Friday, February 5, 2010

Birding With The Pros - Pitt Town Lagoon and Sheyville National Park

Full and contented from a surprisingly good lunch we made the short drive to good old Pitt Town Lagoon eager to see if once again this little gem of a bird spot would deliver.

Weather had changed! Clouds had come in and covered the scorching sun, which was nice, but making our way down to the Lagoon was like walking into a steam sauna, humidity was approaching 100% and temperature had not yet dropped - well, we were not there to enjoy(?) and you cannot die from sweating(?) .. so we dived in ;-)

At first it all seemed a bit difficult, the Australian part of the company was not to happy about the never ending bashing through tall grass in the vicinity of water - absolutely prime snake territory - and trying to alert the snakes of our little party passing through probably had the same effect on all wildlife including the birds - what to do?

Slowing down and letting things happen around you is often the way to go and suddenly from nowhere was a little family of about 6 beautifully colored finch sized birds jumping around in the tall grass: Chestnut-breasted Mannikin - I have never seen them before :-)

During our exploration around the Lagoon we managed to a get close to a good selection of waders, however, the target species were not "home". Instead we had another surprise encounter with a (different?) Cuckoo. Unfortunately the pictures are not good enough for the blog, small bird in a tree 100 meters away is not "publishable" here. Instead I have included a link to some of the pictures from the trip down at the end of this post and invite anyone interested to take a look and chip in with comments on the Cuckoo in picture 18 and 19.

Apart from the excitement that comes along with being lost we were getting a bit birded out when exploring around in Sheyville National Park. Some Brown-headed Honeyeater and an unidentified Swift should have been photographic highlights - that could potentially have happened if I had changed to the much less light-hungry macro lens, instead of holding onto the reach of the bigma .. at least, such a swap would have allowed me to do a "proper" macro of the semi-macro fly photos you will have to content yourselves with.
All in all a great trip! Fantastic company and Pitt town and Bushell's Lagoons are always worth a visit. Indeed it could be argued that it would be sad to see everything in one go, since it would severely increase the activation barrier for going on the next trip :-) One would have to do something as stupid as starting up a year-list or similar madness to solve such "problems" :-D
Birding Road Trip

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