Gluepot! (and calendar)

Gluepot was given its name because it’s possible to be stuck there if it rains – I’d love to be stuck there. The reserve is 50,000 ha of semi-arid mallee scrub in South Australia, about 4 hours drive northwest of Mildura. I drove up in two days via Ouyen. Gluepot was purchased by BirdLife Australia in 1997 and is a wonderful place for birds including several endangered species (which I didn’t see, unless that miner really did have black ears).


Mallee Ringneck
Mallee Ringneck (Barnardius barnardi)
Canon 5DIII, 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/640, f5.6, ISO 400, focal length 400mm


The only images I managed to capture with the kind of pixel-peeping quality I aspire to were these shots of a Mallee Ringneck; they were very memorable images to take. Accommodation at Gluepot is camping with long-drop dunnies. I was there in winter and the nights were twelve hours long, which is a long time to sleep in your vehicle. The temperature the first night dropped to -3 degrees Celsius and I was well rugged up when I unbent myself and set out early that first morning to hike around bush with my camera gear. After taking photographs of White-backed Fairy-wrens, which can best be described as abstract, the rising sun rapidly raised the temperature until I found myself wearing thermals, two pairs of socks, jeans, a shirt, a jumper, an oilskin jacket, a woolly scarf, gloves and a Canadian down-filled ski vest with the sun beating down on me and the temperature in the low twenties. I was ridiculously hot and was heading back to my vehicle to get changed when I came face to face with this beautiful bird. It stopped feeding when it saw me so I slowly backed away until it started picking blossoms again. I was hotter for the next half hour than I am on the crazily hot days of summer.


Mallee Ringneck 2 - Kim WormaldMallee Ringneck (Barnardius barnardi)
Canon 5DIII, 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/640, f6.3, ISO 340, focal length 400mm


Mallee Ringnecks are a subspecies of the Australian Ringneck (Barnardius zonarius). They are large parrots that measure about 36cm and weigh about 160g. They have beautiful plumage with rich, disruptive colours that help camouflage them amongst the foliage and flowers. I loved having the opportunity to enjoy this bird’s stunning blues and greens with splashes of yellow and bright red forehead. I like the way the image above shows the birds’ head, tail and the picked blossom against a clear background rather than being lost amongst the eremophila.



Mallee Ringneck 3 - Kim WormaldMallee Ringneck (Barnardius barnardi)
Canon 5DIII, 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/640, f5.6, ISO 400, focal length 400mm


I used a range of settings for the images as I squatted in the red mallee sands and kept an eye on the large ants that were curiously exploring the new object in their territory, me.



Mallee Ringneck 4 - Kim WormaldMallee Ringneck (Barnardius barnardi)
Canon 5DIII, 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/400, f5.6, ISO 200, focal length 400mm


These images are amongst my favourites for the year. The Gluepot expedition was wonderful and it was good to share some of the time with Ken, a long-time birding friend with an outstanding knowledge of birds and their calls. I chose one of the Mallee Ringneck images for next year’s lirralirra calendar, though looking at them again there is another I like just as much – hopefully people will like the one I chose.




The 2015 calendar contains images I have really enjoyed taking, including the front cover image which I took  a few days ago on my way home from a rain-soaked trip to the Snowy Mountains. Click the following link if you’d like to see the calendar in more detail:  lirralirra 2015 calendar

Happy birding, Kim


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