Spent 3 weeks in Adelaide this month, mainly to attend Adelaide Festival
events, but also to visit family and old friends. Couldn't resist the
temptation to visit some old birding sites (we left in 1993), to check-out some
new ones, and to hopefully add some lifers viz.Scarlet-chested Parrot,
Black-eared Miner, and (ahem,ahem) Barbary Dove.
In our 20 days there we managed visits to Laratinga Wetlands (Mt Barker),
Greenfields Wetlands (Mawson Lakes),Whites Rd wetlands (Parafield Gardens),
Monarto Zoo, Charleston CP, Goolwa STW wetlands, the Murray Mouth lookout on
Hindmarsh Island, Brookfield CP (Blanchetown), Hart's Lagoon (Waikerie),
Gluepot Reserve, St Kilda saltfields, as well as rambles along Second Creek
from our host's house in Erindale, and incidental suburban birding.
I've not listed all birds or sites, but instead highlighted those sites and
species which gave most pleasure and interest to a visiting Queenslander,
remembering I started birding in Adelaide in 1988 and had left in 1993 still
very much a novice, and with only occasional brief visits since.
Laratinga Wetlands (2/3) was a new site and proved to be a delight, with a late
morning visit still managing to elicit 39 species, best of which included
Spotted Crake running along a water-bound log, both Little Grassbird and Reed
Warbler, Dusky Woodswallow, plenty of duck, and a heard Horsfield's
Equally impressive were the main Greenfield Wetlands (8/3) were we took the
circuit walk. We managed brief glimpses of a Spotless Crake, a single
Black-tailed Native Hen opposite the cafe, Rufous Night Heron, both small
grebes, and perched views of an adult Collared Sparrowhawk, thanks to the sharp
eyes of beginning birder Michael. After lunch we moved onto the White's Road
wetlands, another new site for me, where there were both Red-kneed &
Black-fronted Dotterel, heaps of Chestnut Teal, Royal Spoonbill, and a pair of
Pink-eared Duck. We only explored the area around the main pond.
A day trip to the Monarto Zoo (9/3) was next where we managed Red-capped and
Hooded Robin on a walk between enclosures, as well as picking-up our first
Weebill, and Singing and Spiny-cheeked H/E.
A brief walk through Charleston CP (12/3,a favourite old site) didn't rekindle
any memories but did reacquaint me with Buff-rumped Thornbill, Grey Currawong
and White-winged Chough.
Next day (13/3) we headed off to Goolwa where our first stop was the STW, last
visited 20 years ago. No longer able to observe from the dirt hill on the
southern edge, we found the overflow wetland area on the eastern side and had a
pleasant wander looking at the various waterfowl. White-fronted Chat made their
first appearance, as did Goldfinch, and we observed 50+ Pelican soaring high to
the north with a Wedge-tailed Eagle in their midst. Over by the horse paddock,
a soft twittering altered us to a Musk Lorikeet quietly perched at eye-level,
affording us terrific views of this usually active bird. Kestrel and Whistling
Kite were also present. The highlight of the day though was a visit to the
Murray Mouth Lookout on Hindmarsh Island were there were birds in their
thousands, mainly Pelican, Silver Gull ,Crested Tern and cormorants, but we did
see 3 Cape Barren Geese , single Common Greenshank and Marsh Sandpiper, and
Pied Oystercatcher. Oh for a 'scope!! A stop at the hide o
n the way to the Barrages gave us close views of the normal suspects.
A lull in Festival events gave the opportunity to head into the Riverland. We
spent 4 hours in Brookfield CP(14/5), another favourite near-Adelaide site, and
enjoyed seeing again birds such as Southern Whiteface, Brown Treecreeper,
Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, Blue Bonnet, Common Bronzewing. Masked and
White-browed Woodswallows were in abundance, and we got good views of
Brown-headed H/E, an Inland Thornbill ,Mallee Ringneck and a small party of
White-browed Babbler. On to Waikerie for more waterbirds on Hart's Lagoon.
Next day an early morning start into Gluepot(15/3), guided by Helga, with the
Scarlet-chested Parrot and Black-eared Miner as lifer targets. It was hard not
to be distracted by frequent sightings of Chestnut Quail-thrush and at one
stage we had four interacting in full view in the middle of the road (a total
of 10 were seen during our visit). We commenced the parrot search along track 8
and after 40 minutes were rewarded with stunning views of an adult male,
perched in a dead tree only 15 metres from our parked vehicle. As the SCP fly
to the ground, it was joined by another adult male, and we quietly tracked
these two for a few minutes through the mallee before losing them. Although we
were able to locate two small groups of miners over the next hour , they
ultimately proved to be Yellow-throated after difficult close examination.
Bonus birds were Shy Heathwren, White-browed Treecreeper, Crested Bellbird,
White-fronted H/E and a heard Southern Scrub-robin. All too soon our li
mited Gluepot time was up. I was more than happy with our 40 species in half a
day, and very pleased to have scored the SCP.
I had fond memories of SAOA bus trips into the St Kilda saltfields in the early
1990's, and was therefore grateful to make another visit(19/3), organised and
guided by Trevor Cowie of BirdsSA. What impressed most, apart from the sheer
number of birds, was White-winged Fairy-wren, a Musk Duck, all three grebes,
Swamp Harrier, Marsh and Curlew Sandpiper, Red-necked Avocet (my favourite
wader), and Fairy Tern. Trevor saved the best for last however,with many
thousands of Banded Stilt in the last three ponds as we exited the saltfields
with 46 species in under 3 hours.
Incidental sightings around Adelaide included Eastern Spinebill at Second
Creek, Erindale, a flock of Long-billed Corella feeding on the ground at Waite
Oval, Netherby, a Peregrine Falcon on the north face of a church tower
(diagonally opposite a building branded "Peregrine Corporation") on the Norwood
Parade/Portrush Rd intersection, with Rock Doves just around the corner on the
east face , hearing Southern Boobook at night in Erindale, and a juv.Pacific
Gull at St Kilda beach.
We listed a total of 144 species in our 3 week stay, with 101 within 80km of
Adelaide, and 75 in our two days in the Riverland. The trip was highly
successful, combining cultural events, old and dear friends, family and birding.
Russ Lamb, Maleny,SEQ
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