home from work, scoffed a meal whilst packing my camera, bins, gps, sleeping bag, jacket, toothbrush and a pair of undies and I was on the road, leaving Adelaide at 6.30pm.

After sleeping in the mallee I arrived at  Lashbrook Rd in NSW about 7.30am Saturday morning. It was raining, foggy and I was a bit concerned. I needn’t have been as I was face to beak with my first Ostrich within 10 seconds of arriving! It was only about 100m from the turn off and close to the fence. I had to get out of the car to get a decent photo (well as decent as it could be in poor light, fog and rain) which spooked it but I got a few photos before it ran to the back of the field.

After a short drive along the road I found 5 other birds, some at the back of the field near trees, a few at the drain and a few in the next field near a large sprinkler.

After about 30 minutes the weather cleared and I was serenaded by a Brown Songlark.

I had planned to spend the day looking for these birds so was suddenly at a loss as to where to go. I had not researched the area, had no map and did not have my trusty copy of T & T to thumb through so decided to head to Barmah State Park and Gulpa Creek as I figured they would be close by. Typing the location into my trusty VMS I was back on the road being told off by an electronic voice every time I took a wrong turn.

I spent the rest of Saturday & part of Sunday sliding around on dry weather only roads in the rain and thoroughly enjoying myself around Gulpa Creek.

Sacred Kinfisher

Nankeen Night-heron

Little Grassbird

Azure Kingfisher

The Long-billed Corellas and Sulphur-crested Cockatoos are an amazing sight feeding in their hundreds along the roadsides.

The Reedbed Birdhide at Gulpa Creek is excellent and I spent a few hours enjoying a pair of Great-crested Grebes who simply refused to come close enough for photos. Sadly not one Bittern was heard.

Sunday it was raining for most of the morning so gave up and started heading back to Adelaide. I stopped for a while at Kerang Lakes, Gunbower Island and Nyall State Park. 

Mistletoebird at Nyah State Forest

Purple Swamphens were everywhere at Kerang Lakes

I was so tired that it was getting dangerous driving in that condition so I booked into a Motel and slept for 12 hours.

A crazy weekend but excellent fun and I really enjoyed seeing Austalia’s biggest plastic!!

Some plastics are simply worth driving 1650km for!!