Thursday, October 7, 2010


I slept quite well last night, for about 6 hours, although I was awake by 3:30 am.† I finally gave up trying to get back to sleep and got up at about 4:30.† My old body is clearly still adapting to the time change.† I think Iím running a sleep deficit, but Iíll catch up in the coming days, Iím sure.


So, I caught up on internet stuff this morning, had my humble breakfast (yes, a ham and cheese sandwich, with some fruit), and was out of here by about 8.† I caught a train across the street and rode out to a suburb where my Sydney birder acquaintance, Melissa, picked me up.† We were off to the Royal National Park, south of Sydney, for the day.


It was a pretty cloudy day, but we never had any more than a few random sprinkles, so that was fine with me.† For me, that is much better than being too hot, like I was the last time I was in Sydney at this time of year.† It was a record high for Sydney that time, over 100 degrees F.† Today was maybe in the high 60ís F.† Very nice for this Seattle boy.


We walked along a road in the park and there was quite a bit of bird activity.† We saw some good birds, like Eastern Spinebill, Olive-backed Oriole, and Sacred Kingfisher.† Nothing rare or even uncommon, but lots of good solid Aussie birds for me to enjoy.† After a few hours of that, we drove to a picnic area and had a nice picnic lunch that Melissa had brought along.† We had Magpies serenading us as we ate, hoping that something might come their way, but all they got was Melissa warbling back at them.† She is really good at imitating their distinctive warbling sound.


After lunch we walked out to a point that overlooked the sea, and it was windy and the waves were great.† We didnít see the birds we were hoping to see there, but we did see a magnificent White-bellied Sea-eagle soaring overhead.† After that we drove to a patch of coastal heathland, looking for Southern Emu-wrens.† We dipped on the emu-wrens, but did get fleeting looks at a bird that I decided was definitely a Beautiful Firetail, which is a kind of finch and a lifer for me.† We hung around quite a while, trying to get better looks or trying to see the emu-wrens, which we believed were in the same area, but two fleeting looks was all I got of the firetail.† It was a marginal sighting, but I decided it met my criteria to count it for my life list.


By the end of the day, my trip list was up to 44 species, so I have gotten an unexpectedly fast start on my trip list this time.† I only met Melissa (online) about a week ago, so today was a bonus day for me.† She dropped me back at the train station about 4, and I came back into town.


I caught up with online stuff, and I had some more of my Bundy rum with orange-mango juice.† I also had a good long Instant Messaging session with my friend Fred in Sacramento.† The internet sure is great for keeping in touch with home.† I had picked up some beef lasagna at the pasta takeaway place on the corner, and I heated that in my little microwave and had a nice little dinner.† Two other things are interesting enough to mention, I think.


First, I was getting a little chilly while I was hanging out here in my room, so I decided to try on the pajamas they gave me on the plane flight.† I figured they would be too small for me, but I thought I might as well try them on.† It turns out that the tops fit just fine, and the bottoms are ok, too, if a little tight at the waist.† They are very stretchy, though, and very comfortable.† They are made of material like a thin sweat suit.† Once I figured out that you donít wear underwear with pajamas, they were extremely comfortable, so now I have a nice lounging suit for the evenings.† I donít think I would wear them on the plane, though, like my seat mate did.† He went to the lavatory and changed soon after take off, and then changed back as we approached Sydney.† They are a bit tight on me to do that, though, with my somewhat rotund figure.† The tops have a nice stylized kangaroo on the front - Qantasís logo, I guess.† Iíll spare you a picture of me in them; I know you were worried about that.


Secondly, as I was heating my lasagna, I went out onto my little balcony and was enjoying the night time city scene.† I noticed some large black birds flying around over the park.† I decided they could only be ravens, based on their black color and size.† But, that seemed like an extremely strange thing for ravens to do, in the dark, and to what purpose?† So, having an inkling of an idea, I got my binoculars and soon confirmed they werenít birds at all, but flying foxes, which is what Aussieís call giant fruit bats.† I had seen them in the nearby botanical gardens in 2002, but only in the daytime.† You can see some pictures I took of them in 2002 here:†




And here:†




I will look for them tomorrow when I visit the botanical gardens, and maybe get some more pictures.


I have a few pictures from yesterday and today, but I donít feel like processing them and putting them up on the website tonight, so maybe tomorrow.† None of the ones from yesterday and today are very exciting, Iím afraid.† Maybe Iíll do better tomorrow.


I hope I can sleep a little later tomorrow morning; 4:30 is too early to be getting up.


Itís great to be here in Oz again, and Iím having a ball so far.† It is almost 9 PM, and I think Iíll watch TV and try to stay up another hour, once I get this up on the web.† I may or may not make it, though, Iím fading fast.