Tag Archives: grey kangaroo

Kites and Kestrels Around Ardrossan

30 Dec

Dear Reader:

I am driving back to Adelaide from Marion Bay and the Innes National Park at the tip of the York Peninsular. The weather is overcast and I have tucked the cameras away after a successful couple of days photographing this lovely area of our state.

Grey Kangaroos in Innes National Park

Marion Bay area

After an hour’s driving I am on the York Highway (B86) near Ardrossan; a coastal town which is central to agriculture. Here, farmers unload cereal crops into silos then onto grain carriers for overseas markets.

Black-shouldered Kite

Nankeen Kestrel

The Highway is straight and I am sitting on the speed limit and it is only by chance that I catch a glimpse of a Black Shouldered Kite sitting on a fencepost. I slow and pull over at the same time noticing a Nankeen Kestrel perched a further hundred metres along the road. Looking at the wheat fields I am tempted to think that there is probably an abundance of mice this time of the year.

Hare stopped by fence

Better head back into the field

There are some animals you occasionally see but are rarely able to photograph due to their speed and wariness. Therefore, when the opportunity arises to get a shot of these speedsters I welcome it with open arms. Hence, this series of images of a hare I spotted near the main highway just past Ardrossan. A fence forced the hare to stop for a few seconds and allow me to fire off a few frames albeit at long distance on a dull day.

Loading a grain ship at Ardrossan

Just as I finish photographing the hare, rain sets in. Time to resume my trip home with an essential stop at the bakery in Port Wakefield; an historic little town at the head of the gulf and one I have researched previously.

One of many historic building in Port Wakefield

I hope you have enjoyed this little recount and follow my stories in the New Year. All the best to you and your families,

BAZ

Additional Notes

Click on these links and see more South Australian stories and pictures in my Weekend Notes articles as well as locating similar blogs on Feedspot’s top 20 Australian wildlife blogs

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https://blog.feedspot.com/australian_wildlife_blogs/

Blanche Harbour

8 Dec

Dear Reader:

There is a White-browed Babbler fossicking in the leaf litter which has accumulated under a small tree. Several more birds are perched in a nearby Lemon-flowered Gum watching me warily. Most of the Babblers I have encountered in this region seem to feed on the ground looking for insects, spiders, small lizards as well as fallen fruit and other vegetation.

White-browed Babbler foraging

The area I am investigating has been planted out by the Blanche Harbour Revegetation Group and is at the southern extremity of Blanche Harbour which is south of Commissariat Point along Shacks Road (I wrote about Commissariat Pt in my 25th of October blog). The coast adjacent to Blanche Harbour and the army training zone of Cultana, also incorporates the Douglas Banks Marine Reserve.

View across saltbush and mangroves

At low tide the exposed shoreline and coastal fringe is a mixture of saltbush, samphire, mangroves and exposed seagrasses.  This region is the perfect environment for wading birds ranging from herons to plovers and oystercatchers; making this an ideal birding destination.

Coral Gum

Coral Gum flowers

Many of the trees, shrubs and flowering plants have been planted by the local conservation group and they are well labelled. A large shelter with excellent information displays, explains some aspects of the local ecology and provides pictures of significant wildlife.

 

Shelter and interpretive displays

The sun is low in the sky and photography is becoming more difficult and mosquitoes more prevalent; time to hop back in the car and head back to Commissariat Point where I am staying. However, the windows are left open and my mate Geoff cradles the camera as this is often the best time to encounter wildlife.

Blue Bonnet Parrots

Wester Grey Kangaroo

We are not disappointed when Geoff spots a pair of glorious Blue Bonnet Parrots in a roadside tree. A few minutes later, a Western Grey Kangaroo lifts its head from feeding, twitches its radar ears and watches us drive by. A couple of wonderful encounters as we head back to the shacks for a well-earned dinner.

Driving into Commissariat Point at dusk with wind on the other side of the gulf

Cheers

BAZ

Additional notes

This is an easy walk/drive which is quite suitable for families and seniors. It is dog friendly.

Please pass on this blog title and or contact information (URL) to any person or organisation with an interest in taking walks and enjoying wildlife in SA.

Click on this link and see more South Australian stories and pictures in my Weekend Notes articles

https://www.weekendnotes.com/profile/651267/

Around Kersbrook

14 Nov

Dear Reader

The road is dusty after a rare dry spell during the Spring months. I catch a quick glimpse of a large kangaroo through the corner of my eye and pull over to the far side of the track and wait for the dust to settle. Next to a farmer’s dam there is a small mob of Western Grey Kangaroos They watch me closely, ears twitching. The big male I first spotted, stands to his full height, protective of his small harem.

