Tag Archives: adelaide rosella

Pondalowie’s Beachside Birdlife

6 Feb

Pondalowie’s Beachside Birdlife

 Dear Reader:

A lone Pacific gull stands on the beach amongst strands of washed up seaweed. It stares at the ocean for a while watching another gull wheeling and soaring above the waves then nonchalantly wanders along the tidal fringe foraging for invertebrates or whatever the sea has deposited.


Pacific gull


The long white sands of Pondalowie Bay are home to many species of birds and a fertile food source for many others. A leisurely four hour drive from Adelaide to this picturesque Bay on the western extremity of the Innes National Park is a favourite haunt of naturalists, fishers, divers and holiday makers. In fact; any traveller who enjoy that hint of wildness in their getaways will find this a wonderful destination.


Classic peninsula coastal landscape


Further along the beach several species of tiny waders including dotterels, plovers and sand pipers scurry along the retreating waterline searching for tiny invertebrates such as worms, crustaceans and molluscs. Their little legs seem to rotate as they forage giving them the appearance of wind up clockwork toys.


Double banded plover-non breeding plumage


Swallows normally live further inland amongst the scrub and trees. However, the proliferation of insects infesting the beds of weed that are strewn along the high tide line has attracted quite a large number of these colourful little aerial hunters. Some are perched on driftwood as they rest between their forays above the weed while others perch in bushes close to the beach.



In all honesty, my favourite beach dwellers are the oystercatchers. There are two species on the beach pied and sooty and it is a pair of sooties that I spend a few minutes focussing on. They use their long chisel shaped beaks to probe the sand or scrape molluscs off rocks and prise them apart. The bird closest to me has snagged a turban shell and is proceeding to split it open and consume the unfortunate critter within.


Sooty oystercatcher


From Pondalowie it is a good half hour drive back to Marion Bay where we are staying in a cliff-side holiday home and dinner at the local pub that serves the best pizzas and seafood I have eaten in a long time.    





Additional notes

This is an easy drive which is quite suitable for families and seniors with public toilets, barbecues, parking and other facilities at Marion Bay and Pondalowie. The trails leading from the main park road down to beaches and into the scrub are more arduous.


 I have recently spent time in Africa and the link below will allow you to enjoy images and text describing some of my encounters with the wonderful wildlife of Botswana and Zambia. I will attach a new image and notes to accompany each post. The link does not work well on mobile phones and is best followed through a computer or tablet.



Para Wirra Wildlife

2 Mar

Para Wirra Wildlife

Dear Reader:

There is a small group of lorikeets high in one of the taller eucalypts that overhangs the track. Several birds fly down to the ground and start to forage amongst the bushes and groundcovers. A closer look shows them to be Adelaide Rosellas, a sub group of the crimson rosella. One bird in particular struts across the ground towards me and despite the low light conditions I manage to fire off a frame.


Adelaide rosella


Strutting his stuff


I am walking along one of the many trails that cuts through Para Wirra National Park near Gawler about an hour’s drive from Adelaide’s CBD. The park has a wonderful array of wildlife as well as excellent shelter and barbecue facilities situated in several convenient  locations including a small lake close to the park entrance.


Trio of emus

Leaving the parrots to their own devices I continue along the trail towards the ‘Devils Nose’ a prominent lookout a few kilometres ahead. There is an abundance of leaf litter on the ground and every so often I can hear the rustle of small skinks amongst the bark and twigs. Suddenly a crashing of branches and leaves permeates the air as three emus emerge from the scrub and head up the nearby hillside.


Crescent honeyeater


I come to a sign-posted junction of trails and decide that today is about slow and stealthy not a long walk. Heading back towards the car by retracing my route I take a little more time to wait and watch where I think there might be wildlife. Near a thick patch of scrub I am well rewarded when a beautiful crescent honeyeater lands amongst some branches just a few metres from me.


Striated pardalote


Back at the lay-by where I have parked the 4WD I take out some well earned lunch bought from one of Gawler’s many superb little bakeries, pop the cork on a bottle of cider and sit on a conveniently placed wooden bench beneath a spreading eucalypt. Not two bites in and I hear an unfamiliar bird call and glance up into the tree to identify the ‘perp’. And there sits a lovely striated pardalote, with half its body tucked into a nesting hole…….what a way to end my walk!!!





Jenkins Scrub

21 Mar

Dear Reader:

There are tiny birds flitting through the canopy and squabbling in the bushes either side of the walking trail that snakes its way through the scrub. Occasionally they settle for just a second or two and feed on Autumn’s few remaining blossoms or probe for insects beneath the bark. The birds move quickly, giving me just a split second to focus and fire; which is my excuse for some of these images not being quite as sharp as I would like. However, they do give an accurate depiction of what searching for wildlife images in dense scrub, is really like.


