wedge-tailed eagle

Raptors

Order: Falconiformes. Family: Accipitridae – hawks, eagles, buzzards, harriers, kites and Old World vultures Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus axillaris) White-bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) Swamp Harrier (Circus approximans) Whistling Kite (Haliastur sphenurus) Brahminy More »

hyottoko mask

Japanese Cultural Night #2

Saturday Night Live. Last night I went out to the second Japanese Cultural Night at the Ski-jo up the road(Furano, Hokkaido, Japan). The last one was a few weeks ago so I More »

ski furano

Furano Skiing 3

Skiing at the Furano Zone. I woke up this morning an looked out the window and there was about ten centimeters of fresh snow on the cars. Which was a very good More »

kobe

On to Hokkaido

Arrived in Furano. I am so tired. My eyelids are drooping and my shoulders feel like the weight of the world is upon them. My head feels heavy and I am almost More »

oasis hummingbird

Best Bird of the Year 2010

Best Bird of 2010 I saw a post on 10,000 birds about the best bird of 2010 so I was curious as to what defines the “best” bird of the year. I More »

Pacific Gull

2010 Birding Photography Retrospective

2010 Looking Back Well here we go again. Another year bites the dust. I can remember doing my Overview of 2009 just like it was yesterday. The new year of 2010 started More »

la hoya skiing

South America Overview

South America I flew into Buenos Aries from Sydney after a horrendous 14 hour flight. It took me a few days to readjust my body clock. Meanwhile I was really enjoying going More »

Snowy Egret

More Chicama Surf, Birds

More Surfing and Birds at Chicama, Peru. This morning after my surf at Chicama, I saw an Egret down on the rocks below the hostel. I had seen a couple of them More »

American Oystercatcher

El Chaco, Paracas NP

El Chaco Birding. El chaco is the town and port at the entrance to Paracas Nature Reserve in Southern Peru. This morning after I arrived here, I went for a walk along More »

Andean Lapwing

Bird of Lake Titicaca, Bolivia

Copacabana and Isla del Sol, Bolivia. The Puna Teal is found on the Andean altiplano. Its Chilean name is Pato puna. They have a black cap that extends to below the eyes. More »

Northern Territory

Desert Textures

Northern Territory Birding

Just after I filled up with petrol at Kulgera, I spotted a Brown Falcon sitting in a tree right by the road. So I had to stop and photograph him through the window of the car. It is funny how they let you photograph them from inside the car but as soon as you get out, they fly away.

Brown Falcon
Brown Falcon (Falco berigora)

Desert Oaks Rest Area was a great place to stay. Plenty of shade and plenty of room. The Northern Territory has heaps better rest areas than South Australia. The rest areas from Port Augusta on the Stuart Highway on the South Australian side are disgraceful.

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater

In the morning I saw this Dingo near the road. It was the first one I had seen in the wild.

Dingo
Dingo (Canis lupus)

Finke River is an ancient river – millions of years old. It occasionally has water in it. I have no idea when. It is so dry in the center.

Grey-crowned Babbler
Grey-crowned Babbler (Pomatostomus temporalis)

This French guy had a gecko on his head and showed me. So I took a photo of it.

gecko
Gecko

These Red-tailed Black-cockatoo were on the other side of the bridge.

Red-tailed Black-cockatoo
Red-tailed Black-cockatoo

Mount Polhill is last rest area before Alice Springs. About sixty kilometers south of Alice Springs. It is a very tiny little area that is full up tonight. First sight of Budgerigars here. There are big flocks of them flying around willy-nilly like they are crazy.

Budgerigar
Budgerigar

This Diamond Dove wanted a drink at the water tank.

