birding-aus East of Adelaide 15-17 January 2000

To: "Birding-Aus" <>
Subject: birding-aus East of Adelaide 15-17 January 2000
From: "Irene" <>
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2000 08:59:30 +1100
Was in Adelaide late last week and took the opportunity to do an 800km circle 
to the east of Adelaide, comprising:  Port
Noarlunga, Willunga, Cape Jervis, Deep Creek National Park, Goolwa, Finniss 
River, Clayton, Milang, Tolderol Game Reserve,
Ferries McDonald Conservation Park, Walker Flat, Blanchetown, Brookfield 
Conservation Park, Morialta Conservation Park.  All
of this was new to me.
Highlights were:
Port Noarlunga around the Onkaparinga River shores yielded:
* 3 Common Greenshanks (gorgeous plumage)
* Australian Hobby which was hovering, then casually flew away, then flew past 
like a rocket.
* 1 Common Sandpiper
* 1 Red-kneed Dotterel
* 2 Spotted Crakes giving fabulous views as they foraged and bathed in a small 
pool among the sporrobola and marsh vegetation
next to the sewage works.  Being only 3 metres away, they filled the view of my 
Swarovski binoculars and I was able to have
great views of the orange arrowhead mark on the upper bill base, that great 
triangular tail poking up
5 km from Cape Jervis - 2 Wedge-tailed Eagles perched in a dead tree, and 1 
flying nearby
Deep Creek - Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos, first 5 flew over, then 3, all 
giving their presence away with their wailing
For anyone keen on orchids, this area had fertilised Microtis and Pterostylis, 
and 18 flowering Dipodium of two different
species (spotted labellum and striped labellum) putting on a great show.
* Clamorous Reed Warbler happily singing while it preened, revealing dark/black 
bases to its otherwise light coloured breast
* Musk Lorikeets
* Purple-crowned Lorikeets including 2 going in and out of the hollow metal 
cross bar of power poles.
* The barrage area was great with 10 Whiskered Terns making a zzzhhh sound, 40 
adult Welcome Swallows and 20 immatures (what
cuties), 12 Red-necked Stint, 100 Sharp-tailed Sandpipers (noted some 
"courting" behaviour here with one bird - larger than
the other, male? - fluffed up, spreading its wings and tail cocked, keenly 
following another bird).  Also saw Swamp Harriers
flying and dropping into the reeds.
Lunch at Victor Harbour and doing the traditional Aussie thing of feeding hot 
potato chips to the Silver Gulls.  Some big
brown and white bird flew nearby, grabbed my bins trying to get a good look at 
it - no need - it flew to me to share in the
chips.  An immature Pacific Gull.  What a big bird, double the body size of the 
gulls and giving loud deep croaks as it
scrambled for the chips.
Finniss River:  Clamorous Reed-Warbler adult feeding a chick in a nest.  The 
food was green and black bees or flies which
were buzzing around a flowering eucalypt.
Milang area and over 3 separate but close ponds near the edge of Lake 
* 30 + 25 + 3 Marsh Sandpipers
* Sharp-tailed Sandpipers 65 not only on the muddy edge of the water but 
amongst the marsh vegetation which looked disgusting
as the plants were draped with algae left behind when the water level dropped.
* 60 + 40 Whiskered Terns
* 20 Curlew Sandpiper
* 140 Cape Barren Goose
* 120 + 60 Australian Shelduck

Tolderol Game Reserve - what a mecca for the birds, and what a spectacle for 
the birdwatcher, thousands of birds most of
which were actively foraging even in 36 degree heat, including:
* 130 Black-winged Stilt
* 35 Pelican
* 40 Australian Shelduck
* 16 Glossy Ibis (the other 2 ibis species were also present, so all three 
together !!)
* 24 Marsh Sandpiper
* 800+600 Sharp-tailed Sandpiper
* 340 Whiskered Tern
* both Royal and Yellow-billed Spoonbills

For anyone keen on waders, you could spend the entire day searching among the 
birds, as the challenge becomes to find
something different amongst them all, and I found 2 Pectoral Sandpipers, 1 
Red-kneed Dotterel, 8 Red-necked Stints, 23
Red-capped Plovers, many with very orange/red crowns.

Note that I went to only 2 of the distinct separate ponds/lakes in this area, 
and saw a car going to another area, so it's
possible that you could add many more numbers to the above count.  According to 
the book Shorebirds in Australia (Brett Lane
and Jeff Davies 1987), the Murray mouth lakes area during 1981-85 counts held 
up to 2630 Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, 400
Black-winged Stilts, 60 Marsh Sandpiper and 2010 Red-necked Stint.

One problem with Tolderol was lack of signposting - whilst it has a clear sign 
leading you off the tarred main road, there
are no subsequent signs.  So if you're thinking of going to Tolderol:  turn off 
the main road into Dog Lake Road as
signposted.  At the fork, veer to the right.  You come to a cross road, go 
straight across it.  You then come to farm
buildings but the road continues straight ahead, follow this straight road 
along a line of power poles to a T intersection.
Turn left.

Blanchetown - a Sacred Kingfisher.  In this area many of the birds had wings 
hanging and bill open while panting in 37 degree

Brookfield Conservation Park (near Blanchetown and comprising mallee) 
proffered, amongst others:
* Restless Flycatcher
* Chestnut-crowned Babbler
* Chestnut-rumped Thornbill
* Australian Ringnecks (that brilliant green)
* 1 male Hooded Robin
* Yellow-plumed Honeyeater
* White-fronted Honeyeater

Again, despite 35 degree heat, these birds found the energy to zap around and 

A special first time sighting for me here was black-capped form of Varied 
Sittella.  First found 2 birds perched absolutely
still, head down (alarm position at seeing someone?), then they moved and I 
also found another 4 elsewhere.  Lovely yellow
eye ring set against the black cap, yellow feet and a great orange flash in the 
wing when they fly.

Finished with Morialta Conservation Park in Adelaide suburbs and in 40 degree 
heat.  The Park was closed due to Total Fire
Ban but I found a side entrance for walking.  Not much action here, with most 
birds sitting quietly, wings hanging, though a
Laughing Kookaburra giving a moaning growl was interesting (protesting at the 
heat?).  Also interesting here was the sight of
Eastern Rosellas as opposed to Adelaide Rosellas (according to Pizzey, these 
Easterns are an isolated population separated
from the Australian east coast birds).

I could go on here about Peregrine Falcons, White-fronted Chats etc. but better 
stop.  You're welcome to a copy of my records
if you so wish.
Irene Denton
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Happy birding to you all - I know it makes me happy

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