Tag Archives: lorikeets

Scott Creek Wildlife and History

27 Oct

Dear Reader:

The old cottage has stood sentinel by the Scott Creek Road from the late 1830s. Despite some graffiti, scourge of a modern era, it bears witness to bygone days of hardship and toil. Today a pair of magpies is foraging amongst the overgrown garden and swallows are nesting in the stonework.

Old cottage with lilies in foreground

 The Scott Creek Conservation Park is just 30 kms from Adelaide: a lovely drive along winding hills roads surrounded by scrub and rural properties. It is a haven for a vast number of animals including grey kangaroos, koalas, numerous reptiles and around 150 bird species and that is without considering the insects and spiders. More than enough to delight any photographer. Add an old mine site to this biological diversity and you have the perfect place for a day’s outing exploring some classic South Aussie bushland with a little history thrown in.

Walking trail and bushland

The creek passes under an old bridge. It is overgrown with reeds and bushes with just a trickle of water visible from the banks. Superb blue wrens are darting around in the undergrowth, the males in bright mating plumage are displaying to the duller coloured females. I walk along a fallen tree that spans the creek to get a better vantage point. From my perch I spot an eastern water skink basking on a long dead branch. The little reptile is waiting to pounce on insects, spiders and even smaller lizards.

Eastern water skink

A gravel and dirt path leads up to an old copper and silver mining site. Interpretive signs make for interesting reading about our state’s early mining history and an old abandoned plough adds a certain agricultural touch to the walk.

Old machinery

Numerous parrot species are common throughout the park and a pair of rainbow lorikeets watches me as I walk beneath the massive red gum they are using as a perch. High above I notice the unmistakable slow wing beat of yellow tailed black cockatoos. And the characteristic chiming call of Adelaide rosellas accompanies me while I stroll around the mine site looking for lizards and insects that might use the ruins as a home.

Rainbow lorikeets

 Before climbing into the car for the drive home I take one last look into the higher branches of the trees surrounding the creek. I am rewarded by solitary koala watching me intently from a fork in the trunk. A nice farewell from this lovely patch of South Australian bushland.

Koala climbing

Cheers

Baz

Additional notes

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

 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

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I Wonder What the Neighbours are Doing?

11 Sep

Dear Reader:

It is a cool, early spring afternoon. I can hear annoyingly cheerful birds singing in the white cedars that line my street but I am bored stupid. Home from work with a cold but certainly not sick enough to stay in bed. What to do? Going for a walk along the beach or up in the hills would be foolish and daytime television is just one step above poking my eyes with a sharp stick. Decision made! I shall stroll up to the main road, pick up a magazine and have a cup of coffee with an inordinately unhealthy pastry at one the cosy little cafés that are dotted along Prospect Road.

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A mudlark finds grubs in the gutter (click all images to enlarge)

 

 

I am halfway through the door when I stop and think that it might be worth taking the camera along, though the chance of seeing something unexpected on a quiet suburban street at midday; is not very likely. It turns out that I am quite mistaken and my two hundred metre walk to the main drag is filled with interesting moments.

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Rainbow lorikeet feeding on a late flowering gum

 

First encounter; a pair of rainbow lorikeets are alternately feeding on a late flowering gum and taking turns to performs some trade-like renovations on a hollow branch in a nearby cedar. One of the parrots uses its powerful, curved beak to scour the edge of the entrance while the other pops in out and removing old bits of nest lining. They seem quite oblivious to my presence and allow me to get quite close.

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Rainbow lorikeets house hunting

 

I leave the rainbows to their reno-project and move further up the street. A Murray magpie is sorting its way through the leaf litter and other detritus deposited in the gutters by recent rains. Every so often it stops, cocks its head to one side and gulps down a worm or bug. Ironically, there is a classic white backed magpie sitting on the power line above watching its little namesake. Despite their titles, the two species are unrelated and it is only their colouring that encouraged early settlers to name the birds after the black and white European magpies. Although it is a large imposing bird this particular magpie has a serious handicap which is revealed when I take a look at its magnified image on the viewfinder. The powerful beak has been badly damaged making both feeding and defence a ‘tough ask’.

A busted beak makes life on the streets tough

A busted beak makes life on the streets tough

 

Even the cafe has its wildlife component as a squadron of New Holland honeyeaters perched in a courtyard tree argue over territory with the ever present miner birds and several sparrows and pigeons patrol beneath the tables in search of crumbs. But the standouts are still the rainbows and their nesting antics, which simply confirmed an unwritten rule that every wildlife photographer knows; take your camera, something will almost always surprise you.

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Juvenile miner bird watching out for new Holland honeyeaters

 

Until our next chat

Baz

Solandra Wetland’s Musk Lorikeets

4 Jan

Dear Reader

Last week, on a warm summer afternoon, I decided to walk down to the pond at the bottom of the street to photograph a pair of nesting Australian grebes. The pond is part of a chain of wetlands that feeds off the nearby creek and filters stormwater for use on local parks and gardens around Tea Tree Gully. It provides a welcome oasis for many species during the dry summer months and supports a small semi-permanent population of water birds.

Local pond

On the edge of the pond there are a few medium sized eucalyptus trees that flower this time of year. They have broad canopies adorned with either cream or coral blossoms and are a favourite destination of the local rainbow lorikeet tribe. As I passed the trees I could hear the raucous screech of feeding birds but the tone seemed a little different to the cacophony of sound that frequently greets me.  A quick glance confirmed that most of these parrots were musk lorikeets with just a smattering of rainbows amongst them.

Rainbow Lorikeet amongst white gum blossoms

Musk lorikeeets ( Glossopsitta concinna) are medium sized lorikeets between 20-30cms from head to tail. They use their brush tipped tongues to feed on pollen and nectar but will also eat some seeds, fruits and insects. They often travel in flocks and are usually found in dry woodlands where they nest in hollow branches. They are slightly smaller than rainbows and less common in this area.

Musk Lorikeet feeding on coral gum blossoms

I decided that the grebes could wait. And, while I have quite a good collection of rainbow pictures I rarely see more than a few Muskies and the chance to photograph them while feeding does not come along too often. They were endearing little animals to watch as they performed an extraordinary range of acrobatic movements. Sometimes they hung upside down to get their beaks into a bunch of blossoms; at other times they used it as a prehensile tool to climb along spindly branches. Despite their preoccupation with feeding they were still a little nervous and as I moved cautiously around the trees they scattered into the denser parts of the foliage making photography somewhat difficult.

Pair of Musk Lorikeets

I tried sitting quietly in some of the surrounding bushes closer to the pond and using the telephoto on full zoom. An equally unsuccessful manoeuvre, as the birds seemed to rarely feed on the outer blossoms as doing so would probably increase their exposure to local predators like harriers and falcons. Finally I adopted a more professional and scientific approach to the problem; walk slowly, keep shooting and hope for the best.

Musk Lorikeet pair bonding near nest hole

Dozens of frames later, with the light diminishing and more than a few bird droppings adorning my jacket, I left my flock of musk lorikeets to their meal and walked down to the pond for a quick look at the pair of grebes. One was repairing the nest and the other half hidden in the reeds at the edge. Australian Grebe building nest

Another post for another day

Cheers

Baz

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