Diamond Dove
Diamond Dove

Northern Territory bird list

Red-tailed Black-cockatoo
Grey-crowned Babbler
Weebill
Australian Ringneck – race zonarius (Port Lincoln Parrot)
Maybe Red-browed Pardalote ??
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater
Singing Honeyeater
Mulga Parrot
Willy Wagtail
Budgerigar
Diamond Dove
Zebra Finch
Red-capped Robin
Black-faced Woodswallow
Rufous Whistler
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
Grey-crowned Babbler (Pomatostomus temporalis)

Gecko
Dingo

zebra finch

Marla to NT

North of Marla birding

Heading north from Marla in South Australia, you start to get a few dry creeks with eucalypts in the sandy bottoms. First one was the Indulkana creek but it was the middle of the day and very hot so nothing much about just Singing Honeyeater and Willy Wagtail. I camped at Tarcoonyinna creek which is about 60k north of marla. There were lots of raptor nests in creek trees. In the morning I spotted a whole heap of birds near the road as I was driving out.

Southern Whiteface
Southern Whiteface

I thought these were Chestnut-breasted but it was just the reflection of the red dirt on their white chests. doh!

Black-faced Woodswallow
Black-faced Woodswallow

I had not really noticed the crests on these Galahs before but they are quite striking.

Galahs
Galah

I am not sure what this is. Probably a female Rufous Whistler or a Grey Shrike-thrush. I dunno.

ID needed
Not sure.

At the Northern Territory border there were lots of Zebra Finch hanging around the water tank.

Zebra Finch
Zebra Finch

This male Rufous Whistler is pretty much all I saw on a late afternoon walk along the border.

male Rufous Whistler
male Rufous Whistler (Pachycephala rufiventris)

Marla to NT bird list

Red-capped Robin
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
Grey Butcherbird
Galah
Weebill
Black-faced Woodswallow
Southern Whiteface
Crested Bellbird
White-winged Fairy-wren
White-plumed Honeyeater
Yellow-throated Miner
Zebra Finch
Rufous Whistler male (Pachycephala rufiventris)
Singing Honeyeater
Willy Wagtail

south australia

South Australian Birds

Coober Pedy to Marla

The first stop coming north from Coober Pedy was Poutnoura. I went across the road to the train line and found a few Hooded Robin.

Hooded Robin
Hooded Robin (Melanodryas cucullata)

And there is starting to get a few Zebra Finch. Later they will be everywhere the further north I go.

Zebra Finch
Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata).

Then another tick with the Redthroat.

Redthroat
Redthroat (Pyrrholaemus brunneus)

Just before I left, an Australian Pipit threw itself in front of my lens so I had to take its photo. It was just right there in front of my car, stopping me from going anywhere.

Australian Pipit
Australian Pipit (Anthus australis)

I stopped at the caravan park at Marla for a night. Right next to the truck stop. What a nightmare. It is not so nice trying to sleep with a truck motor going off in your ear! But I finally saw the zonarius race of the Australian Ringneck.

Port Lincoln Parrot
Australian Ringneck (Barnardius zonarius zonarius) (Port Lincoln Parrot)

They were eating some of the gumnuts in the caravan park.

Port Lincoln Parrot
Australian Ringneck (Barnardius zonarius zonarius)

I finally got some decent shots of the Black Kite.

Black Kite
Black Kite (Milvus migrans)

And this Nankeen Kestrel came flying past with a little snake or something.

Nankeen Kestrel
Nankeen Kestrel

And landed on a water tower and proceeded to eat it.

Nankeen Kestrel
Nankeen Kestrel

South Australian bird list

Zebra Finch
crested pgeon
Hooded robin
Galah
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
Black-faced Woodswallow
Crested Bellbird
Chestnut-rumped Thornbill
Redthroat (Pyrrholaemus brunneus)
Australian Pipit
Little Corella
black kite
Australian Ringneck (Barnardius zonarius zonarius) (Port Lincoln Parrot)
yellow-throaed Miner
Galah
Australasian Grebe
Grey Teal

mesa

Coober Pedy

The Breakaways and Dingo Fence.

I did a few walks around the memorial, about ten kilometers south of Coober Pedy. I never saw very much, just a mob of Zebra Finch, a few White-winged Fairy-wren, and a couple of mangy crows. And I walked for miles and miles and had a really good look.

White-winged Fairy-wren
White-winged Fairy-wren (Malurus leucopterus)

I went for a drive to The Breakaways, which is a bunch of mesas sticking up out of the desert. Sea levels were much higher 150 million years ago. As warmer climates unlock frozen water from the poles, so much of Central Australia lay under a vast inland sea. Much of the area is mudstone with a cap of harder rock. Sections of this are eroded and the softer mudstone is eroded leaving sections still sticking up out of the plains protected by their harder cap-rocks.

girl on mesa
Girl on mesa.

