Sunday, November 27, 2011

Around The Lake (Guyatt)

G’day Folks,
I’ve been spending some time visiting the Sale Hospital in recent days and during the 2 hour rest time for patients in the middle of the day you can probably guess what I do. Well, the camera is always with me, 2 hours to kill, what did you expect?

A couple of Pelicans entertained me for a time as they swam and dipped in unison.

A little family of Brown Thornbills got agitated when I positioned myself beside their patch of scrub to get a better view of the lake.

Just around from the lake there is a backwater of Flooding Creek that is often worth a look. I sprung a White-necked Heron and two Nankeen Night Herons from the shoreline. These two species seem to be increasingly common in these parts this season. I only managed some acceptable shots of a White-faced Heron as it patrolled its own patch of Water Milfoil.

The adjacent reed beds are alive with Clamorous Reed Warblers in full voice at present.

OK, back to the patient – she will want to see some of the images on the camera too. Oh, I’d better go get her a tub of that fruit salad she likes from the cafĂ© – I think we’ll go halves.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Gluepot Diary #9

G’day All,
This was to be our final day at Gluepot. Up early as usual and we headed for a bit of different territory in the north west corner. The eremophilas in particular were a stand-out just at the start of the track, (a blog focusing on the plants is coming shortly).

Hadn’t been going long and a Gilbert’s Whistler entertained us for a bit, but wouldn’t let me get near enough for a picture. Red-capped Robins seemed to feature around here too. While perusing the plants, a small group of the little Southern Whitefaces were busily popping up to the tops of the shrubs to check the invaders, (yet another first tick for me). Had to be quick with the camera.

A Brown Treecreeper, (I think), flew in onto a rough-barked tree and posed briefly. If I’ve got the ID’s right this is the second of the two treecreepers we got for the reserve.

Next it was back to camp and reluctantly begin packing up. Jo and I wanted to visit slightly different places on the way out, so we agreed to rendezvous back at the Waikerie Caravan Park. On the way out a monitor and a mulga seemed to wish me a speedy return – you bet!

The track takes you through at least one adjoining property which means passing through several gates. Somewhere near the second gate, a small family of emus scurried across and were nearly hidden by the growth on the vegetation. 

Back at Waikerie I immediately crossed the road to Hart Lagoon and checked the ponds. Native Hens, stilts, ducks etc were all still there as well as the Black-fronted, (thanks Dunc), Red-kneed Dotterels and Spotted Crakes …


One more go at Banrock Station tomorrow on the start of the trip home.

 Gouldiae. be continued.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Heyfield Birdwatchers November 2011

G’day Birdwatchers,
This will be a birdwatchers blog without a picture of a bird!

Last Sunday, the HBWs travelled to the dizzying heights of Balook where Richard very kindly invited us to stroll the garden, (wow), on his property right across the road from the Tarra-Bulga NP. Some contrast to where Jo and I had just come back from.

The Mighty and the Minuscule

Richard has a magnificent property that he works extremely hard at maintaining its natural integrity. Favourite trees and shrubs are enclosed with guards while they are young, weeds are constantly eradicated, indigenous species are planted in re-vegetation plots, fences are constructed to keep out wombats and wallabies, etc.

We wandered the paths, up hill and down dale, through dense native forest to the tunes of Golden Whistlers, Eastern Whipbirds, Lyrebirds, Lewin’s Honeyeaters, various thornbills, wrens, Silvereyes, etc, without ever seeing them too often and if we did spot a bird it was for a very brief moment before it hopped a few millimeters to be behind another bit of foliage. 

Mostly we were looking up in awe at the majesty of the mighty Mountain Ash …


… and sometimes we were down on our knees to inspect the beautiful little Green Bird Orchids.

Mosses, lichens and fungi occupied every nook and cranny – of course I had the long bird lens on the camera.

We all had a wonderful day Richard, thanks, and if you will have us back, we’d love to return in the near future.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Summer Visitors

I was giving the wetlands crew a hand this morning - I knocked off from spraying on the golf course to give a hand .... spraying. Lot of it going around!

