Just back from our national capital
Last week we decided to make a short trip to the Canberra area, familiarising ourselves with the birding areas (we're pretty new to birding, and keen to explore). Having seen splendid ganggangs in Glenrowan, we sallied north to see what the ACT had to offer. Of course, the season was not optimal, but we think there are at least four places we will revisit in spring (with some of the gorgeous rosellas we found - we never get tired of them).
Reporting in from Glenrowan, Ned Kelly's last stand
We've been wanting to spend some time with gang gangs in the wild for ages, and so we've been watching social media bird postings to see where and when they are most likely to appear. All messages and roads pointed to Glenrowan, a couple of hours north of Melbourne on the Hume Highway.
Glenrowan is a gorgeous little town, very much focused on its tourist attraction of the history of Ned's last stand. So you will see. Ned Kellys everywhere! But the great thing is that just five minutes out of town is the Glenrowan Tourist Park, and that's where you can see the ganggangs - and we did!
Artist and nature lover
Western Ringneck Parrots (locally called Twenty-eights because of their call) are still plentiful in Western Australia. Sadly, they are vilified because they damage fruit trees. We recently visited Western Australia -- mainly the Perth Hills and the south-west -- and spent some time observing and photographing these beautiful shy birds. Beverley captured a lovely sequence of a Twenty-eight sitting on a fence post, eating an olive and spitting out the pip, as you do! I used one of the photos as the basis for my drawing.
It's that time of the year when the long-billed corellas come to visit...
Three hours north of Melbourne, these wetlands did not disappoint...especially in the raptor department.
Whoever would have thought a sewage plant would become a favourite go to place? Or that we would see delectable brolgas -- usually seen in the tropics -- close to home in Melbourne? We've been thrilled with some of our captures recently at the Western Treatment Plant near Werribee.
With Omicron in full swing, we're staying close to home for a wee bit. Here's a round up on a few places we've been, and some of our best shots from Melbourne Botanic Gardens, Dandenong wetlands, Serendip Sanctuary and the Western Treatment Plant.
Just before Christmas, we headed to Beechworth for a few days, en route to Wagga...the weather was splendid, the birds were out, and we thought COVID was going to give us a break...it was a delightful trip. We chose to stay a short distance out of Beechworth at the Serena Cottages, Wooragee. New territory for us.
Mount Donna Buang is an easy drive from Melbourne and even easier if you go via the delightful township of Warburton where several cute cafes servie tempting fare. And what's the best way to counter that temptation? Yep, we gave in and shared a flourless orange cake and really enjoyed that guilty pleasure. Luckily we were heading for a challenging walk - more of that shortly.
It was great to see the WTP re-open late November, and little time was lost in making a visit. First up, brolgas are always a great treat, and I was lucky to see a pair quietly wading, then flying off in unison.
We really enjoy the BirdLife Melbourne beginners' bird walks each month, and we have learnt a lot and met some lovely people. After a great hiatus over 2021, we made it to an outing in November...to Newport Lakes and then on to Jawbone Reserve. There wasn't a lot of action in the bird department at Newport (too windy), but things improved at Jawbone.
We particularly like the waterbirds there, and the great crested grebe is very photogenic, as are the cormorants.
We stopped at Hattah-Kulkyne National Park on the way, a place we had read so much about as the birding nirvana in these parts. Sadly, not for us on that particular day! We were pretty excited to see six regent parrots about 5kms before we arrived at Hattah, and as a sign of things to come - sadly, it wasn't. But it was still fun, and we'll try it again...the lakes near the entrance were in flood, and the weather had probably caused the birds to hide or leave.
However, we did receive a warm welcome from the apostlebirds, apparently so called because they travel in groups of (12?) or possibly not!
Let's go straight to that murmuration...we stayed two nights at Lake Boga en route to Mildura, and on the second night, thousands of starlings congregated on the powerlines and absolutely put on a show. Here is an excerpt!
Philip Island is a small island about two hours' drive south-east of Melbourne...we think its largely holiday houses, though it seems many people live there permanently. This was our first overnight getaway after the latest long lockdown (and collectively, 263 days of lockdown all up). We were gasping for the bush...so while the people seem lovely, we were more focussed on nature and the feathered critters...
OSWIN ROBERTS RESERVE
Our 3.5km walk was through exquisite woodlands..
These pictures are our attempt to share our impressions of the unexpected pleasure of Heywood garden.
It's been a long time in Melbourne's lockdown again, but we're back, and so is the sun, and so is the car...hooray! Our first 'big' drive beyond the 15km bubble was to Healesville yesterday ...to the Sanctuary for some practice shots of birds (all in captivity, sadly - but at least we get to see them), and then we found a new place (for us) - Badger Creek Weir...wow! But first, the sanctuary...everyone was very chipper and cheerful, welcoming the public on their first day back. The birdies were in fine fettle too, though we saw fewer just flying around freely than we saw on earlier visits.
Mount Gibraltar, known locally as the Gib, was a popular destination for Mother's Day drives and picnics...meanwhile, we headed out for a walk around the rim. It was a bit treacherous underfoot, made even more so by the recent heavy rains, but we were rewarded by the lookout views across Bowral and Mittagong.