Large male Grey Kangaroo

I am driving around the roads surrounding Kersbrook a small hills town about an hour’s drive from the city centre, a continuation of the Main North East Road past Tea Tree Gully and Chain of Ponds Reservoir. Using the GPS maps I have found a network of small roads around the town and I am randomly exploring them.

Small mob of greys

Checking the GPS I note that I am driving along Bagshaw Road. As I walk back to the vehicle I notice an old brick chimney on the other side of the road; the remains of an old farmhouse. Old ruins always fascinate me and I wonder what stories of family, drought, flood and celebration have resonated within the home that once stood there.

Stories to tell

A long way from the highlands of Scotland

On Bulman Road, I come across a small farmhouse. There are Alpacas fenced off near the home and a little further along the road I can see Highland Cattle. Nothing indigenous about these species but they are still a treat to see on the rich green background of spring pasture.

Grey Currawong silhouetted

My next encounters are on Smith Road where I come across two bird species that are not too common around the city and urban landscapes. A Grey Currawong (related to crows and ravens) is perched on a fallen branch.

Red-rumped Parrot and fence

 

There are also a beautiful Red-rumped Parrots feeding behind a fence which ‘try as I might’ I cannot remove from the picture. Then again, this is farming country and fences are part of the landscape. Later on my drive home I spot another two parrots feeding in rough stubble about 50 metres from the car, another tricky shot.

Well camouflaged Red-rumped Parrots

Although today’s trip exploring the backroads around Kersbrook is at an end before returning home I’ll visit ‘Kersbrook Hill Wines and Cider’ followed by a short stop at Williamstown Bakery: a couple of favourite destinations when I drive through the north-eastern region of the Adelaide Hills.

Additional notes

This is an easy drive which is quite suitable for families and seniors

For more pictures and short stories about SA places and wildlife go to:

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Port Victoria’s Coastal Drive…..Part 1

6 Jul

Rocky outcrop near Second Beach

 

Dear Reader:

A few years ago I spent several days with a close friend at Port Victoria fishing in the rich waters off Wardang Island.  Geoff and I caught whiting, snook and squid and even managed to locate a few abalone which made for quite a feast on the barbecue. Today, we are exploring Port Vic from the shoreline and discovering some of the amazing scenery and coastal wildlife the area has to offer.

 

Patient Pelicans

What’s for lunch???

 

The boat ramp where we set off on our fishing trips is now the haunt of a small group of Australian Pelicans. They also enjoy the fruits of these waters, congregating around returning boats to feed on discarded fish and bait.

 

Pacific Gull in flight

The local golf course sits alongside the ramp and extends south along the coast to our first destination, known locally as Rifle Butts Beach. There are rocky outcrops at each end of the beach and I watch Pacific Gulls and a lone Great Cormorant flying just above the waves. The dunes and beach are pristine and there is an information plaque explaining their ecology and importance.

 

Beach fishing

From Rifle Butts it is only a short distance along Conservation Drive to Second Beach where we stop at a sandy parking bay and watch a couple of fishers casting for Mullet and Salmon Trout. A small sign cautions us to look out for rare Hooded Plovers which nest on the beach; though I believe breeding season is now over. The beach is accessible to 4WD but today is just a first look and we have more distance to cover.

 

Startled Western Grey Kangaroo

We continue slowly along Conservation Drive with the windows open ready to stop and record any special wildlife encounters. There is low coastal scrub to the right and open paddocks with sheep and cattle to the left. Large flocks of Crested Pigeons are feeding in the fields. I brake suddenly and turn the wheel to get a good angle on a pair of Grey Kangaroos half hidden in the scrub. They immediately bound away and I manage a hurried shot of one roo as it disappears into the scrub.

 

Water behind the dunes

Path to the ocean

 

Our final stop is Wauraltee Beach. The parking area lies at the end of a sandy track near a windmill which taps freshwater from behind the dune system. A short trail leads up and over the primary dunes and ends with a spectacular panoramic view north and south along this magnificent yet secluded beach.

View south along Wauraltee Beach

 

From the top of the dunes, I can scan the bush for birdlife, kangaroos and even wombats which live in the area.  Today, I spot several Singing Honeyeaters, a kestrel hovering in the distance and what appears to be a pod of dolphins about 500 metres offshore. There are some small waders near the seaweed fringe but it is hard to identify them at this range.

 

Singing Honeyeater

It has been a wonderful reintroduction to Port Victoria and has left me with a strong desire to return and spend more time exploring today’s destinations in greater detail. And, to add even more incentive, there is an equally interesting track and walking trail heading north from the jetty towards Point Pearce.

