We returned from a foray into SA yesterday. Best site- the Arid Lands
Botanic Garden just north of Port Augusta at the start of the Stuart
Highway. It is adjacent to PA s northernmost new suburb.Elegant Parrot,
Blue-winged Parrot,Pallid and Blackeared cuckoos, Rufous Field-wrens(many),
Variegated and many many White-winged Fairy Wrens, Spiny-cheeked
Honeyeaters,Yellow-throated miners,Singing Honeyeaters ++, White-plumed
honeyeaters, White-fronted Chats, Red -capped Robin, WB Babbler, Chirruping
Wedgebills,Black-faced Woodswallows and much much more. White-backed
Swallows nesting in a bank over the Northern fence and trainline, Brown
Songlarks skylarking all over the Eastern part, Stubble Quail in large (>10)
numbers,Kestrels mating, possibly nesting in the roof of the nice new
centre/cafe/shop. Seen on the adjacent estuary from Flinders Redbanks
lookout ; a dancing Little Egret, not on the list available at the shop.
We missed Redthroat, a resident..
The Elegant was in dunes below the Highway, in a dead tree, seen from all
angles by 60X kowapower. The Blue-winged flushed near the south fence, very
dark blue back, rapid flight, with loud metallic alarm calls, flushed a
second time and flew back over our heads to the East..
The Thomas and Thomas site in Port Lincoln NP was good for Western Whipbird,
great views if you can hear the male (? + female- sometimes), creep very
slowly to about 20m from where last heard and just stand still. The male
works in one general direction through the undergrowth, invisible, sometimes
making growling noises, and every ten to fifteen minutes flies up into a
more or less exposed perch to sing. Early morn and late afternoon were good
last Monday. Views were virtually perfect.
Southern Scrub-robin also easily seen here, Western Yellow Robin in the
taller mallee south of the road. Fantailed and Shining Bronze Cuckoos vocal
and visible,Blue-breasted Fairy Wrens, Diamond Firetailed Finches , Shy
Heathwrens, New Holland Honeyeaters like flies, Wedgetailed Eagles, one dead
below th powerline junction, probably electrocuted by closely spaced
uninsulated wires. A Brown Goshawk came through . The local White-browed
Scrubwren was common, much more brightly marked than our local Sydney
Coffin Bay National Park had over a hundred Rock Parrots flying back and
forth to the nearby offshore islands, some tame and inquisitive. Groups
feeding on the top of shrubs would allow close approach, and flutter from
bush to bush until stuffed with seed, then fly back to to the island. Seen
in the valley immediately north of the Avoid Point lookout. Also
Purplegaped and Tawny-crowned Honeyeaters, Shy Heathwrens.
Coffin Bay itself has great oysters. The National Park needs 4wd for deep
access, but the 2wd accessible eastern part was a botanists delight when we
were there last week, the limestone sand dunes were covered with flowering
plants, and honeyeaters.
Between Coffin Bay and Port Lincoln is Big Swamp- 6 Cape Barren Geese on the
southern shore visible courtesy of kowapowa again.
Banded Stilts still visible from the causeway on the highway going south
from Port Augusta, a vandalised hide on the right going south just before
Port Pirie Wetlands next to the town oval had Australian Crake ,Buff-banded
Rail, Reedwarbler,50 Blacktailed Native Hens,>1000 Silver Gulls, 6 Whiskered
Terns, 2 Caspian Terns,10 Little Black Cormorants, Black Ducks, Grey Teal,
Hybrid Mallard/ Black Duck, Coot, Little Grebe, Hoary-Headed Grebe and
others.These wetlands are literally a stones throw from a shopping centre on
the other side of the road.