Whyalla Conservation Park, Lake Gillies, Venus Bay, Middleback Road
After a second night of leaving money behind at the Lyndhurst Hotel, Motel, Caravan and Camping Park, we headed south through Port Augusta to the Whyalla Conservation Park and quickly found both Slender-billed Thornbill and Western Grasswren. The GW was "baled up" for a short time in a large, prickly acacia and gave excellent views but "reduced" photo opportunities.
Western Grasswren Amytornis textilis
From there we headed west to Lake Gilles near Kimba. The next morning we saw lots. Blue-breasted, Variegated and Splendid Fairy-wrens can be an identification challenge. To say the least. When the males are in eclipse plumage, these are best differentiated on the female plumage. There were several detailed conversations as to the ID of specific birds seen. The knowledge of Phil, Dan, Tim and Owen supplemented by Alison, Pete, David, Angus Brad and Matt was amazing to observe and was equivalent to having a portable new Australian Bird Guide by your elbow. Better actually, as the first four were a walking Shazam for Australian birds. I have no images of FWs, Light too dark; Birds too fast. Western Yellow Robin was another lifer bird for me. But no Copper-backed Quail-thrush.
Splendid Fairy-wren, female Malurus splendens
Western Yellow Robin Eopsaltria griseogularis
Restless Flycatcher Myiagra inquieta
After lunch, the group split as nine of us went further west for 200km to see Chuckles and the others went east to get home a tad early or look in other locations. Chuckles is much better dressed than on my previous visit. He is currently being "managed" by site 55 who gather fish off cuts from the cleaning benches and feed him, on the wing, when birders come. He is very well trained.
Laughing Gull, Chuckles Leucophaeus atricilla
There were plenty of other birds at Venus Bay including this South Australian form of the Pacific Gull, photographed on a caravan roof. It has a white eye and sharp lores.
|Pacific Gull Larus pacificus georgii|
|Copper-backed Quail-thrush Cinclosoma clarum|