I found this Nankeen Kestrel sheltering in the lee shade of a mesa top. It was not going out in that hot mid-day sun.

Nankeen Kestrel
Nankeen Kestrel (Falco cenchroides)

Looking out on the plain to a distant mesa.

Mesa at Breakaways
A distant mesa.

And a panoramic shot of the landscape.

Breakaways pano
Panorama of The Breakaways.

Here is a typical mesa showing the hard cap-rock holding it all together.

Breakaways mesa
Typical mesa.

Further past the Breakaways was the dingo fence, which stretches for 5000 kilometers from Queensland to South Australia. It is supposed to keep the dingos out, to stop them eating all the sheep.

The Dingo Fence
The Dingo Fence

Back in town, I went to the Umoona Opal place which was underground. A lot of homes in Coober Pedy have been built underground, which is a great idea, keeping the temperature constantly around 25 degrees Celsius.

Underground museum
Umoona underground museum

There were a bunch of White-plumed Honeyeaters up the lookout near the Big Winch making a hell of a racket.

White-plumed Honeyeater
White-plumed Honeyeater (Lichenostomus pencillatus)

And last but not least a panoramic view of the town of Coober Pedy.

Coober Pedy
Coober Pedy town.

Coober Pedy bird list.

Australian Raven
White-plumed Honeyeater
Singing Honeyeater
Black-faced Woodswallow
Little Corella
Zebra Finch
White-winged Fairy-wren
Nankeen Kestrel (Falco cenchroides)

White-winged Fairy-wren

South of Coober Pedy

North of Glendambo

The red centre is beautiful. Luscious shades of red and green. I never expected it to be this amazing. I am just blown away by the sheer awesomeness of the landscape out here in the outback. Today it rained. Not much, just a little. I never thought I would feel rain out here. And it is so flat at times – just nothing but gibbers and small bushes for hundreds of kilometers.

Blue Bonnet
Blue Bonnet (Northiella haematogaster )

Mulga Wells in the morning gave me a mob of Blue Bonnets.

male eclipse White-winged Fairy-wren
White-winged Fairy-wren (Malurus leucopterus)

This male eclipse White-winged Fairy-wren was in some very dry gibber country. i had crossed over the road and found this scrawny male and a few females. As well as a few Red-capped Robins.

Wedge-tailed Eagle
Wedge-tailed Eagle (Aquila audax)

I saw this eagle over the road from the Mulga Wells North rest area, so I crept up on him. He takes off and circles me for a few times, having a good look at me and then takes off. Meanwhile, I have some great photos of a truly magnificent bird.

Red-capped Robin
Red-capped Robin (Petroica goodenovii)

150 kilometers south of Coober Pedy, bon bon station. There are lots of little pebbles that look like iron ore, same colour. There are so many flies. ugh.

Glendambo Bird List

Blue Bonnet (Northiella haematogaster )
Chestnut-rumped Thornbill
Red-capped Robin
Grey Fantail
White-winged Fairy-wren
Yellow-throated Miner
Galah
Australian Raven
Wedge-tailed Eagle

Lake Hart

Lake Hart Birding

Salt Lakes.

I kept wondering about the salt lakes that I was encountering as I went deeper north into outback South Australia. I could not work out where the salt came from because I was thousands of kilometers from the ocean. But I read that this area used to be an ocean millions of years ago and the sea levels lowered and left these salt lakes, which then evaporated.

Island Lagoon
Island Lagoon.

I finally got some decent shots of Black-faced Woodswallows. There were quite a few of them around Lake Hart. In the late afternoon some of them ventured out onto the salt pan.

Black-faced Woodswallow
Black-faced Woodswallow (Artamus cinereus)

And I also got some good shots of Major Mitchell’s Cockatoos. I had only got some average shots before so I am quite relieved to finally get something decent of them.

Major Mitchell's Cockatoo
Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo (Cacatua leadbeateri)

They were feasting on these native melons.

