Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

April 4, 2016

South-east South Australia

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Kingston to Mount Gambier.

I am still in South Australia heading east towards Victoria. I saw this Echidna come out of the bush at the conservation park at Kingston. I think someone from the house in front had left the bucket of water for the Echidna.

Echidna
Short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus)

Here is a side-on shot showing the snout.

Echidna
Short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus)

The great Southern Ocean out the back of Beachport with a bit of swell running. It is wild.

Southern Ocean
Southern Ocean

And some limestone cliffs over the sea at Southend.

Southend
Southend

The Blue Lake crater, at Mount Gambier was formed about 4500 years ago. It was created by explosive eruptions depositing layers of ash. The Lake is flat bottomed with an average depth of 70 meters.

Blue Lake
Blue Lake

April 1, 2016

The Coorong

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South Australia

The Coorong is a long stretch of water from the mouth of the Murray River east towards Victoria.

Emu
Emu

Yellow-plumed Honeyeater
Yellow-plumed Honeyeater

The Coorong
The Coorong.

camp at Coorong
Selfie at Camp on Coorong

Narrung – South Australia

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Lake Alexandrina.

Narrung is at the entrance between two lakes – Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert. It is near the start of the Coorong and is a very nice place to stop for a while.

Silvereye
Silvereye

Banded Stilt
Banded Stilt

Water Rat
Water Rat

Elegant Parrot
Elegant Parrot

Elegant Parrot
Elegant Parrot

White-fronted Chat
White-fronted Chat

Black-shouldered Kite
Black-shouldered Kite

Narrung Ferry
Narrung Ferry

March 29, 2016

Fleurieu Peninsula

Filed under: General — Tags: — admin @ 3:55 am

South Australia.

I crossed the Murray River at Tailem Bend on the ferry.

ferry across the murray
Ferry across the Murray River.

After stopping the night at Langhorne Creek, I drove down to Goolwa. They have cruises to the Coorong from here. I am not sure if I will do it because they are a bit expensive. We shall see.

old wood boat
Old Wooden boat

There were a couple of old boats around the wharf at Goolwa. and a paddle-wheel steamer.

paddle-wheel steamer
Paddle-wheel steamer

The surf is flat, I was hoping to get photos of some decent surf but it is onshore slop. yugh..

April 27, 2015

Marla to NT

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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 Australian Birds

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 4:41 am

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

April 19, 2015

Coober Pedy

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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)

April 17, 2015

South of Coober Pedy

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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 Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 3:08 am

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

Outback South Australia

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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

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