Sunday, 21 February 2016

Clayheads on Tour - South Australia 25th Jan – 14th Feb 2016


To put a trip like this into a short blog is very very difficult; most birds are new with daft names and it sounds like another world never mind the bottom of this one!
To give a brief insight, I was based in a small village called Mount Compass roughly in the middle of an area called the Fleurieu Peninsular around an hour’s drive from Adelaide, it’s roughly the size of Wales and appears on the Australian map as a small dot, as NJS likes to remind me “Australia is roughly the size of Western Europe” I’ve no idea where he got that fact from but he isn’t wrong!

Most places are less than two hour drive away and the area consist mainly of farms (mainly fruit and of course wine), scrub and forests with lots of coastline and estuaries. I had the use of my nephews Volkswagen Golf for the holiday which was great but I had to be careful where I drove it as a lot of the side roads are gravel roads of varying degree of rough wear, several times I couldn’t visit places as the car just wasn’t suitable for the road environment.

I have to say this is probably the hardest birding and most enjoyable I’ve ever done, for the first week I didn’t know what the hell had hit me, it’s hard, very hard, the bush is dense and I was amazed by how green everywhere was given the heat (usually between 26C & 36C during my visit), while the trees where all bare, the tops had dense green leaves which is of course were all the birds were, things like Parrots, Rosella’s and Lorikeets would just disappear into the tree never to be seen again.

I’ll just cover what new birds were seen on each birding day with a few photo highlights, apologies for some of the photos they are slightly blurred but it’s a very old camera, well that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!!

Day One – Goowla, Hindmarsh Island

Australian Pelican, Pied Cormorant, Black Swan, Cape Barren Goose, Pacific Black Duck, Purple Swamphen, White-faced Heron, Australian White Ibis, Straw-necked Ibis, Royal Spoonbill, Masked Lapwing, Red-kneed Dotterel, Red-necked Avocet, Silver Gull, Crested Tern, Swamp Harrier, Nankeen Kestrel, Crested Pigeon, Galah, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Red-rumped Parrot, Superb Fairy-wren, New Holland Honeyeater, Willie Wagtail, Magpie-lark and Australian Magpie.

 Red-kneed Dotterel

Superb Fairy-wren 

Day Two – Mount Compass, Granite Island
Australasian Grebe, Australian Wood Duck, Dusky Moorhen, Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo, Adelaide Rosella, Laughing Kookaburra, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Red Wattlebird, Welcome Swallow, Sooty Oystercatcher, Little Pied Cormorant & Pacific Gull

Adelaide Rosella

Pacific Gull

Day Three – Mount Compass, McLaren Vale
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Silvereye, Black Falcon, Black-shouldered Kite, Rainbow Lorikeet, Little Wattlebird, White-plumed Honeyeater & Mistletoebird

Rainbow Lorikeet

Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike

Day Four – Mount Compass, Port Nourlunga
Black Kite, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Spotted Turtle-Dove, Grey Teal, Australian Hobby, Common Bronzewing & Fairy Martin
Common Bronzewing

Day Five – Hallett Cove, Scott Creek CP
Collared Sparrowhawk, White-throated Treecreeper, Noisy Miner, Singing Honeyeater, Grey Fantail, Grey Currawong, Little Raven & Weebill

Noisy Miner

White-throated Treecreeper

Day Six – Mount Compass, Kuipto Forest, Port Nourlunga
Red-browed Finch, Australian Reed Warbler, Golden-headed Cisticola, Eastern Spinebill, Nankeen Night-heron, Eastern Reef Egret, Long-billed Corella & Little Corella
 Little Corella’s

Day Seven – Belair, Mount Compass
Hardhead & White-browed Scrubwren

 Hardhead (White-eyed Duck)

Day Eight – Aldinga Scrub, Mount Magnificent
Dusky Woodswallow, Grey Shrike-thrush, Musk Duck, Peaceful Dove & Brown Falcon

Musk Duck

Day Nine – Hindmarsh Island, Goowla, Currency Creek CP, Scott CP
Pied Oystercatcher, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Red-capped Plover, Red-necked Stint, Latham’s Snipe, Australasian Shoveler, Australasian Pipit, Stubble Quail, Horsfield’s Bushlark, Elegant Parrot, Tree Martin, Brown Goshawk, Crescent Honeyeater & Striated Pardalote

 Elegant Parrot

Day Ten – Inman River, Hindmarsh River CP
Chestnut Teal, Hoary-headed Grebe, Crested-shrike Tit and Musk Lorikeet

Musk Lorikeet

Day Eleven – Greenfields Saltpans, St Kilda
White-fronted Chat, Banded Stilt, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Brown Thornbill

 Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater

White-fronted Chat

Day Twelve – Newland Head, Talisker CP, Nixon Skinner CP
Scarlet Robin, Brown-headed Honeyeater, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Painted-button Quail, Golden Whistler, White-naped Honeyeater

 Dusky Woodswallow

Golden Whistler

Day Thirteen – Hindmarsh Island, Scott CP
Australian Shelduck, Yellow Thornbill, Little Eagle

Australian Shelduck

Day Fifteen – Belair CP, Laratinga Wetlands
Little Grassbird, Jacky Winter, Buff-rumped Thornbill, Sacred Kingfisher, Black-fronted Dotterel, Whistling Kite, Blue-billed Duck, Pink-eared Duck, Freckled Duck

 Sacred Kingfisher

Day Seventeen – Morialta CP, Para Wirra RC
Brown Treecreeper, White-browed Babbler, Emu, Eastern Rosella, White-winged Chough, Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, Rainbow Bee-eater, Brush Bronzewing

 Rainbow Bee-eater


Day Eighteen – Ferris McDonald CP, Monarto CP
Purple-gaped Honeyeater, Spotted Pardalote, Shy Heathwren, Variegated Fairy-wren, Australian Ringneck

Day Nineteen – Coorong NP
Beautiful Firetail

Day Twenty – Hindmarsh Island, Goowla
Fairy Tern

Day Twenty One – Dubai Airport
Common Myna

In total 157 species were seen of which 133 were new species for me.

Other ‘items’ of interest included:



Shingleback Lizard

Chris Waring