October 11, 2010
I had a really long day of birding today – picked up at 7 am and dropped back at my motel about 5:30 pm. I’m very tired, but it is only 7:40 PM, so I might as well try to record my day here. It might be kind of short or terse (I know, that would probably be considered a blessing by most of my readers.).
I slept quite well again last night, as I usually do when on the road. The bed isn’t very good, but that doesn’t seem to matter, except my back is stiff for a while in the morning from the bed being more firm than I prefer. I was up at 5:45 and had a mandarin orange and a large ham and cheese sandwich (homemade, of course) for my brekkie, and Keith (a local birder who took me out in 2006 when I came through here) picked me up at 7. I noticed that the electrical power to half my room was out this morning, and I left a note for the management before I left, as the office wasn’t open yet. I saw another guest this morning, and half of her power was out, too, so I figured they would fix it during the day. It is a good thing that the outlet powering my CPAP machine didn’t go out during the night, as that would have interfered with my sleep in a major way. My fridge was out this morning, though, and I hoped that power would be restored during the day, and it was.
I had arranged for this day of birding with Keith many months ago. He had taken me out in 2006, and it was one of my most productive days of birding ever. I saw over 100 species with him back in 2006, one of the two days I have ever achieved that total. We had another birder with us today, too, a Swedish-Canadian woman by the name of Svea, who had wanted to go on one of the local bird club outings, but the timing didn’t work out, and so Keith had invited her to “tag along” today. She isn’t an especially experienced birder, but she was very easy going and seemed very grateful to be allowed to tag along today.
Keith picked me up, and we then went to one of the local train stations to pick up Svea. She is in Australia visiting one of her children. While we were waiting at the little rural train stop, the day started great with a little group of Musk Lorikeets flying over and landing in some trees a little ways away. I got out my scope, and got good looks at them. A somewhat uncommon bird for my trip list, before we even got started for the day.
I had sent Keith a “wish list” of birds, and we targeted them, although we were open to anything we found, of course. Very early on we got Figbird, Red-whiskered Bulbul, and Brown Quail – none of which I had considered very likely, at least today. On the way to our first real birding site, we also picked up Yellow-rumped Thornbill, which I appreciated, as distinguishing among the various thornbills is tough for me. There were also two Black-shouldered Kites on wires on the way to our first site, and they turned out to be the only raptors we saw all day, which is very unusual.
As it turned out, we missed on most of our target birds, but saw plenty of others for my trip list. I was very glad to see Superb Lyrebird; it was one of the targeted species, but we had missed it until we were on the way out of the place we had hoped to see it, and one ran across the road in front of us. It is a big bird, kind of the size of a pheasant, or larger, and very easy to identify when running across the road in front of you.
Some other “good” birds we saw were Variegated Fairy-wren, Scarlet Honeyeater, Buff-banded Rail, and Latham’s Snipe. Another highlight was really excellent views of Red-rumped Parrots. I had forgotten how really pretty they are, when you see them flying away from you, with their wings spread and their red rumps showing. Later a female Common Koel (a type of cuckoo) flew across the road in front of us, and I later saw it fly away, and was able to identify it from what I saw.
By the end of the day, I had seen between 80 and 90 species, and I had added 38 to my trip list, bringing me to 99 total now. It was a really fun day, and a very productive one as well. The weather was really changeable – we had light rain, then sun, then more rain, then more sun, etc, and a lot of clouds in between. By the end of the day, it was really quite nice, but we were constantly looking up into the tops of trees with very bright clouds as a background, and that didn’t help the birding at all. It was not a day of “good light” for birding.
At the end of the day, we stopped at a pub and Keith made lists for Svea and me, of what we had seen (and heard) today. Keith had seen and heard a total of 98 species. Not up to our total of four years ago, but quite respectable.
So, my meals today. For my brekkie, I had a ham and cheese sandwich and a mandarin orange, as I mentioned. For lunch, I had a chicken and veggie pie and a beef, cheese, and bacon pie. My dinner consisted of a sliced chicken and cheese sandwich, after some mixed nuts with my drinkies. I had left a plastic container I had gotten in Sydney in the freezer compartment, with a little water in the bottom, and it froze enough to give me ice for one good rum and orange-mango juice drink, and then I had a couple of beers. I need to buy another ice tray, to replace the one I must have left in Sydney. I figure I left it in the kitchenette sink after emptying it that morning, and so I didn’t see it as I was packing up. Unfortunately, I don’t have anything sweet left for my dessert, but I guess that is probably actually better for me anyway.
So, now I will be completely on my own for the next 5 days. Tomorrow I head north along the coast, to a suburb of Newcastle. I have three nights there, in a cabin at a trailer park (caravan park or tourist park in Aussie-speak). I’ll have a kitchen and free internet access in my cabin, supposedly. It sounds like the weather could be showery for the next few days, but that shouldn’t bother me. I have some great info about birding sites around Newcastle, from the internet, so I should have a good time there. It will be very nice to have a kitchen again, after a couple of nights of sandwiches here in my motel room.
Today was a long day of being kept very busy, and now I will move into a more leisurely segment of my trip. I plan to take a scenic route up to Newcastle, and I have a couple of birding sites to stop at on the way, if I have time. Now I’ll take a look at my pictures from today, and I’ll see if I can get them processed and put up onto the website as the next Photos album.
The Adventure continues…