Major Mitchell's Cockatoo
Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo.

In the morning I went back along the lake shore. This man was collecting salt.

Man on salt lake
Man and Salt Lake.

This Yellow-throated Miner was feasting on some young mistletoe flowers. They were still green and when older go a rich red colour.

Yellow-throated Miner
Yellow-throated Miner (Manorina flavigula)

I thought these might be Ground Cuckoo-shrike but imagine my disappointment when they turned out to be of the White-bellied variety. From my book, it says they are out of range here.

White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike
White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike (Coracina papuensis)

And a nice desert flower. Quite a beautiful flower.

desert flower
Desert flower.

And to end the day off, some more Black-faced Woodswallows.

Black-faced Woodswallow
Black-faced Woodswallows

Lake Hart
Lake Hart.

Lake Hart Bird List

Black-faced Woodswallow
Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo
Wedge-tailed Eagle
Yellow-throated Miner (Manorina flavigula)
Blue Bonnet
White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike (Coracina papuensis)
Black-faced Woodswallow (Artamus cinereus)
Grey Butcherbird (Cracticus torquatus)
Zebra Finch
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater
Singing Honeyeater
White-backed Swallow

Crested Bellbird

Outback South Australia

North of Port Augusta.

Leaving Port Augusta, I stopped 30 kilometers north. I was not expecting much but was stunned as a pair of Mulga Parrot roosted near my camp and started munching on some bushes.

female Mulga Parrot
female Mulga Parrot (Psephotus varius)

The female is a lot duller than the male, with a red patch on the wings.

male Mulga Parrot
male Mulga Parrot

The male Mulga Parrot had a yellow patch on the wings with a yellow and red belly.

Red-capped Robin
Red-capped Robin (Petroica goodenovii)

In the morning I went over the other side of the train line because I could hear a few birds over there. This immature Red-capped Robin sat up posing for me quite nicely.

Crested Bellbird
Crested Bellbird (Oreoica gutturalis)

I was quite surprised to find a couple of Crested Bellbirds. They were not real shy and allowed me to get reasonably close for some good photos. The only other time I have seen them was at Cunnamulla in Queensland, years ago.

Outback Gibber Plain
A gibber plain
This area is a wide gibber plain with a light cover of chenpods. There are Western Myall (Acacia papyrocarpa) woodlands interspersed.

Wedge-tailed Eagle
Wedge-tailed Eagle (Aquila audax)

Later in the afternoon I spied an eagle in a tree after he had flown off from a kangaroo on the side of the road.

Bird List

Mulga Parrot (Psephotus varius)
crested bellbird (Oreoica gutturalis)
red-capped robin
Australian Magpie
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater
Singing Honeyeater
White-browed Babbler
Australian Ringneck
Wedge-tailed Eagle

Port Augusta

Arid Lands Botanic Garden 2

Port Augusta, South Australia.

Back again last night and this morning to the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden at Port Augusta. The weather had turned overcast in the afternoon, so there were not so many birds around. I did happen to photograph a White-winged Fairy-wren but it was so far away, it was pretty much out of focus and not usable.

Crimson Mallee
Crimson Mallee (Eucalyptus landsdowneana)

This morning was still overcast so it was a little bit quiet again. There were heaps of Tree Martins scooting around in the skies above me, as well as a few Welcome Swallows.

Tree Martin
Tree Martin (Hirundo nigricans)

I was fascinated by all the botanic exhibits and realized I know next to nothing about plants. There are about 100 different species of mallee tree/bush!

native grass
Native grasses.

I saw tthe Chirruping Wedgebill again.

Chirruping Wedgebill
Chirruping Wedgebill (Psophodes cristatus)

This kangaroo was having a drink near the hide.

kangaroo
Kangaroo.

I think this might be a Little Raven but I have no idea. The only thing I am going on is the range and the small hackles on the throat.

Little Raven ???
Little Raven ??

I spotted this Australian Pipit fly into the saltbush and followed him and seen a Black-faced Woodswallow sitting on the fence but it was too far away and hopelessly blurred. Not impressed. :( But I was standing on the same spot as Mathew Flinders did when he explored the head of Spencer Gulf. :)

Australian Pipit
Australian Pipit (Anthus australis)

The pipit formerly known as Richard.

