Thursday, July 26, 2018

Lataringa Wetlands




My husband Don is a keen observer of birds and has been ever since he was a small boy, living on the family farm at Williamstown in the forties and fifties. These days he is a sedentary observer, having suffered a number of health issues - he spends hours sitting on our front veranda observing the antics of the many birds that share our garden. Although I am the photographer, it is his knowledge and interest that gets me going and results in the photos I post on my Blog.

Recently he has been feeling a lot better and we have ventured further afield, visiting local bird habitats. We were very disappointed a couple of weeks back when we visited the Monarto Conservation Park and saw no birds at all  - we will go back in Spring. Midwinter is probably not the ideal time to visit.

So imagine our excitement as we were driving home past the Ferries MacDonald Conservation Park when a Mallee Fowl ran across the road in front of the car. As Don said, "I nearly wet myself. I am nearly 80 and that is the first one I have seen." I had my camera on my lap, but was so astonished that I didn't have a chance to even lift it a fraction. These birds are very shy and retiring and are rarely seen by anyone, let alone two novice birders just driving home.

Last week we visited the Lataringa Wetlands at Mount Barker. This wetlands has been established with recycled water, planted with local plant species and open to the public for walking and cycling. It is a gentle, level walk with a good sealed path, skirting the lakes and is about 1.2 kms long. The lakes are home to many species birds, reptiles and small mammals. Certainly worth a visit if you are in the area..

Royal Spoonbills with the black beaks and Yellow-billed Spoonbills.

Australian White Ibis 

White-necked Heron
Chestnut Teal

Masked Lapwing
Black-fronted Dotterel (not a clear shot)
Hoary-headed Grebe
Pink-eared Duck

These next two shots were interesting. Out in the middle of the lake we came across a large group of mixed birds, all swimming in a tight huddle, feeding on something close to the surface. At one stage they were startled and moved apart quickly, but within a few seconds they were back together again. Obviously there was something in that spot, but we have no idea what.


Front left are 3 Australasian Shovelers


Hmm.  Wonder what is for dinner there.

Liz Needle

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Melbourne Visit


As I mentioned last week, I was recently lucky enough to visit my cousins in Melbourne and as keen birdwatchers, I was taken to some of their favourite sites. 

Whenever they visit us here in the Adelaide Hills, they comment how lucky we are to have so many birds visit our garden, but after a few days with them, the boot was on the other foot. I was really envious about their proximity to so many lovely conservation areas in the nearby suburbs. I guess we are all lucky that there is so much more being done to preserve natural habitats and to provide man-made ones as well.

The first shot was taken at Mornington. I liked the identical poses of the Crested tern.  Obviously this species cannot read!!!


A walk along the coast near Mentone Beach gave us this pair of Red Wattle birds in a dead tree.


And in the same area this very pretty Fairy Wren in full plumage.



This little fellow is a Bell Miner - a honeyeater. We don't get this bird in South Australia so I was completely captivated when walking through a section of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens to hear the lovely chiming sound coming from all around me. I eventually got this not so good photo. I was quite disappointed to learn that Bell Miners are considered a bit of a pest in Victoria as they tend to take over areas. I think I could put up with their song if they lived in my area.




This little Dusky Moorhen was the only one left in the nest - the other more adventurous ones were swimming with Mum.


Purple Swamphens are very common, almost to the point of being a nuisance in parks, but I loved these two shots of mothers and sons/daughters

.




And my most exciting moment of the trip was to get a shot of a Golden Whistler - my first time to catch one still enough to get a reasonable photo.



Liz Needle

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Thursday, June 28, 2018

By the Seaside


Living as we do in the Adelaide Hills, we don't get to the seaside very often - and rarely with a chance to go birding. So, it was with great delight that I was taken by my birding cousins to Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary on a recent trip to Melbourne.

John and Margaret are keen birders and were more than happy to drive me around Melbourne to visit some of the many suburban birdwatching areas - and Melbourne has a wealth of them. Ricketts Point was especially good because I got a chance to snap seabirds for a change. These are all pretty common sights for those of you who live near the coast, but a real treat for me.

Silver Gulls and a pair of Little Pied Cormorants

Crested Tern

I am familiar with Black Swan. We get them on the waterways in the hills, but I did not realise they were also found on the coast.


The White-faced Heron is one of our visitors and has actually nested on our property, but again I did not think of them as a coastal bird.




Australian Pelican


And finally, a bit of everything.





Liz Needle

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

"Murray Magpies" in the Garden


A common bird in Australia is the Magpie-lark  -  or as it is commonly called in South Australia, the Murray Magpie. We don't see a lot of them around our garden, probably as the Australian Magpies and the Grey Currawongs are more aggressive. In fact so rarely do we see them that I do not have any images of them.

 So it was with great pleasure and some excitement  that I discovered a nest in our oak tree last Spring and was able to snap the parents feeding the nestlings. They were well hidden and very protective , so the photo was taken from my veranda, a safe distance for all concerned.








We  watched them daily for a couple of weeks until the little ones were able to fly and then they were gone!!



We haven't seen them since, but we are hoping that they may return in Spring again.

Liz Needle

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Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Grey Fantails



For several years we had Grey Fantails nesting in the garden and at the time I posted photos. Quite a while back now, so I will put some up again.









Then they disappeared and we didn't see them around - perhaps my camera scared them off!  This year, much to our delight w have had severaL sightings and although they are rather elusive and never keep still, I have been lucky enough to get some reasonable shots.




And my favourite shots of these pretty little birds.  The fellow with the brown colouring is a juvenile. Doesn't stop him flirting though.











Liz Needle

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Eastern Spinebill


One of my absolute favourites among our garden visitors is the pretty little Eastern Spinebill - Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris - a very long name for a shy little honeyeater. They are busy feeders, loving the native nectar flowers like grevillea and Epacris, but in our garden preferring the long tubular fuchsias and salvias.

We love watching them hanging upside down feeding from the drooping fuchsias or hovering like humming birds as they feed. In spring they become quite bold, collecting cobwebs from the eaves of our veranda just a couple of metres from where we sit.












Liz Needle

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Monday, May 21, 2018

Colour in the Garden


At the moment there is not a lot of colour in the garden - autumn leaves were all but absent as we had that late dry, warm summer/autumn and no frosts to bring out the leaf colour. Very disappointing as I love the autumn color. Alas, the leaves just fell off the trees and we got the usual mess without the glorious colour. At least we are now getting the rain we needed.

But, we are getting colour in the garden as you can see from the photos. These beautiful birds are Rosellas. The one we get here in Adelaide is appropriately called the 'Adelaide Rosella' and is a subspecies of the Crimson Rosella from the Eastern states.

They come in a range of colours from yellowish to orange to red and all shades in between, which makes them far more interesting than the Crimson  Rosella. The young ones are born green and gradually get their colours as they mature.














Liz Needle

linking with

Our World Tuesday

Wild Bird Wednesday. If you pop over to this link you will find a great post on the Crimson Rosella.