Monday, November 08, 2010
I forget what I wrote last night about todayís plans, but I decided to scrap my original plan of an all-day driving loop to visit birding sites to the south of here.† I was up at about 6:30.† Actually, I awoke by 6, but turned on the heat and went back to bed for half an hour, while the cabin heated up from the 59 degrees it had gotten to overnight.† I have been very successful in staying with an early schedule on this trip, at least so far.
I Instant Messaged with Christina and took care of other internet things, had my brekkie, made myself a lunch, and headed out about 9 or so.† I first went up the valley here where Iím staying, to see if Koala number 4 from yesterday was still in the area.† He was indeed still there, in the next tree, sleeping on a branch, high above the ground.† I donít know how they manage to not fall out while they sleep.† This one wasnít even in a three way crotch, just sitting on a branch where it met the trunk.† See Photos21 to see what I mean.
While I was taking pictures of him, a woman walker came by and told me that there were a couple more koalas up the road at a parking pull out, so I went on up there.† This time I really hit the jackpot, as the one I saw there was moving around and eating leaves.† Great photo op, and I took a lot of them, including pictures of him climbing down and then back up another branch, to get more leaves.† I really got a kick out of it, and I love having the pictures.† They are really cute little animals. †Maybe some of their attraction to me is my childhood memories of my ďTeddyĒ, which† I still have.
So, while I was photographing that little cutie, another woman walker came along and she told me about a mother and baby koala just up the road.† I walked up and found them and had another photo-fest.† She had said they were asleep, but when I got there, the mother one was eating leaves, so I took a lot of pictures.† I never really got a good shot of the babyís face, but you can clearly see the baby in a couple of the shots.† I think I spent almost an hour taking pictures of koalas in our canyon.† I saw four in total, of which one was the one I had seen yesterday (number 4), I presume.† A real Koala bonanza, as far as I was concerned.† I had had no expectation of even seeing a koala, let alone taking pictures of a number of them.
When I finally got tired of that, I went on up to the Mount Lofty Botanic Garden, in the hills to the east of the city, called the Adelaide Hills, appropriately enough.† I paid the two dollars to park, and displayed the ticket on my dashboard.† It was a beautiful sunny day, not too hot, and I walked around and enjoyed the day.† It was a very laid back, relaxing day, just what I needed, I think.
I really hadnít expected to see many birds, but I saw more than I had expected.† One tree in particular had three different species of honeyeaters in it, almost constantly.† In addition, I saw and got a picture of a Silver-eye, and I saw Red-browed Finches, White-browed Scrub-wrens, Superb Fairy-wrens, Grey Currawongs, some unidentified thornbills, Red Wattlebirds, and various ducks and water birds.† A couple of Black-Cockatoos flew over, and there were Adelaide Rosellas flying through from time to time, too.† It was fun, and I got some pictures I really like of three species of honeyeater.† One of the honeyeaters was even a trip bird Ė Crescent Honeyeater.† I didnít recognize it at first, but after looking in my field guide, I could see what they were.† Later I got really good pictures of them, which also positively identified them.† So, I added a trip bird, when I wasnít expecting it at all, with pictures to boot.
Interestingly, the flowering tree that I took pictures of three species of honeyeaters in (Crescent Honeyeater, New Holland Honeyeater, and Eastern Spinebill) was an American species, at least according to the little sign under it.† Ohio Buckeye, from Eastern USA.† I thought a ďbuckeyeĒ was a kind of chestnut, but this tree had yellow flowers on it, and didnít look at all like a chestnut tree.† See Photos21 if you want to challenge the little sign under it.†† I thought that native birds only liked to feed on native plants, but these honeyeaters seemed to like this American tree just fine, assuming the name tag was right.† Iím writing this offline, or else I would Google the Ohio Buckeye, to see if it indeed looks like the tree I saw.† You can check it for yourself, and let me know, if you care.† The various honeyeater pictures with the yellow flowers were in that tree.
There was another little bush that had birds around it a lot, and I got pictures of a Silver-eye there, as well as my best pictures of the Crescent Honeyeater.
At one point, I sat in the sun at a picnic table and wrote in my journal.† Later I had my humble lunch (roast beef and cheese sandwich today, with tortilla chips, Diet Coke, and a caramel slice) at a table in the shade, as it had heated up to the high 60ís or so by then.† I also read my book for a while.† I returned to the two hot birding spots several times.† By the time I left, I had spent a very enjoyable, very relaxing 4 or 5 hours there, and I had even walked around a little.
On the way ďhomeĒ, I stopped at the local Woolworths and got a few supplies.† Back here at the cabin, I caught up on email, processed my photos, had a couple of drinks, had my dinner, IMíed with my friend Fred, and now I am writing this.
Tomorrow I move along to my next stop.† It is about 3 hours of driving, I think, and I think I will stop one or two places to look for birds, but I need to do more research on that tonight or in the morning.† Did I mention that I spent another 22 bucks for a second five hours of internet access here?† Absurdly expensive, but they got my money, so maybe they know what they are doing.
One of the things I did today was to exchange emails with two of the three local birders I have appointments with at my last destination, which is a town near Melbourne.† More on that later.
If I was really on the ball, I would organize everything tonight and pack up most of it, so I could make an early getaway tomorrow morning, but I canít be bothered.† If I get away at ten oíclock, who cares?† No one is keeping score, are they?† Iím feeling very relaxed about the whole trip, at this point.† I have only short drives from now on, and Iím not worried about bird numbers.† Just ten nights left on the trip now.† Iíll be home before I know it.
So, that is my story for today.† I got a trip bird, when I didnít really expect one, although I knew that it was possible.† I really had a very relaxing and enjoyable day, and I needed the break.† Tomorrow I head off on the final leg of the trip, the drive along the coast to the Melbourne area.† Life is good.