Wednesday, November 17, 2010
My last evening in Oz.† I had a very laid back day today.† I walked along the Werribee River, which is only a few blocks from my cottage.† I was out there about three hours, although that did include a lunch stop at Hungry Jackís, which is what they call Burger King over here.† I had had my brekkie at McDís, so it has been a real junk food day.† I am really looking forward to getting home and eating the right foods again.† I know Iíll feel a whole lot better.
I took some pictures on my walk today, and I will post them, along with the pictures from yesterdayís trip up to the Brisbane Ranges National Park with local birder Richard and Ohio birder Jason.† The pictures of the two koalas we saw came out nice, I thought.† Photos25.
It was a beautiful sunny day today, and it ended up getting a little too warm, actually.† The walk along the river was lovely, and there were a few benches, so I could sit in the sun and enjoy the day a few times.† I didnít see any exciting birds, and none of the pictures of birds from today are very exciting, either.
I have started my packing, and my big bag is all packed.† It is thicker than it was when I came over, and is probably outside their allowed limits for overall size at this point, but Iím betting they wonít object, especially for a business class customer.† The weight should be okay, because I am allowed 70 pounds on the Sydney to LA leg, and the domestic legs in each country allow you to have whatever the international leg allows.
You may remember the side story last night, about the wader
that Brett and I saw on Sunday at the Western Treatment Plant.† I did put a
post up to my Aussie birding mailing list about it last night, with a link to
the 4 pictures on my website.† The first response I got was from my bird guide,
Mick, at the beginning of the trip, and he agreed that it looked like a Ruff to
him.† Within an hour or so, I had had 6 or 7 responses, all of which concurred
on the ID.† It was fun to be at the center of a little mini-flurry of posts.†
People wanted to know exactly where I had seen it, and no doubt birders were
out there today looking for it.† Iíll be interested to see if anyone else finds
it.† One guy who runs a website where interesting and rare bird sightings are
reported wants to list the sighting, so I told him to go ahead and I sent him
the originals of the two pictures he wanted.††
This afternoon, I went onto Google Maps, and I think I found the exact place we were when I took the pictures.† I discovered that you can get the coordinates for any given spot on Google Maps, and then anyone else can find that exact spot with the coordinates.† In this case, if you put††
into the Google Maps search box (copy and paste it, if you are that computer sophisticated), you can see exactly where I took the Ruff pictures.† Zoom in if you need to.† Select satellite view, and you can see a satellite picture of the place.††
A Ruff turns up in this general area once or twice a year usually, so it isnít like a total rarity, but many Aussie birders havenít ever seen one, so some people will be out looking, Iím sure.† What fun!† I keep thinking of the saying ďEven a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.Ē† In this case, Brett was the first one to notice that the Ruff was different from the Common Greenshanks it was with, but I was instrumental in looking at the book and narrowing the choices down to Ruff.
So, thatís my story.† I only have one of my unrefrigerated meals left, a can of tuna, cheese, and some white bread the landlady supplied, with butter-like stuff and mayo as well, so I guess that will make up my dinner.† I guess it will be Mickey Dís in the morning for brekkie again.
My flight leaves the Melbourne airport at noon.† I plan to leave here by 9, which will give me a lot of extra time at the airport, but I can use the Qantas lounge, since I am flying business class from Sydney to LA.† It is about 35 minutes from here to the airport, then get gas and turn in my rental car.† I have been getting up at 6:30 or earlier, so that should be no problem, even with a little trip out to McDonalds for my brekkie.
This final place I am staying is definitely one of the best of the trip.† For the three nights I have had it to myself, it is clearly the best, and even the other two nights have been great, since I have the bedroom with its own bathroom.† The bed is very comfy, and the internet is fast.† The house is very clean, very fully furnished with every convenience, and the location is great, for my purposes.† The cost is about the average I have been paying, often for much less desirable places.
So, this is it for now.† My last Ramblings from Australia for this trip.† I will probably post one more once I get home, covering the trip home, and there could be more developments on the Ruff side story.