I don’t really see myself as a ‘twitcher’ but I admit to spending time observing birds with camera in hand. My recordings are logged to the Atlas of Living Australia at http://www.ala.org.au/ ALA records all Australian species and is used for research etc.
Birds can be viewed as the canary in the coalmine, they readily indicate how habitat is being altered or alternately, conserved for future generations.
Travelling north in South Australia means moving into arid country, a landscape type called Mallee. 100 kms north of Port Augusta I made camp but soon had my camera operational. In the following hour I photographed what I think was a mixed species flock. Small bush birds in Australia sometimes travel this way maybe as a protection strategy.
Sitella (male) Daphoenositta (Neositta) chrysoptera pileata is now listed as threatened in NSW due to habitat loss. This widespread but not often seen species is a very active tree trunk forager so tree loss means no food.
The female Daphoenositta (Neositta) chrysoptera pileata with a black cap seems a more striking bird to me, but I don’t see the world in ultraviolet as birds do, their colour receptors are much more advanced than our mammal eyesight.
Malurus (Leggeornis) lamberti (female)
This LBJ (little brown job) is the Inland Thornbill Acanthiza (Acanthiza) apicalis but I could be mistaken. This thornbill was feeding on the ground and in low bushes, behaviour which together with light eye-colour, helps in identification.
If you look hard you will see a crested bellbird running across the sand, this was my first sighting of this inland bird hence the poor quality photo. According to Birdlife Australia ” Sometimes they occur in mixed feeding flocks with Chestnut-rumped Thornbills and Red-capped Robins.” So it seems I was right. This species is listed as now endangered in Victoria where it should inhabit the Big Desert.
The Mulga Parrot Psephotus (Psephotus) varius also made its presence known.
I was heading to Coober, so soon I was to enter true arid Australia.
From here on its a good idea to carry extra water!