Part 2: Stirling Range
After the disappointment of Dryandra Forest, the abundance and diversity of a wealth of cooperative wildlife at Stirling Range was a welcome relief. In fact, the photographic opportunities were so good in the vicinity of the campsite where I was staying that I didn't need to drive a single kilometre during my 6 day stay as there were plenty of subjects just begging to be photographed within easy walking distance of my campervan.
Willie Wagtails are feisty, little birds and the one pictured above certainly wasn't shy in defending its nesting territory from an Australian Raven who had come down for a drink from a dripping tap in the campsite. It didn't seem to have much effect though. Despite the best efforts of the Willie Wagtail, the Raven seemed completely unperturbed by the vicious attack and continued to go about its business as if nothing was happening.
Crested Shrike-tits are often quite difficult to track down but they are usually fairly easy to find around the retreat's grounds. This distinctive white-bellied western race is occasionally given full specific status by some authorites.
Dusky Woodswallow (Artamus cyanopterus)
Australian Pipit (Anthus australis)
Throughout the day, but especially in the late afternoon, a resident Owlet-nightjar could often be seen basking in the sun at the entrance to its daytime roost in the hollow of a dead tree.
The endemic Western Yellow Robin is common in the woodlands on the Retreat's grounds and, like many Australian robins, is, at times, extremely tame and approachable. So much so, that it is often too close to focus on!
In other places that I have visited in southwestern Australia Elegant Parrots are usually quite shy and rarely allow you to get very close, but at Stirling Range they are generally quite tolerant and, with care and decent fieldcraft, it is not too difficult to get frame-filling images of this delightfully delicate little parrot.
The grey water pond at the back of the Retreat's main buildings is a good place to search for Sacred Kingfishers, who could usually be found perched on overhanging branches as they patiently waited for a fish to come close to the surface of the pond.
A pair of Grey Teals appeared to have taken up residence on the pond and they made beautiful subjects to photograph in the soft, early evening light.
A Little Eagle was a regular fly-over visitor and was occasionally seen soaring over the edge of the field bordering the property.
The male Splendid Fairywren is surely one of the most spectacularly beautiful birds in the world...Is it possible to get a more vibrant blue?! These stunning little birds were common around the woodland edges and in scrubby areas.
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