While we were having lunch on the bank of Lake Hattah in north west Victoria earlier this year, I spotted these two Galahs indulging in a very public display of affection. Well – it was not all that public; the only observers were the two of us. I can only assume that these birds were a pair and this was part of their bonding ritual; they mate for life.
The area around the lakes in the Hattah-Kulkyne National Park have large, old growth River Red Gums with many hollows. It certainly is a great place to see parrots like the Galahs. Other parrots species include
Burra Gorge in the mid north of South Australia is an interesting location for birding. This gorge marks the boundary between the hills further west and the dry plains to the east. It is therefore a transitional zone between the birds of the wetter parts to the west, especially around the Clare Valley about 40km away, and flora and fauna of the saltbush plains immediately to the east.
On my most recent visit last spring, the bird life was not very prominent because it was midday on a rather warm day. It would be good to camp here for several days because I believe I’d get quite a good list of birds, especially first thing in the morning. Several Galahs looked like they were preparing to breed because they were investigating hollows in some of the trees in the picnic ground.
Nearby an Australian Magpie was already sitting on a nest and others were feeding recently fledged young begging to be fed.
Over recent days I’ve been writing about the Free Flight Bird Show at Taronga Zoo in Sydney. This show is, in my opinion, a must see when visiting this wonderful zoo. The talk by the keepers about Australian birds is interesting enough, but the antics of the trained birds are not only entertaining but are highly educational as well.
One of the birds in the show is a clever Galah shown in today’s photos. It is trained to collect a coin or a note from a willing spectator in the audience and then bring it back to the keeper, who pockets the money. A few minutes later the Galah returns the money to the hapless audience member. After the show audience members can get up close to some of the birds, including the Galah. This time the bird is trained to collect coins donated by people and to deposit them in a money box. In this way, over $75,000 has been collected in recent years towards conservation projects. This also enable people like me to have excellent photo opportunities.
I took this photo of the playground in the picnic area in the main street on a recent visit to Tintinara because of the piece of equipment in the foreground. It’s in the shape of a kangaroo, though I can’t recall if you get “red” kangaroos in the Tintinara region. (I just checked my field guide to Australian mammals – Red Kangaroos are found much further north.)
Next to the playground is this old water bowser (or water tower), a relic of a by-gone era when the steam trains would stop here to replenish their water tankers. In the background you can see the railway line which is the main line between Adelaide and Melbourne. The Overlander passenger train came through as I had my morning cuppa. It rarely stops in Tintinara these days, whereas in a the steam age there would have been several passenger services daily. Now the line is used mainly for heavy interstate freight traffic, mixed with one daily express passenger train daily.