Friday evening, October 15, 2010
Well, Iím in Gloucester (pronounced ďglosterĒ) now.† I was up at about 6:15 this morning, after sleeping pretty well.† I made myself some lunch, had my breakfast, walked on the beach, and was over at the office doing online stuff by 8:15.
I forgot to upload my Ramblings09 this morning, so you get a double dose today, as I have just done so.† By the time I left at about 9:15, it was sprinkling, and the rain kept increasing all morning.
I had planned an indirect route to Gloucester, so I could stop at a couple of birding sites.† At Seaham, it was raining too hard to do any birding at the reserve there, although I did get some pictures of Red-rumped Parrots from the car, and I got a good look at a Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, which I had counted yesterday Ė BVD.† BVD means Better View Desired.† Today I got my better view.† At that same stop, I added Blue-faced Honeyeater to my trip list, without leaving the car.† Couldnít get a photo of this very photogenic bird, though.† Maybe later.
I made my way across country to my next stop, a little place called Karuah.† I had two target birds there.† There were reports of Bush Stone-Curlew on a particular street there, but I came up empty on that.† There is also an Osprey nest on a transmission line tower, and I watched it for 5 or 10 minutes, but there was no sign that the nest was active at this time.† So, no success with the birds, but I got to visit another little Aussie town Ė one that I expect few Americans ever visit.† I bought some potato chips there, too, to have with the sandwich I had made this morning.
After that, I headed for Gloucester.† It was after noon by then, and I stopped in a tiny town at a little rest area that had covered tables.† The rain had stopped by then, but the covered tables meant that they were dry.† I had my beef and cheese sandwich and potato chips, with a Diet Coke and a caramel slice from Woolworths, and I enjoyed my time there very much.
I got to Gloucester about 1:30 PM, and I drove around and oriented myself, then filled my tank with gas, and checked into my motel.† I have internet in my room here.† It is slow, but I think I have managed to upload my Photos05.† It only costs $5 a day, which is cheap by the standards over here.
The little fridge in my room had no ice (of course), but I had brought a baggie of ice from Stockton, in my little six-pack sized cold-pack, and I had plenty for my drinkies tonight.† There is a little freezer compartment in the fridge, so I will try to make some ice cubes to take along tomorrow, for tomorrow night, if I can remember.† The ice game is a challenge over here.
So, after checking in, I went online to catch up with email, and then I went out again, to visit a lookout point to the east of here, with a view back to Gloucester and the mountains behind it.† I also drove around and looked for two species of birds.† White-headed pigeons are reported to be around here, sometimes sitting on wires, so I was looking for them.† I had no luck, though, so I still need to add that one to my trip list.
The other species I was looking for is interesting, I think.† It is Torresian Crow.† They have 4 or 5 species of crows/ravens (corvids) over here, and they all look almost exactly the same.† You can separate them by their calls, and somewhat by their behavior.† But, the biggest giveaway is that they donít overlap much in their regional distribution.† So, in certain areas, you can be confidant that a large corvid is a particular species.† So far, I had been in the territory of the Australian Raven, so I have assumed that that is what I have been seeing.† Iím quite familiar with their calls now.† I think that here in Gloucester the common corvid is the Torresian Crow, so I was driving around trying to find one.† I did so, and I got a good look at it, but didnít hear it call.† I have an email out to a local expert (the guide I have hired for Sunday), asking if the corvids around Gloucester are indeed Torresian Crows.† If so, then I will have a second species for my trip list today.† Isnít this birding stuff fun?
I got my pictures all processed, from both yesterday and today.† It makes for a large Photos05, with a lot of bird pictures.† I feel like I am getting quite a few bird pictures this time.† They arenít very good technically, but they are good enough to remind me of what I have seen, and I think they make an excellent accompaniment to these Ramblings.† As I process them for the web, I put myself in the place of non-birders who have never visited Australia, and it seems to me like there is an amazing diversity of birds over here.† I am now up to 123 species for the trip (assuming I can count the Torresian Crow), and I have only photographed a small percentage of them, yet it seems like I have put up a lot of bird pictures.† I will end up posting duplicates of species, as I get pictures I like better than the ones already posted, and I havenít even seen half as many species as I expect to see, yet.
While my Photos05 was uploading with my slow connection here, I walked a couple of blocks into town and bought some fish and chips, which I brought back here to my room.† It was surprisingly good, considering I got it in a small town a long way from the sea.† Thank God for frozen food.† It is 8:30 now, and I am all caught up with everything internet related, so I can get this Ramblings up, make a Facebook posting, and read my book while I wait until it is late enough to go to bed.
Tomorrow I plan to drive up into the mountains, to see what birds I can see.† There are a number of excellent species I could see up there, but it will be rainforest birding, I think, and I donít expect to do very well, since rainforest birding is very difficult for me.† There arenít a lot of birds anyway, and they are up in the tops of trees mostly.† In addition, I donít know the calls, so I spend too much time trying to find some birds, and not enough time trying to find others.† Oh well, it will be a new place for me, and Iím sure I will enjoy the chase, even if I donít actually see very much.† Iím looking forward to it.† Meals will be more of a challenge the next several days, as I wonít have a kitchen for a number of nights now.† I did a little shopping this afternoon, and I have some food, but it is going to be a challenge, nonetheless.
Thatís my story for tonight, and Iím sticking to it.