Bird 507

22 04 2011

Just a quick note to say that bird 507 has been seen and photographed – a party of 12 Australian Painted Snipe at the location posted on the NSW birdline earlier in the week by Matt Weeks.

Best start to an Easter long weekend ever!

Back in Sydney tomorrow arvo, so more details and pictures then. I’ll also post something to birdline when I get back.


Bird 505 & 506

15 04 2011

Comrades… Writing to you from Kangaroo Island, which is simultaneously one of the more expensive, and awesome places I’ve been to. Overly touristy in some places, yet secluded and isolated in others, it’s an exercise in contrast. It’s also given me birds 505 (Purple-gaped Honeyeater) and 506 (Mallee Whipbird – or Western Whipbird depending on your taxonomy). The other super awesome part of KI is that there’s Hooded Plover everywhere – I’ve got photos (I’m gonna stop saying “as soon ad I get Internet access” and just say “when I get back to Sydney”) of adult and juvenile birds – something I’ve struggled with with the only nearby birds bein at Ulladulla and below for me.

Th PgH is quite common – we’ve seen dozens of them, although I’ve only managed to get photos at Sandy Creek within Flinders Chase NP. The whipbird involved far, far more effort. I had 4 sites to look at initially, with a couple more backup sites, and even still didn’t expect to nail it. Driving down Cape de Coudiec road towards Admiral Arch, I’ve seen reports of people seeing them flying across the road early in the morning (I’ve seen similar behavior wig the much more readily observable Eastern Whipbird), and th first few Brush Bronzewing that flushed got the heart going. And then I saw something that was pretty bloody good for one. It was a very different shape, and scuttled rather than flew across the road. Not tickable, but exciting nonetheless. Anyway – I spent the next 3 and a bit hours walkin through the Heath from Cape de Coudiec to Remarkable Rocks without any joy whatsoever, and was walking back to the car at Remarkable Rocks planning an afternoon assault on Cape Borda, when I heard a whipbird call, right behind he toilet block at Remarkable Rocks. The I saw one as it saw me, and for 0.25 seconds, our eyes locked, and I felt the joy of bird 506 as it dropped down from the exposed(ish) branch, into the dense Heath and then it called again, off and on, for the next 4 minutes before getting the shits with me trying to get him/her to pop back out. Happy days!

Anyway – currently in American River, off to Murray Lagoon to look for Indian Peafowl early tomorrow, and then the next day we start our trek through SE SA, where I’ll be looking for Orange-bellied Parrots for a few days (they’ve been reported in the area – first OBPs of the season apparently!). Although before all that we’re still trying for the local race of Glossy Black-cockatoo – no joy so far though.

Anyhoo – happy birding,and I’ll see some of you in about 9 days time when we get half to


Adelaide, or halfway there

10 04 2011

Hello readers!

well we ventured into parts of SA we’ve never been to, drove down many sketchy 4wd tracks in our un-4wd, and came back unscathed. Have even managed to get Internet access here in Adelaide, some photos have been processed and will be uploaded later today, so all is well.

When I last posted we were at Port Augusta, which, apart from the Arid Lands Botanic Gardens, is a lovely place to drive through. Not much else there really, apart from supermarkets and petrol stations to stock up on supplies with.

I headed down to Whyalla early the next day to try for Thick-billed Grasswren, but only succeeded in finding a breeding plumaged Common Greenshank and Slender-billed Thornbill – the Thornbill putting me on 499!! Unfortunately the stooging around trying to find the spot for the Grasswren cost me all the time I had set aside for getting to Lake Gillies where I had other birds lined up, so it was back to Port Augusta and another crack at the wedgebill and redthroat.

And both were found – Wooo! Chirruping Wedgebill now has spot 500 on my list and Redthroat has spot 501. Hooray!

Anyway – we headed off to the Flinders Ranges after that, and it’s an incredible place. We walked many walks, took many photos, looked at many Indigenous engravings and paintings (check my flickr later today for an example) and generally had an awesome time until yesterday when the change kicked in and it went cold and wet.

