Saturday, November 06, 2010
Adelaide, South Australia
The bed here is about as hard as any I have had so far on the trip.† I slept fairly poorly as a result, and my back hurt this morning.† I think I will take some ibuprofen proactively tonight, and again in the morning.† My nose was pretty bad last night, too.† I sure wish I knew what that is tied to.† As I have mentioned, my nose is generally a lot less congested when I travel than it is at home, but there have been a number of times on this trip when it has been more like it is at home than what it is like when I travel.† I canít figure it out.
So, I was up at 6:30 this morning, and I did some research on the place I was thinking of going today. I got out of here at about 9:15, to go turn in my rental car and pick up a new one.† Both places were in downtown Adelaide.
Adelaide is a very beautiful city.† The center of it has over two dozen large parks, arranged in sort of a figure 8.† The city is located in the middle of the two loops of the 8, and a very attractive river runs through the middle of it all.† The streets were clean and attractive, and there were a lot of people moving around on a Saturday morning.† Families, couples, old people, backpackers, tourists, young people.† A nice mix of people, shopping and taking care of their business.† It was about a 7 or 8 block walk between the place where I turned in the old car and the place where I picked up the new one, and I spent about 15 or 20 minutes in a shopping street that has been closed to cars, watching the people and enjoying the great weather.† It was already pleasantly warm at 9:30 AM.
My new rental car is a Ford Falcon, which is a fairly big car for over here.† 6 cylinders and it has all the extras.† It is white, which I really appreciate, because it wonít get as hot as my black one did, but the interior is black, so it still gets pretty hot in the sun.† I like my white cars with light colored interiors, like I have had the last few times I have bought a new car.
I came back to my cabin, made myself a lunch, and headed out to the Laratinga Wetlands.† It is actually a sewage treatment plant, but it is also a man-made wetlands, with native plants and it is very nicely landscaped.† There are a number of lagoons, and the water spends a month or two making its way through the whole system, I think.† They use the water that comes out of the system to water city parks and properties, and when there is excess, they release it into a creek.† They say it is the only man-made system like it in the southern hemisphere.† It has paths and boardwalks, rest rooms and other amenities like a gas powered BBQ and covered picnic tables.† I took a picture of a family that was having a BBQ in the park.† It certainly doesnít seem like a sewage treatment place at all, although there are effluent ponds in the back that do the initial stages of the process, and they seem more like a sewage treatment plant.
The place is in the town of Mount Barker, which is a bedroom suburb of Adelaide, about half an hour east, over the Adelaide Hills.† Ironically, one of their two freeways is used to get there.† It is ironic because I made a mistake in judgment and misread the signs, missing my offramp.††† Oh well, no big deal, just take the next one and go back, right?† Well, it went on and on.† And on.† It ended up being 12 miles to the next offramp.† So, it cost me almost half an hour and about 5 bucks in gas, I figure.† Not a major mistake, but an annoying one, when I needed to pee and was hungry.
So, I made my way back to Mount Barker and navigated my way to the wetlands, thanks to the research I had done online and the notes I had made.† My first priority was to find the rest rooms, and then a picnic table.† I had my humble lunch, which consisted of a roast beef and cheese sandwich, some ďtoasted corn chipsĒ (which turned out to be tortilla chips), a caramel slice, and a Diet Coke.
The necessities being taken care of, I set out to explore the place.† I wasnít expecting any new birds, but it seemed like a very nice park, and it was a very pleasant sunny day.† I rambled around, taking pictures of the place and also of birds I had seen before.† I enjoyed it very much.† There were a few birds that would have been trip birds listed in the guide I have, but I wasnít expecting to actually see any.† I got some pictures that I like, including some of Adelaide Rosellas.† That is a subspecies of Crimson Rosella, so doesnít count for my list, but I was glad to get the pictures.† Very pretty birds.† See Photos19, which I hope to get up tonight, along with this.
After two or three hours, I was ready to leave, so I made my way back to my car.† I dropped off my birding bag, which I was very tired of carrying, and wandered off on a new path, just to see if there were more pictures to be had.† I got one of a Common Bronzewing that I like, and a couple of a White-faced Heron, including one of him flying, which I like.† By that time I was about halfway around one of the lagoons, so I continued on around.† As I crossed the floating boardwalk between a couple of lagoons, I saw a couple of little birds on the water that looked different.† I got the binoculars on them, and damned if they werenít Hoary-headed Grebes!† That is a pretty common bird, and one I had fully expected to see in numbers in the inland areas, but I hadnít seen any at all on the trip, until now.† I think they have stayed in the interior of the country, like so many other water birds, because of all the rain there this year.† But, here were a couple of them at the Laratinga Wetlands, and I had a trip bird for the day.† Outstanding.†
I need to update my spreadsheet, and when I do, it will show that I am falling well short of my expectations for the trip, as I have mentioned before.† I just didnít see anywhere near the numbers of species in the inland areas that I had expected, for all the reasons already listed more than once.† Iím sitting on 221 species for the trip, of which only 11 are lifers.† My original expectations, per my spreadsheet, before I left home, were 243 species, of which 17 would be lifers.† I clearly am going to fall short of that, for all the reasons already mentioned.† At least I have beaten my first two Aussie trips, on which I saw 218 species in 2002 and 206 in 2004.† Maybe I can add another ten by the end, but I need to update my spreadsheet with a thorough review to really know.
At any rate, I had a very nice day today, and that is what really counts anyway.† Even before I got the trip bird, I was having a very nice day.† The temperature got up into the mid-80ís, but I was mostly in the shade, and they had a lot of benches where I could rest and cool down.
Tomorrow I have an appointment to meet local birder Mark, at 6:30 AM.† We are planning to spend the morning visiting some of the conservation parks in the Adelaide Hills.† I donít expect big bird numbers, at all, but there are two honeyeaters I am hoping for Ė White-naped Honeyeater and Crescent Honeyeater.† Both are fairly common, I think, and both are found at all of the places we will visit.† Neither would be a lifer, but both would be good trip birds.† There are more birds that I could potentially see, but Iím not expecting much.† Mostly Iím just hoping for a fun time with a local birder, seeing some of the local birding sites and maybe getting some pictures I like.† Mark can only spend the morning with me, but since we are starting so early, that is fine with me.
One more little tidbit.† Yesterday I heard on the radio that a Qantas A380 engine fell apart after takeoff, and the plane had to return to Singapore.† Qantas has grounded all their A380ís (a super double-decker jumbo jet), and some of their flights to and from the US have been delayed for a day.† I am scheduled to fly home on an A380, from Sydney to L.A., and it will be interesting to see if everything is back to normal by the time of my flight, on the 18th.† I expect them to say that it was a one of a kind episode and things will be back to normal by the 18th.
So, thatís my story for today.† Iíll see if I can get Photos19 processed and up to the website.
Life rolls on.