Port Augusta bird list

White-winged Fairy-wren (Malurus leucopterus)
Tree Martin (Hirundo nigricans)
Chirruping Wedgebill (Psophodes cristatus)
Australian Pipit (Anthus australis)
Black-faced Woodswallow (Artamus cinereus)

Singing Honeyeater

Australian Arid Lands Botanic Park

Port Augusta Birding.

“Grab your hat and a bottle of water and head off on one of our scenic Garden Walks.” The Arid Lands Botanic Garden is a couple of kilometers north of Port Augusta at the head of Spencer Gulf in South Australia. It really is a remarkable park and well worth a visit if you are heading this way.

Ooldea Mallee
Ooldea Mallee (Eucalyptus youngiana)

This morning these Zebra Finch were just in front of the visitors centre enjoying the early sun. The males have the orange cheek and the females do without.

Zebra Finch
Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata)

I was stoked to get a photo of the Chirruping Wedgebill. It is a tick for me and is endemic to this area.

Chirruping Wedgebill
Chirruping Wedgebill (Psophodes cristatus)

And another tick with this one. He is having a feast on the Book Leaf Mallee (Eucalyptus Kruseana). They have a distinctive red dot just behind the eye.

White-fronted Honeyeater
White-fronted Honeyeater (Phylidonyris albifrons)

This little snake crawled across the track right in front of me. I have no idea if it is venomous or not but I suspect it might be.

snake - ID needed
snake

Port Augusta bird list

Red Wattlebird
Singing Honeyeater
White-plumed Honeyeater
White-fronted Honeyeater (Phylidonyris albifrons)
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater
Zebra Finch
White-browed Babbler
Welcome Swallow
Australian Magpie
Magpie-lark
Crested Pigeon
Chirruping Wedgebill (Psophodes cristatus)

Yellow-rumped Thornbill

Gulf Country Birds

Port Pirie to Port Augusta.

I left the fabulous library at Port Pirie and drove north a few kilometers and stayed the night at Nukunu Rest Area.

St Vincents Gulf
St Vincent’s Gulf

Nukunu Rest Area

There was some good bush along the highway and I seen some Singing Honeyeater (Lichenostomus virescens), Crested Pigeons and a mob of White-browed Babblers.

Singing Honeyeater
Singing Honeyeater (Lichenostomus virescens)

The moon was still up in the morning, nice and clear.

moon
The moon.

Mambray Creek.

Mambray Creek is 50 kilometers south of Port Augusta. I stopped at the rest area and walked along the road going to the gulf opposite the turn-off to Mount Remarkable National Park , which is 5k up the hill.

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater (Acanthagenys rufogularis)

This photo above shows why this bird got its name.

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater (Acanthagenys rufogularis)

And here is the Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater in full song. A very nice singer indeed.

Yellow-throated Miner
Yellow-throated Miner (Manorina flavigula)

There were heaps of Yellow-throated Miners hawking in the big old gum trees.

Tree Martin
Tree Martin (Hirundo nigricans)

And a bunch of Tree Martins hawking around.

Fan-tailed Cuckoo
Fan-tailed Cuckoo (Cacomantis flabelliformis)

There was a wide variety of birds along this short stretch of road. The old hollowed out gum trees might have had something to do with it.

Blue-winged Parrot
Blue-winged Parrot (Neophema chrysostoma)

Last but not least, the magnificent Blue-winged Parrot. I think this is the first time I have seen one of these. tick tick.

South Australia Bird List

Singing Honeyeater (Lichenostomus virescens)
Crested Pigeon
White-browed Babbler
Black-shouldered Kite
Whistling Kite
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater (Acanthagenys rufogularis)
House Sparrow
Blue-winged Parrot (Neophema chrysostoma)
Yellow-throated Miner (Manorina flavigula)
Tree Martin (Hirundo nigricans)
Yellow-rumped Thornbill (Acanthiza chrysorrhoa)
Fan-tailed Cuckoo (Cacomantis flabelliformis)
Australian Ringneck, race barnardi
Peaceful Dove