I managed to get bird 502, Short-tailed Grasswren after about 3 hours of walking up and down that bloody hill (Stokes Hill) and all was, again, well in the world. there were also more reptiles to be had, including a stunning 2+meter western brown snake crossing the road, and (possibly 2, although it could be the same species with different colouring/patterning) geckos that I’m having a hard time identifying. The birding highlight would have to have been a close up with a Wedge-tailed Eagle that was feeding on fresh fox roadkill – photo to come shortly. Also tried my hand at some landscape photography, unfortunately the clouds were against me in the exapmle I’ll upload later on, but hopefully you’ll get the idea.

And with that, we came to Adelaide. Today we’re off to look at the pandas at the zoo, and the I’m off to tick off Barbary Dove in the northern suburbs. In a day or two, we’re off to Kangaroo Island for 4 days, and then the slow trip back to Sydney and reality begins. That said, we’ve only just hit he halfway point, so I shouldn’t dwell on such things.

Until then, there’s about 4-5 more lifers to be had, and plenty to do- we’ve still got about 4000km, Kangaroo Island and the Grampians, another pass through the Riverina and my annual visit to Chiltern to go! I reckon there’s at least another 50-ish birds to see, and 4-5000 photos to take yet.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to complain that the autocorrect/ suggested spelling on the iPhone is rubbish.

Lizards, lifers, and early autumn heatwaves

6 04 2011

I once met a person on the Internet, and they were from South Australia. Not that you know it, given how difficult it is to get free/cheap access here. When I win lotto and don’t work any more, im going to open cheap Internet joints in South Australia. I can only assume that the grey nomad massive dont care for the internet, so no-body has tried it yet.

Aaaaaanyway – onto the trip. Currently in a somewhat warm Port Augusta – dropped in at Telowie Gorge on the way where bird 498 was spied – Elegant Parrot. Also picked up some great shots of Grey-fronted honeyeater having a bath. Went to arid lands botanical gardens, but in the heat and everything, aimed to find Redthroat or Chirruping wedgebill, but they were sheltering and not showing in the heat. Oh well. Off to Whyalla and Lake Gilles tomorrow morning before heading up to Flinders Ranges, and at some stage inthe next couple of days I’ll crack the 500. Wooo!

Lizards! Telowie gorge is a beautiful spot. It’s also the most reptilian place we’ve visited yet. 1 snake (no idea what, but it was a smaller one that scampered off into the undergrowth) 2 types of skink (1 unidentified, 1 photographed and ID pending) and 3 dragons (all photographed) rivaled the bird diversity. All up I’m still entering bird records into the database, but we/I’ve seen probably 140+ so far, but we’ve seen 3 snakes, at least 12 types of skink, at least 10 dragons but no goannas – yet. It’s been a great trip for non-bird sightings. There’s also way more dragonflies and butterflies than I thought there’d be, but the dragonflies are more reluctant to perch. Butterflies are as reluctant as ever to pose for me 🙂

Anyway – at some point – perhaps when get home – I’ll have Internet access again and there’ll be photos.


Day 7, all is well in the world

4 04 2011

Still no interwebs, but jeez the trip has been fun!

Spent most of yesterday at Gluepot, and I can’t wait to get back there. The first 2 birds I saw were lifers, and it doesn’t get much better than that. I managed to get lost in the mallee (again), but I managed to find new birds then, so all is good. Not sure where im at in terms of numbers, it’s either 496 or 497 – I need to check the records to see if I have a record of Little Crow – I don’t recall having seen one, but it seems unusual to have not given where I’ve birded over the years.

Anyway – currently kickin back in Clare, a lovely town in the Clare Valley. Off to a couple of CP’s tomorrow which will hopefully make up for some closed ones we tried to visit today (closed for feral animal control). That said, the birding isn’t the focus for tomorrow, but it’ll be back in a large way in about 36 hours time!