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Australia Arid Lands Botanic Garden

AUSTRALIA | Saturday, 11 November 2023 | Views [36]

The Flies were my favorite sculpture, but I hate the buzzing kind, AALBG

The Flies were my favorite sculpture, but I hate the buzzing kind, AALBG

THE TEMPERATURE HAS BEEN SOARING through the 80s and 90s and topped out at 108° on Friday. For you Celsius fans, that’s 42°C—¡mucho caliente! We got an early start, arriving at Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden right as the gates opened. Just 30-years old, the Garden encompasses more than 600 acres—250 hectares—with a diverse collection of Australia’s arid zone plants and many interesting metal sculptures—the Flies were my favorite!


               A A L B G


                              Watching the Watchers

Where there are plants, there are sure to be birds. And where there are birds you are likely to find Connie. She had her binoculars peeled for Rufous Field Wrens and Elegant Parrots. Two Kangaroos eyeballed us while we stalked a pair of drab-looking field wrens from bush to bush. We got several good looks but no photos. While your eyes can “edit out” extraneous twigs and leaves, the camera focuses on whatever is most prominent—and in my experience, that’s seldom the bird!


                         Redthroat (for identification only!)


                                     Chirruping Wedgebills

I had better luck with the Redthroat, a bird we first saw in Flinders Ranges NP but couldn’t photograph. This time he posed just long enough for what birders call a “record shot”—good enough for positive ID but nothing that will make the cut for Birding Magazine. I also managed to get a shot of a pair of Chirruping Wedgebills, a species we have seen but never photographed.


                        Zebra Finches


                          Shingleback's Morning Stretch

The temperature had climbed by the time we discovered the bird hide and its tiny water feature, and so had the wind. The Elegant Parrots that visit the pool for a morning quaff had already left or hadn’t shown up at all. Graham, a “local” birder—he drove 4 hours from Adelaide—gave us some advice while we watched a flock of Zebra Finches and the resident pair of Shingleback Lizards at the water. We will be back in Port Augusta on our way to Adelaide and will take another shot at Arid Lands.


                     Lake Giles Conservation Area


                          Singing Honeyeater, Lake Giles


                                  Inland Thornbill, Lake Giles

The wind continued to blow over the weekend but the temperature dropped; Saturday’s high was only 76°. We added a layer of clothing and drove 150km to Lake Giles Conservation Area, a dried up salt lake where we hoped to find Copperback Quail Thrush and Western Grass Wren. I wasn’t surprised when we came up empty. Again! But I managed to get nice photos of a Singing Honeyeater and an Inland Thornbill. The surprise of the morning was the Slenderbilled Thornbill, a new species for us and one we hadn’t been expecting.


                            Surprise Bird of the Day—Slender-billed Thornbill

Back in Port Augusta we learned that our wonderful apartment’s sliver lining came with a dark cloud. It seems that the adjacent art centre and park are weekend concert venues. Saturday’s bill featured both kinds of music, Country and Western! It was just loud enough to be annoying but earplugs (don’t leave home without ‘em) made a good nights sleep possible.



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