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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Wild Bird Wednesday

Nature Notes

Camera Critters

Saturday Critters