Cheers

BAZ

Winninowie National Park and Chinaman’s Creek

3 Sep

Winninowie National Park and Chinaman’s Creek

Dear Reader:

The track to Winninowie National Park comes off the main highway between Port Germein and Port Augusta. Low flat scrub borders the road on both sides with the coast in front and the Flinders Ranges foothills behind. Barbed wire fencing keeps small groups of sheep from wandering onto the road. Crested Pigeons, Galahs and some smaller unidentifiable bird species can be seen in the scraggly bushes bordering the pasture. In the distance I can just pick out a tree-line marking the edge of the national park: from there the road meanders towards the coast.

Typical coastal scrub

 A few hundred metres past the first stands of eucalypts we come across a smaller track veering to the left. The track has a sign that warns against use in wet weather but there has been a little rain over the last few days and today is fine and clear. We slip the vehicle into 4WD low range as a precaution and with a little slippage and much lurching, explore the trail.

Grey Butcherbird 

I tap Geoff on the shoulder and ask him to stop and power down his window. Only metres from the car, a Grey Butcherbird is perched on a dead tree branch. These fascinating birds have the rather unsavoury habit of impaling their prey on sharp branches where they are stored for later consumption. A kind of avian serial killer complete with trophies.

Euro in scrub

Our next encounter is on my side of the car. I notice a flash of grey in the undergrowth. Geoff sees it too and we slide to a halt. I am expecting to see a Western Grey Kangaroo and I am pleasantly surprised to spot a Wallaroo or Euro. These robust cousin of the more common Western Grey Kangaroo are more commonly found in the higher regions of the Flinders Ranges which form a backdrop to the coastal plain we are traversing.

Crested Pigeons 

Of course, the usual wildlife is abundant here; Australian Magpies, Crested Pigeons, a variety of parrots and even some Miner Birds. There are also Emus which occasionally sprint across the trail making photographing them almost impossible. Eventually I spot a small group way out in the scrub grazing under some trees. My Nikon P900 has excellent range and I tend to use it as a spotting scope at extreme distances. I decide to take a chance; stop the car rest and squeeze. Considering the range and lighting conditions I am pleasantly surprised by the result.

Emu at distance  

The track ends at a wide expanse of shallow beach coated in seaweed with a wonderful view across Gulf St Vincent to the low hills of the Eyre Peninsula. We return along the same path and then head down to Chinaman’s Creek; a little outpost set amongst mangroves with a few shacks and a boat ramp, an area I have written about previously.

Chinaman’s Creek 

After fossicking about in the mangroves it is time to head for home and lunch at Port Germein; a good half an hour’s driving time. We decide not to stop on the return drive unless something extraordinary makes an appearance and as a parting gift, that does happen. A loan Western Grey Kangaroo bolts in front of the car and presents the perfect picture with the foothills of the Flinders in the distance. Then one final encore as lovely Red Capped Robin sits in a thorn bush near the road………a nice way to end a perfect afternoon. 

Roo in flight

Red-capped Robin

Cheers

Baz

 Additional notes

This is an easy drive in dry weather which is quite suitable for families and seniors but requires 4wd in the wet. The National Park bans Dogs. 

 Please pass on this blog title and or contact information (URL) to any person or organisation with an interest in taking walks and enjoying wildlife in SA.

See more South Australian stories and pictures in Weekend Notes

https://www.weekendnotes.com/profile/651267/

Wiliamstown to Springton a Wildlife Drive

1 Jan

Dear Reader:

The paddock beyond the fence-line is characterised by open grassland still bearing a tinge of green from recent rains. There are gum trees punctuating the open expanse of pasture and a large mob of kangaroos are spread across this classic Australian landscape. Some are resting while others graze; a few have joeys in pouches or at heel.

 

Grazing roos

 

I am driving between Williamstown and Springton and despite most of the land being fenced off  each time I stop by the roadside there are many faunal and floral delights to discover. In addition, lunch at the end of the drive in the Springton Pub or morning tea at the start of my drive at the Williamstown Bakery, are wonderful refueling stopovers.

 

Echidna on the move

 

Echidna rolled and momentarily turned before righting itself

As I drive on I can see a variety of parrots in the roadside trees; rosellas, lorikeets and galahs are the dominant species. But in one very large eucalypt a group of Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoos have settled. Unfortunately they take to the air as I leave the vehicle. However, as luck would have it, I hear some rustling in the grass alongside the road and an Echidna appears trundling along in its everlasting search for termites. The fascinating animal rolls itself up and burrows down as I kneel to take a shot using the macro capability of my Nikon P900 to zoom in on its features.

