Sunday, 28 August 2022

Billiatt Conservation Park, Browns Road at Monarto Conservation Park, Ferries McDonald Conservation Park and across counrty to Meadows Hotel, South Australia.

Some more full on Birding and Orchid hunting with Sue and Dave. 
Australia, Day Seventy Four.
Ebird List for Billiatt Conservation Park.
Ebird List for Ferries McDonald Conservation Park
 
Billiatt CP, which goes on as far as the Horizon in every direction, but it's not big so I am told.
We left our hotel in Waikerie early and were soon heading for Billiatt off to the South, on the way to Loxton we picked up Common Bronzewing (Phaps chalcoptera), Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus), White-winged Chough (Corcorax melanorhamphos), Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen), Australian Ringneck (Barnardius zonarius), Crested Pigeon (Ocyphaps lophotes), Whistling Kite (Haliastur sphenurus), Yellow-throated Miner (Manorina flavigula), Little Raven (Corvus mellori), Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris), Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula), Pied Butcherbird (Cracticus nigrogularis) and Little Wattlebird (Anthochaera chrysoptera).
A very bad shot of the Striated Grasswren (Amytornis striatus), such a bad shot you can't see the Rocket Pack all Grasswren species have on their backs. This makes them so ********ing fast between the grass tussock you have no chance with a camera.

From Loxton we added Masked Lapwing (Vanellus miles), Magpie-lark (Grallina cyanoleuca), Greater Bluebonnet (Northiella haematogaster), Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater (Acanthagenys rufogularis), Galah's (Eolophus roseicapilla), Tree Martin (Petrochelidon nigricans) and rather uncommon down in this part of SA a White-backed Swallow (Cheramoeca leucosterna).
White-browed Babbler (Pomatostomus superciliosus).
White-browed Babbler (Pomatostomus superciliosus).
We arrived at Billiatt and drove into the reserve to a spot Sue and Dave know well were we parked and walked out into the Scrub covered Dunes, our main target here were Striated Grasswren (Amytornis striatus) and a couple of Honeyeater species.
White-eared Honeyeater (Nesoptilotis leucotis).
White-eared Honeyeater (Nesoptilotis leucotis).
Not that far into the walk Dave said he heard what he thought was one of the Grasswrens and a few moments later we had the first of many fleeting views of this lifer for me, I had thought the other Grasswrens were hard but these guys were a nightmare to get good views of, so down went the camera and the bins were working over time but in the end I got some nice/short sighting and a crap photo.
Shy Heathwren (Hylacola cauta).
Shy Heathwren (Hylacola cauta).
Shy Heathwren (Hylacola cauta).
As we walked on up and down a couple of Dunes we found Horsfield's Bronze-Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx basalis), a gang of White-browed Babblers (Pomatostomus superciliosus) with one bird getting very close and inquisitive, Purple-backed Fairywren (Malurus assimilis), Chestnut Quail-thrush (Cinclosoma castanotum) and after some searching another of the targets a White-eared Honeyeater (Nesoptilotis leucotis) which showed well but always straight into the sun.
Karoonda Silo Art, really regret not photographing more of these as they are stunning but there always seemed to be another bird to go looking for instead.
We turned around and started to walk back as Sue and Dave were disappointed with the numbers of bird but I was well happy with what we were seeing and this continued when we caught up with a Shy Heathwren (Hylacola cauta) which also stayed in to the sun when it came close, Inland Thornbill (Acanthiza apicalis), Spotted Pardalote (Pardalotus punctatus), Black-faced Cuckooshrike (Coracina novaehollandiae), Grey Shrikethrush (Colluricincla harmonica), Western Whistler (Pachycephala fuliginosa), Australian Raven (Corvus coronoides), Grey Butcherbird (Cracticus torquatus) and a heard only Southern Scrub-Robin (Drymodes brunneopygia).
Australian Owlet-nightjar (Aegotheles cristatus).
We returned to the 4X4 and drove off the site and headed for Browns Road, Monarto picking up Brown Goshawk (Accipiter fasciatus), Black (Milvus migrans) and Black-shouldered Kites (Elanus axillaris) on the way as well as passing a very smartly painted set of Silo's at Karoonda, once there we parked and walked around the woodlands.
White-winged Chough's (Corcorax melanorhamphos) nest.
Almost immediately Dave picked up a species I had really hoped we would see, a brilliant Australian Owlet-nightjar (Aegotheles cristatus) which was sat in a hole napping in the bit of sun there was.
Diamond Firetail (Stagonopleura guttata) one of a few.
We also found New Holland (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae), White-naped (Melithreptus lunatus), Yellow-faced (Caligavis chrysops) and Brown-headed Honeyeaters (Melithreptus brevirostris), Red-rumped Parrot (Psephotus haematonotus), Purple-crowned Lorikeet (Parvipsitta porphyrocephala), Crimson Rosella (Platycercus elegans), Red-capped (Petroica goodenovii) and Hooded Robin (Melanodryas cucullata), Willie-wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys), Grey Fantail (Rhipidura albiscapa), White-browed Babbler and another lifer Diamond Firetail (Stagonopleura guttata).
Thick-lip Spider-orchid (Arachnorchis cardiochila) and a happy chap.
Our final site of the day was just down the road at Ferries McDonald Conservation Park and it was going to be a good one, almost as soon as we started to walk along the footpath I saw a very smart Orchid growing by the side of the track Thick-lip Spider-orchid (Arachnorchis cardiochila) and Dave soon found the even more amazing looking Fine Haired Caladenia (Caladenia capillata).
Thick-lip Spider-orchid (Arachnorchis cardiochila).
Thick-lip Spider-orchid (Arachnorchis cardiochila).
We continued on walking around the woodlands seeing Eastern Spinebill (Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris), Yellow-faced, Spiny-cheeked and New Holland Honeyeater but we only managed to hear the target Purple-gaped Honeyeater (Lichenostomus cratitius) a this point. 
Fine Haired Caladenia (Caladenia capillata).
Fine Haired Caladenia (Caladenia capillata).
Fine Haired Caladenia (Caladenia capillata).
As we continued on we saw and heard  Shy Heathwrens again and found some more orchids including Blue Fairy Orchid (Pheladenia deformis) and a Greenhood species, possibly Dwarf Snail Orchid (Pterostylis nana).
Dwarf Snail Orchid (Pterostylis nana).
Dwarf Snail Orchid (Pterostylis nana).
As we returned to the vehicle I lagged behind a tad taking a few plant picture but I then heard Dave and Sue getting little excited and arrived at the Car Park just in time get views of a very nice
Square-tailed Kite (Lophoictinia isura) being hassled by a coupe of Brown Falcons, a new bird for SA for me after seeing a couple up in Queensland.
Blue Fairy Orchid (Pheladenia deformis).
In the same area of woodland we saw a few other plant including Climbing Sundew (Drosera planchonii) and a couple more that need names still.
Another Greenhood type species.
A short way along the road we turned right and parked when Dave heard a calling Purple-gaped Honeyeater and this time we managed to get views of it in the trees on the other side of the road.
Climbing Sundew (Drosera planchonii).
We now started to head back towards Debs but we still did some birding on the way and Dave managed to find some singing and displaying Australasian Bushlarks (Mirafra javanica), the only problem was they were a long way off but fortunately they were singing clearly and even on the distant birds we could pick out the chestnut in the wings.
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Our last stop was going to be for a meal in the Greenman Inn in Ashbourne but when we got there it was closed so we met Deb at the Meadows Hotel where we had a very disappointingly average meal.
Had a great couple of days birding with Sue and Dave, many Thanks and hope we can do a repeat run some where again next year.

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