Grey fantail



Treecreeper species



After walking across a small footbridge, I find a clearing and sit on a fallen log and wait in the shadows for ten minutes. Birds are still twittering deep in the bushes, heard but not seen; but most have moved on.


Crescent honeyeater



Jenkins scrub is a remnant area of the original bushland that once covered the Adelaide hills. The light sandy soil supports a wide range of shrubs, grasses and delicate flowers including native orchids. Tall eucalyptus trees complete the ecosystem which is traversed by a series of narrow trails.


Classic hills scrub



The scrub lies just off the Springton road, a pleasant 50k hills drive from the city. A lunch stop at the Bakehouse Tavern in Williamstown, just 10 Kms from the park’s entrance, is a good way to break up the drive. Or, you can buy a pies and cake at the bakery to snack by the old cemetery on the edge of the adjoining pine forest; somewhere to explore the personal histories the people who settled this region. 


Pub at Williamstown



Graveyard from the old church



Hefting my long lens from the pack I continue my walk. The understory is littered with leaves and fallen branches which provide a home for a plethora of insect and retile species. There are quite a few butterflies in the area and every so often one settles in the leaf litter. They seem to spread their wings a couple of times then rest them upright exposing only the underneath which blend perfectly with the bleached leaves and twigs.


Meadow argus butterfly…..brilliant camouflage



Another hour’s walking produces a few more images, shot at long range, and a memorable encounter with a pair of kangaroos which are feeding deep in the bush. I try for a better angle to get a clear shot but they quickly hop into deeper cover. By the time I reach the car it is a welcome refuge as some large bush flies have emerged in the late afternoon and the insect repellent is in the glove box.

adel rosella

Adelaide rosella



Just as I am about to turn on the engine I hear the shrill call of rosellas. Luck is with me and the birds settle in a gum tree just within camera range of the car. Three quick frames and my day ends on a high or so I think. It turns out that the 2 Km drive back along the dirt to the Springton road has a final surprise; three young emus feeding in a field of stubble just a ‘stone’s throw’ from the roadside.

IMG_6384 edit 1

Emus at dusk



Until our next adventure


Author in the office




Mt Lofty on a Winter’s Day

12 Jul

Dear Reader:

Last weekend was cool and clear, perfect winter weather for a visit to Adelaide’s highest point, Mt lofty. The bush covered peak is a mere twenty minutes drive from the city along the SE freeway and the viewing deck and restaurant are surrounded by tall eucalypts that are home to a variety of wildlife.

AD A view from the top  (click to enlarge)

A view from the top (click to enlarge)

A selection of walking trails and bike tracks converge on the summit and earlier in the year I had spent some time walking along their lower sections photographing wildlife. However, on this occasion I had decided to see if the distribution of species was different at a slightly higher altitude in the cooler months.

AG Mt Lofty summit - Copy

Mt Lofty summit (click to enlarge)

The summit was quite busy with a smattering of mountain bikers and walkers using the trails and dozens of casual visitors simply enjoying coffee and the view from the observation deck and glass fronted dining areas. As I knelt down by my pack to select a lens I heard the chattering call of some blue wrens that were flitting between some nearby bushes and diving into the undergrowth. I watched their antics for a few minutes before heading off on one of the shorter trails that circle the summit.


Male blue wren surveying his territory(click to enlarge)

AH White backed magpie (click to enlarge)

White backed magpie (click to enlarge)

After walking for several minutes I noticed a sizeable magpie foraging for grubs amongst the grass and rocks. As I paused to take a few shots a group of Japanese tourists stopped and asked about the different birds in this area. We spent an enjoyable few minutes chatting and comparing their native species to ours; it transpired that they were an ornithological party on a study tour.

AE Natve heath - Copy

Native heath (click to enlarge)

AB Rosella feeding in the trees (click to enlarge)

Rosella feeding in the trees (click to enlarge)

A little further along the trail the greens and browns of the understory were enhanced by small patches of bright red flowers belonging to one of the hardy little heaths that flowers in the winter months. But the real splash of colour on this winter’s day was a colourful Adelaide rosella that was feeding on berries high in the branches above me. This was quite unusual as virtually every rosella I have observed feeding has been foraging on the ground for seeds and tubers.

AA Large male koala near the restaurant entrance - Copy

Large male koala near the restaurant exit (click to enlarge)

Mount Lofty, as I have pointed out, is a prime tourism site and in keeping with this status it provided one final surprise. A large male koala, that seemed to be extending a farewell gesture of pure Australiana, was comfortably tucked into the forked branches of a large gum tree alongside to the exit path.



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