 

Flax Lily species

 

After making several more quick stops to photograph birds in the scrub, pasture and trees along the road I find a lay-by with quite a lot of vegetation. Amongst the bushes and grass I notice a small collection of lovely Purple Flax plants, just one of the many flowering natives that can be seen through this area.

 

Painted Lady

 

Cuckoo Shrike species feeding

 

My final stop before the return drive back through Gawler is in a patch of scrub near a farm gate where there is quite a lot of undergrowth. The area is dominated by a single massive gum that appears to attract numerous birds. Scouring the leaf litter and broken branches reveals a lovely Painted Lady Butterfly while a Cuckoo Shrike sits in a barren branch above. A wonderful way to finish my little expedition.

Cheers 

Baz

Additional notes

This is an easy drive which is quite suitable for families and seniors with facilities at both towns.  

 See more South Australian stories and pictures in Weekend Notes

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Wilpena Wildlife

4 Oct

Wilpena Wildlife

Dear Reader:

There is a sleepy lizard, or shingleback, staring back at me from the rocky ledge where it is sheltering. These harmless lizards eat a wide variety of foods from vegetation and berries to insects and snails. They are one of the most common reptiles in the Flinders Ranges; an ancient mountain range, about a five hour drive from Adelaide.

 

Sleepy lizard

 

I am staying at Wilpena Pound in the heart of the ranges. The hills that encircle this outback resort and campground are just a two minute walk away from my chalet and contain a plethora of wildlife, geological and botanical treasures.

 

Typical scenery

 

The lizard is just one of the animals that I encounter as I walk from my chalet towards the park’s entrance. The sun is dropping low in the sky and in the soft light I can see a group of emus feeding on a grassy plain that extends from the distant hills.

 

Arvo emus

 

As the emus move off I startle a female grey kangaroo with a joey at heel. The two marsupials look at me for a split second before bounding away into the scrub; grey blurs against a subtle canvass of brown and green.

 

Roos in flight

 

My day ends with a meal in the Wilpena Pound Restaurant watching a couple of roos feeding on the lawns and listening to the call of kookaburras.

 

Come and see the Flinders; you will not be disappointed!

 

Cheers

Baz

 

Additional notes

There are easy walks and drives which are quite suitable for families and seniors with public toilets, barbecues, parking and other facilities nearby. Dogs are not permitted in the National Park.

 

See more South Australian of my stories and photographs in Weekend Notes

https://www.weekendnotes.com/profile/651267/

 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 try to attach a new image and notes to accompany each post.

https://wildlifemomentssa.blogspot.com

Warren Reservoir

11 May

Dear Reader:

There is pelican fishing near the water outlet on the edge of the reservoir. It seems to be catching the odd fish unlike the anglers near the bridge. Likewise, a snake bird sometimes called a diver but more correctly known as an anhinga, is perched on a branch overhanging the water drying its wings after successfully making a catch. Obviously there is prey in the lake and after one of the longest dry spells on record it is a pleasure to witness the local wildlife reaping the benefits of permanent water.

 

Snake bird or darter

 

I am exploring the Warren Reservoir about an hour’s drive north east of Adelaide’s CBD past Williamstown on Warren Road which deviates left off the Springton Road a few Kilometres beyond the township. There are several lay-bys and one major recreation site that allow access to the reservoir which can be used by fishers and kayakers.

 

Warren Reservoir

 

 There is a bridge crossing the reservoir that leads on to a path that skirts the water. Tiny finches and wrens are chirping in the canopy and an occasional duck can be seen foraging near the reeds. I sit quietly by a large eucalypt that droops over the water watching for a kingfisher or kookaburra. However, it is a tiny female blue wren that catches my eye as it works its way along the edge of the water.

 

Masked Lapwings

 

Roos in retreat

 

­­­­ 

Further along the track several lapwings are walking tentatively along the high water mark. They are nervous and approaching them to capture an image is difficult. As I crouch amongst the bushes I startle a small group of kangaroos that are quietly resting in some bushland near the edge of a pine forest.

 

Casual lunch

 

My walk around the reservoir has been interesting but a few hunger pangs are setting in. In a cutting a little closer to Williamstown there is a pop up lunch bus that makes unbelievable hot-steak rolls. The chap that runs it is an ex-biker (not bikey) and also sells oil and other motorbike accessories for the numerous enthusiasts that drive through the area. An interesting way to end my day at the reservoir.

 

Cheers

Baz  

 

Additional notes

This is an easy walk/drive which is quite suitable for families and seniors with public toilets, barbecues, parking and other facilities nearby. It is dog friendly.

