Travelling South Australia
Last Friday evening we had a meeting to attend in the South Australian country town of Coonalpyn, about an hour’s drive from home and two hours South East of Adelaide. We decided to take the day off from work. My wife works in her native plant nursery most days and I on my writing.
The weather forecast was not looking good, but the start of the day was quite pleasant. We travelled via Tailem Bend to the small mallee community of Peake, nearly an hour east of Murray Bridge. Here we turned north for a few kilometres to a picnic ground called How Park. This small community park is now very run down with a dilapidated toilet block and club rooms, a strip of concrete formerly used as a cricket pitch and an open area previously used as a football oval.
Uninvited lunch guests:
This park would have been much used in earlier times, say in the 1950s and 60s, but its condition is now quite derelict. Some of the beautiful pine trees planted by early settlers are magnificent still; others have either died through the drought or been ravaged by storms. Despite this we still had our picnic lunch there. The numerous uninvited bush flies decided to join us. I only recorded a few birds in the park and didn’t take any photos. One notable sighting was of several Peaceful Doves who serenaded us while we dined.
Jabuk to Geranium:
After lunch we travelled to Jabuk and then on to Geranium. By now the hot north wind was increasing and the cloud cover intensifying. It was not a good day for birding and I saw very little of interest except for four Western Grey Kangaroos. On previous occasions I had seen many birds on this stretch of road. Today was a very poor birding day though I did see a family of White Winged Choughs.
One Tree Hill:
A few kilometres south of Geranium there is a locality known as One Tree Hill. It has many trees there so I don’t know why it is called that. Nearby is a soak used by the Aborigines in earlier times; it would have been one of the few places where there was fresh water in the district. There is no surface water now; the local farmers and their bores have lowered the water table. One feature of this locality is many hundreds of trees planted by a local grower, especially many kinds of Banksias (see photo). I was only able to get several photos before beating a hasty retreat to the car for shelter. From that point on it rained steadily all the way to our friends’ place in Coonalpyn.
While the rain was very welcome, the birding was disappointing. Next time we will pick better weather.