As usual I was trying to identify many of the bird calls I was hearing - BFCuckoo-shrike, Little Grassbird, etc and suddenly heard the 'dek, dek, dek', of the Sacred Kingfisher. I looked around for the nearest bare tree to see a pair surveying the spraying team. It was nearly smoko so I grabbed the camera and took a couple of shots.


Nice to have these sort of birds so close to town. Our wetlands are nearly surrounded with residential homes and light industry. The summer visitor list is getting quite long - all welcome though!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Gluepot Diary #8

G’day Readers,

Jo and I decided to give the location of the Scarlet-chested Parrot another go so once again we were up before dawn and away. Some may ask why we were putting in this kind of effort for one bird. Here’s an extract from Birds Australia …

This brilliantly coloured little parrot is an avicultutal favourite, but it is rare in the wild and has proved to be among the most difficult of all Australian birds to see in its natural habitat.

More than two decades ago Scarlet-chested Parrots on Gluepot Station were the target of an illegal trapping ring which was broken by the SA wildlife authorities. The parrots have been seen there in the last year, but with over 25,000 of them breeding in captivity, wild birds are now less of a temptation for trappers.

The parrots have been seen on Gluepot in a number of areas and are believed to breed in the more remote areas of the Reserve. In recent years they have appeared in greater numbers and were observed for up to three months, resulting in a great 'influx' of bird observers to Gluepot. Very little is known about the biology of this species. Altered fire regimes may have reduced the species' abundance, while greater availability of water in semi-arid rangelands may have favoured more water-dependent parrots to the disadvantage of the Scarlet-chested Parrot.

The Scarlet-chested Parrot is an unobtrusive bird that quietly feeds on the ground and goes mostly unnoticed unless flushed. Often the bird is found far from a water source, gaining its water from chewing arid plant species that store moisture.

Confession Time

We set off on the track moving slowly so as not to miss too much. I got distracted by chasing some woodswallows and budgies, (would you believe), having not seen a budgie in the wild before.

Jo went ahead and would wait as I caught up later – b… photographers. After about 15 minutes of scrub bashing for a budgie photo I looked around for signs of the walking track. I spotted a marker post in the distance and headed toward it expecting to have to turn left when I reached the track in order to catch up with Jo. It was extremely overcast – no sun at all. When I got to the track and turned left, the marker was pointing opposite to the direction I wanted to go. The markers were coloured differently on each side. The urge to ignore the marker and keep going left was very strong, however I turned right and moved on quickly to find Jo, but the feeling I was heading the wrong way persisted for some time. I had never been so disoriented in the bush before.


After walking halfway around the loop track we opted to return the way we’d come as this would take us back through the area where we’d heard the parrot had been seen. Jo got the first sighting and called me up. I swung the bins up to my eyes and there was a brilliant male scarlet chested – BIG tick! We stood in awe for a time and I suddenly realized I had a camera around my neck. The bird was a fair way off and we didn’t want to disturb it too much.

We watched the pair feeding on the ground for quite a while before the male eventually flew off. The female stayed and was a little more obliging for the camera. 

After lunch back at camp I headed to another nearby spot and got some sightings of Hooded Robins, Rainbow Bee-eaters and White-browed Treecreepers, but I was still a bit pumped about that parrot.


Slept well.
… to be continued.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pop's Puddles


This morning it poured – something like 50mm in a couple of hours. Of course I’d had the sprinklers on the greens last night! Oh well. Now the grass will bolt away again and the mowers will be going full time once the place dries out a little.

Late morning I jumped on the bike to check the usual gullies etc for wash outs and spotted a couple of rare visitors – a family of Nankeen Night Herons and a lone White-necked Heron.


The adult NNHeron had some breeding plumage still present too.


That heading of Pop’s puddles? Well, the grand kids stopped in for lunch on their way off on some holidays with their mum and dad. What do kids do when there are puddles? Of course, didn’t you?