ON THE ROAD — The Australian King Parrot (Alisterus scapularis) is a bird of rainforests, palm forests, dense gullies, clearings, and parks and gardens from Cairns south along the East Coast. With the temperature hitting 37 degrees Celsius in Melbourne today this pair came to sit out the heat of the day in a gazebo in Hurstbridge.
ON THE ROAD — Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus axillarus) in Alice Springs.
ON THE ROAD — Great cloudscapes on the second day of our road trip, Mataranka to Alice Springs.
ON THE ROAD — red sand and desert flowers north of Port Augusta, South Australia.
ON THE ROAD — Australia has 28 species of grass trees (Xanthorrhoea). Some have tall trunks, but not so the grass tree common around Adelaide, Xanthorrhoea semiplana. The narrow leaves are often over a metre in length and dance in unison in a strong wind. The tall inflorescence-bearing stems can be up to 4m tall.
ON THE ROAD — No need for a bird hide to get up close and personal with the Australian magpie (Cracticus tibicen, probably race telenocua). This glossy specimen came to greet us when we stopped the car near the walking track to the bird hide at the Arid Lands Botanic Gardens. “Over there”, he or she indicated with a gesture of the beak. Neither the Black-backed, nor White-backed, nor Western Magpies extend into the Top End of the Northern Territory, but with many races they cover most of the rest of the continent.
ON THE ROAD — surrounded by a large expanse of small desert shrubs, a small patch of greener and larger vegetation marks an artificial water point at the Arid Lands Botanic Gardens, Port Augusta. In the mornings and afternoons the water attracts many of the small birds that spend most of their lives very privately amongst the shrubbery. From a permanent bird hide about 15 metres away we saw the White-winged Fairy Wren (Malurus leucopterus, race leuconotus), Variegated Fairy Wren (Malurus lambertii), Crested Pigeon ( Ocyphaps lophotes) and Zebra Finches (Taeniopygia guttata).
ON THE ROAD — Eremophila splendens casts a sharp shadow on the red sands at midday. Photographed at the Arid Lands Botanic Gardens Port Augusta.
ON THE ROAD — The Flowering Lignum (Eremophila polyclada) uses a sweet scent to invite insects of many species to feast on its flowers. Found at the Arid Lands Botanic Gardens at Port Augusta.