 

 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.

https://wildlifemomentssa.blogspot.com

Whyalla’s Coastal Fringe

25 Jun

Whyalla’s Coastal Fringe

Dear Reader:

The grey kangaroo is bounding along the small levy that cuts across a shallow clay pan near the edge of a tidal flat. It stops monetarily and twitches its mobile ears, looks around, then continues on its way into the scrub alongside the raised earthen mound. I get a few seconds to make a shot and the wary marsupial is gone.

Grey kangaroo

 I am exploring the coastal fringe of Whyalla South Australia’s third most populous city. The steel and regional centre is situated near the head of Spencer Gulf on the Eyre Peninsula about 450 kms from Adelaide. The area is a mixture of mangrove, tidal flats, sandy beach and some small industrial areas that enclose substantial freshwater pools. Several roads lead down towards the coast from the Lincoln Highway and some of the terrain requires 4WD.

Garden centipede

Egyptian beetle 

I take the vehicle across one of the mud flats and have to fight to keep from getting bogged. Slipping the SUV into low range and slowly sliding across the surface I wrestle with the steering until the wheels grip sand on the edge of the levy. Relieved, I get out and survey the quagmire of clay-like debris stuck to the wheel arches. But my close call has led me to a cosy little depression amongst the scrub and I decide to move a few fallen branches and search for invertebrates. After a few minutes I unearth a rather large garden centipede and a few Egyptian or ‘cellar beetles’ as well as some different ant species. After a little macro photography I carefully replace their homes.

Australian pelicans 

Another dirt road takes me past the rifle club and some large freshwater ponds that have attracted a small group of pelicans. The birds appear to be simply congregating and socialising between short forays into the water to feed. Along the edge of the water there are several different species of small waders including dotterels and plovers but they are wary and take flight when I approach.

Crested pigeons 

The scrub alongside the mangrove patches is also home to a variety of birds including singing honeyeaters and fantails. One scrubby eucalypt that has managed to endure decades of salty onshore winds provides shelter for a trio of crested pigeons a species that I often see found foraging in the coastal bush.

View from Hummock Hill 

I head back onto the highway drive back into the city and up to a local lookout. Hummock Hill is a fitting place to end my exploration of Whyalla’s coastal fringe. The site of the first settlement in 1901 it provides panoramic views of the city, coast and surrounding bushland. Hummock Hill also served as a gun emplacement during the Second World War and has lately been developed as an historic site; lovely place to simply take in the rugged beauty that this area has to offer.

Cheers

Baz 

 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.

https://wildlifemomentssa.blogspot.com

Spring Gully…Wildlife and Wineries

20 Jul

Spring Gully…Wildlife and Wineries

Dear Reader;

There are two white winged choughs in the eucalyptus tree about a hundred metres away. The birds are quite wary, flying deep into the woodland every time I approach. Choughs are often mistaken for crows but closer examination reveals a curved beak and rusty coloured eyes in these juveniles, red in adults, as well as white patches on the wings. The birds seem to be quite communal and there are at least a dozen scattered amongst the trees.

1 white winged chough red

White winged choughs

 

I am driving through the Spring Gully Conservation Park about five kilometres from the little hamlet of Sevenhills in the Clare Valley. Where the road to the park leaves the main highway we have ‘dined’ at a local bakery on coffee and one of the best vanilla slices ever to clog an artery. This crossroad also leads to the renowned Skillagolee restaurant and winery where we have booked an afternoon tea.

2 1 red

Red stringy barks

 

 Leaving the choughs to their socialising I park a little further along the road by a fire track then walk along a bush trail. The view of the plains beyond; with rare red stringy barks, as well as yacca or grass trees and bush lilies in the foreground, is breathtaking. There are numerous trails leading off the main track, one winds down to a creek and waterfall. However, the afternoon is drawing to close and we are simply doing a quick drive through in preparation for some bush walking later.

2 2 red

Argus species butterfly

 

 

Afternoon tea is superb, scones and a cheese platter, followed by a pleasant time tasting some of the excellent Clare Valley wines. Now the sun is low in the sky and it is time to drive down to the Jesuit winery at Sevenhills where altar wine is produced amongst other table vintages.

5 red

Sevenills monastery

 

As we drive along the entrance road to the monastery and vineyard we are lucky enough to catch sight of a group of grey kangaroos feeding along the fence line by the vines. I have often seen roos here on previous trips and it is an image I was hoping to capture.

6 red

Grey kangaroos at dusk in vineyard

 

 With the evening sun backlighting the trees that surround a sacred grotto, kangaroos in a vineyard and a flight of pink and grey cockatoos settling in the trees to roost it is hard to imagine a more idyllic way to start our weekend trip through the Clare Valley.

Cheers

Baz

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