Saturday, November 13, 2010

Werribee, Victoria


Well, itís a rainy Saturday afternoon, and Iím cocooned away in my final home away from home of the trip.


I was up early again today, about 5:30.† I had gotten to bed at 9:30, though, so I had plenty of sleep.† I was determined to try to run down the bird that had been calling yesterday morning.† I was armed with my mp3 player, and I wanted to record the call, then send it off to someone, to find out what the bird was.


So, I woke about 5:30, and the bird was indeed calling, although it seemed farther away today, so it wasnít as loud.† I put on some clothes, got my binoculars and my mp3 player, and I went out hunting.


When I got out there, the bird seemed to have stopped (that figures), but then I heard the same call from down the street.† So, I moved on down the street, and I made four recordings of the call.† The fourth one seemed adequate, and the bird seemed to stop anyway, as I had approached his tree pretty close by that time.† A Little Wattlebird flew out of the tree the call had been coming from, so that was my hot candidate as the source.


Back in my apartment, I downloaded the sound files to my computer, then converted them from wav format to mp3 format, so I could increase the volume and clip the end off number 4.† I had the software to do the conversion to mp3, but I had to download a couple of little free programs to increase the volume (mp3Gain) and cut the last 8 seconds off (mp3Trim).† Great little free programs that I use at home all the time, but hadnít ever put on this computer.† Having done that, I sent off the mp3 file to my bird guide mate Mick, who had taken me out birding way back near the start of the trip.† To jump ahead, when I got here, I got online (much more about that adventure later), and I had a reply from Mick that told me the call was indeed that of the Little Wattlebird.† I hadnít mentioned my suspicion, as I wanted his unbiased opinion, and he had no hesitation in saying it was a Little Wattlebird.† Score!† It wasnít a trip bird or anything, but I had identified a mystery call, and I was stoked.


OK, now for some fun of a different sort.† Iím going to attempt to put a link here to the mp3 file of the bird call.† If it works, you ought to be able to click the link here and hear the call I recorded this morning, on whatever software your computer has that is the default program for playing mp3 files.† Sounds like fun to me, anyway.† If you get a dialog window that asks if you want to Open or Save the file, click Open to just hear it once, or click Save to save it on your computer for your continuing enjoyment.† Here goes; click the link:




Weíll see if that works.


So, I was on the road by about 9.† It was only raining off and on, but the forecast sounded nasty, so I decided to take the faster route to Werribee.† It was a pretty drive, and I did take about 15 minutes to drive slowly down a forest road in a preserve, but didnít see anything interesting.


I got to Werribee just about noon, which was when I had arranged to call Jenny, the woman who rents this cottage.† I pulled into the McDonalds, as I hadnít made myself any lunch today, and I called her and arranged to meet her at the cottage at 12:30.† I had a little lunch, found an ATM and got cash, and met her at the cottage.† By that time the rain had started in earnest, and it has kept up ever since.


Somerset Cottage is going to be a really great place to stay.† I do have the bedroom with its own bathroom.† There is someone else booked for tonight (either a woman or a couple, Jenny wasnít sure which), but after that, I am the only guest, at this point.† The cottage is very nicely furnished, very clean, very well equipped, lots of space - really everything I could want.† Except.† There is a little problem with the internet connection!† Go figure!† What a surprise!


Jennyís son, Paul, had installed the wireless network a couple of months ago, but I donít think anyone has actually used it until now.† I could see the network, but couldnít connect.† Because of my previous experiences on this trip, I suspected it was a more modern standard (N) than my old computer can handle (B or G).† Jenny called Paul, and he confirmed that the network was indeed an N network.


So, Paul came right over and he has been working on it for about three hours now.† It has actually worked sporadically, so I did get my emails and send a couple, but he wasnít satisfied with how it was working, so he is trying to make it better.† At this point, I have no connection, and it makes me feel very alone and separated from home to not have a connection.† As the trip has progressed, that feeling has gotten stronger and stronger, I have noticed.† I really depend on being connected, as you know, since I obsess about it so much.† I am hoping and assuming that Paul is going to find a solution, and I will get this posted later this evening.† We will see.† I wonít travel with this old computer again Ė it is time to get a new one, with N wireless network capability, as that is the standard these days, and has been for two or three years, I think.


Once I got settled in, and while waiting for Paul, I made a trip to the local Woolies and stocked up one some of my favorite foods.† Iím all set now, once the internet connection is working.


As I think I mentioned, I have two local birders who are going to take me out to the Western Treatment Plant (WTP) for a day of birding tomorrow.† They have permits and keys to the gates, and I need someone with a permit and keys to take me there.† I delayed our departure until 9, in the hopes that the rain might be diminishing by then.† The unpaved roads out there are going to have a lot of puddles, and I just hope they arenít too muddy Ė especially since Iím not even supposed to drive this rental car on unpaved roads.† It will be totally splashed with mud, Iím sure, so it is going to be obvious when I turn it in that I have violated that particular part of my contract.† At least I will have two guys with me to help me get out of the mud, if we get stuck.


Iím hoping to pick up several species tomorrow, if the weather lets up a bit, and I have another guy to take me there on Monday.† Iíve seen a lot of references to the fact that the WTP is very quiet, birdwise, this spring, because of all the rain in the interior.† It is the same old story I have run into all along.†† Many of the birds have simply stayed in the interior this year, instead of moving to their normal spring and summer haunts.† Even so, I expect I will pick up several species there.


OK, Paul has switched routers, putting in an older G model, and Iím online again.† Hooray!


The rain is really pouring down now.† I love the sound of it, but I worry about the unpaved roads at the WTP tomorrow.† Oh well, I guess Iím just a worrywart.


Let me know if you can hear the bird call.† Use Facebook, or send me an email at birder1944@aol.com .