Well, the birding part of the trip is over now, and all that remains is the long journey home. The trip has been wonderful, living up to all my expectations, but it is always a great thing to get home.
The lasagna and salad from the local roadhouse were great last night. I had my dinner, did a little computer stuff, watched a little TV, and I settled down by 9.
Up this morning about 6:30, but I doddered around here and didn’t get out of here until about 9. I tried the Curtain fig road again several times today, looking for Brown Quail, but never saw any. I did have a nice view of a Black-shouldered Kite in flight, and that was fun. I also went to Lake Tinaroo again, looking for the Common Sandpiper, but dipped on that one, too. I saw a couple of terms flying fairly high, but I couldn’t be sure what species they were. I expect they were Whiskered Terns, which would have been a trip bird, but I couldn’t rule out Gull-billed Tern, which is also on the list for Lake Tinaroo. The Whiskered Tern is much smaller than the Gull-billed, but I had no other birds for comparison, since they were flying overhead. So, I didn’t count the terns.
I also tried for Channel-billed Cuckoo where Alan had suggested, but didn’t see any. I did see a couple of cranes come flying in to a field, though, and they turned out to be Sarus Cranes, the species I had seen yesterday afternoon at Bromfield Swamp. There turned out to be about 20 of them in the field. I took pictures, including one of a couple of them flying. See Photos14. To get an idea of the power of my camera lenses (the regular lens plus the tele-extender), look at photo number 1337, Yungaburra view with Sarus Cranes. That is the normal view, and the cranes are just to the right of the center of the picture. You may or may not be able to see them, as they are just little gray blobs in the regular view. I am quite happy that my little point-and-shoot camera can give me shots like 1316 and 1318 from such a distance. The flying shot, number 1330, was at 22X also, hand-held.
I came “home” a little after noon, and had bread, butter, peanut butter, and cheese open faced sandwiches for my lunch. I had also stopped at the local roadhouse and gotten a caramel slice for my “dessert of lunch”, as our kids used to call it.
This afternoon I hung out here at my unit at Chambers and did computer stuff. I chatted online with Christina and my friend Fred in Sacramento, then I came back here to my unit and processed my pictures and made the Photos14 album. In a little while, I’ll see about getting it uploaded to the website, along with this. I have Campbells Chunky Vegetable Beef soup and my frozen veggies for dinner, and maybe a little cheese, since I have extra cheese. I also have a Macadamia slice for my dessert.
The plan is that tomorrow I pack up for the plane (which is a lot of work), and then drive into Cairns and turn in the car at the airport. Then I catch an afternoon flight to Brisbane, which is about a two hour flight. In Brisbane, I plan to take a taxi to a motel near the airport, and then on Wednesday morning at about 11, I head out for L.A., connecting to an Alaska Airlines flight to Seattle. If all goes according to schedule, I will leave Brisbane at about 11 o’clock on Wednesday the 15th, and arrive in Seattle at about noon on the same day. But it will be 18 hours for me, not one hour. Thus are the mysteries of the International Date Line and time zones. This time the trip across the Pacific Ocean won’t be an overnight affair, it will be daylight the whole way. A very long day for the old Rambler, but I end up at home, and that is a good thing. Based on past experience, it will be a whole lot easier on my body than the overnight flight on the way over. It will be boring, but there are lots of movies and TV shows to watch, so the time will pass. Thanks to the magic of Frequent Flyer miles, I will be in Business Class, and that makes a hell of a difference – more than you can imagine if you haven’t experienced it.
So, that is probably the last Ramblings from Australia. I might add one more when I get home – that is the tradition. It has been another great trip, and I thank all of you who have followed along with me via these Ramblings and Photos, and I especially thank all those who have emailed me along the way. Your emails are what keep me from being homesick and make it possible for me to make such a long trip all alone.
Barry Downunder, heading for home and loving it