Sunday, June 29

aaaahhh.... the birds!!

Western Australia's iconic Black Swan (Cygnus atratus)
I must warn you upfront that I didn't visit Australia for the wildlife.

Considering I made no plans whatsoever to visit wildlife sanctuaries (apart from Ningaloo Reef) it's amazing what I did see!

On the mammal front I spotted one koala, a couple of possums (in & near Brisbane), and saw kangaroos on only 3 different occasions whilst travelling through 3,500 kms  of Western Australia. 

To be honest, if one travelled through unprotected "normal" countryside in South Africa you wouldn't see too much in the way of large, 4-legged wildlife either!

But my spotting instincts refused to take a holiday and I excitedly found new and amazing birds everywhere I went. (There were quite a few notable lizards as well!)

In Brisbane, my main focus was bonding with family and I didn't have my big zoom lens at the ready. Which was a pity as I missed getting photos of Rainbow and Scaly-breasted Lorikeets, Magpie Geese, Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo and a whole host of other interesting birds.

Once in Western Australia, however, I got a bit more serious about wildlife spotting. Just in case I needed to fill in any gaps in those awesome, wide-open landscapes....

Australian Wood Duck

Bird sightings predominated, from the relatively lush, emerald, south western woods and wetlands........

Barnaby's Cockatoo

at Yanchep National Park.......

Purple Swamphen

through to the crashing rollers, high cliffs and white beaches of the Indian Ocean coast. 

Silver Gulls on the beach at Cervantes

Singing Honeyeater, Shark Bay
Nankeen Kestrel, Kalbarri cliffs

Pied Cormorants at Cape Peron (Shark Bay World Heritage Area)
Crossing from the scrub and spinifex country of the North West Cape through the Pilbara region on the way to Karijini produced all the open country I could have wished for.

It was a deceptively green landscape. An indicator of it's normally desolate and arid nature was the scarcity of visible animal life, whether livestock or wildlife. But again, there were some birds.........

Brown Falcon
 Out in the open areas the birds of prey dominated...
Wedge-tailed Eagle
and in the wooded areas beside the infrequent creeks a few more colourful birds....

Australian Ringneck Parrot
and a flight of Little Corellas

Every little oasis of an outback town hosted flocks of the noisy and vibrant Galah.
the gorgeous Galah
Once back near the coast, in the last days before starting my Ningaloo Escape, I finally got a photo of the Crested Pigeon and a couple of other specials in the shrubs amongst the red dunes and eroded gorges of North West Cape.

Crested Pigeon
Brown Honeyeater
A bower of the Western Bowerbird

Needless to say I saw and heard many, many more birds than listed or pictured here. It was a truly rich birding experience that I really hadn't anticipated!

Birds identified with the help of :- Birdlife Australia


Gaelyn said...

When all else fails, go birding. Did a lot of that due to all the tall grasses in many SANParks last summer.

Coral Wild said...

yes indeed Gaelyn :)

Summer is also the best time for birding in South Africa with all our summer visitors....