Vasse Felix was the first vineyard in the fabulous Margaret River
wine-growing region. The stylized Peregrine Falcon on its wine labels
derives from the founder's attempt to control the Silvereyes by falconry.
The fat green Silvereyes are still there in force, but it is recorded that
the Peregine failed to return from its first official flight.
A current non-alcoholic tourist attraction in the area has about fifty
birds of prey in cages, and apparantly has an exhibition of falconry, call
into the tourist bureau for more information.
White-breasted Robin, Golden Whistler, Red-winged Fairywrens and lots of
Silvereyes were at the Vasse Felix carpark, along with Brown Honeyeater, and
Grey Teal, Yellow-billed Spoonbill on a dryish dam on the way in.At other
places Western and Inland Thornbills, Scarlet Robins, Red Wattlebirds and 28
parrots were observed as well , but after a few wine tastings the McGoo
effect came into force
Netting is the modern method of bird control in the region, draped along
the rows of fruiting vines and removed for harvest, an expensive procedure.
Ducks, according to the waitress at Flutes Restaurant, (in Brooklands
Vineyard), whose veranda juts out over a large dam full of Black Ducks,
crawl under the netting and stretch up to gobble down the lowest bunches.The
grapegrowers leave a couple of sacrificial rows for them along the edges.
The waitress also swore that one night at that restaurant a duck flew
into the open side, was knocked out by a fan and fell onto a diner's plate.
We sat overlooking the dam for lunch. Duck was on the menu but we declined,
threw crusts down to Black Ducks and a Black Swan which converged with
extended necks, the ducks usually winning by speed despite the swan's longer
reach. A solo Musk Duck sat in the exact centre of the dam, which also had
Eurasian Coots, Moorhen, Purple Gallinule and Sacred Ibis along the edges,
a group of Black Cockatoos, a Kookaburra, Little Crow, Silvereyes, Grey
Fantails, New Holland Honeyeaters in damside trees. A flock of about fifteen
Guinea-fowl appeared next to the vineyard adjacent to the dam, allowed to
roam free among the vines to cantrol insects our waitress said. Guinea-fowl
wasn't on the menu.
There are nice forests and beautiful beaches that we only glimpsed,
and a nursery on the forest's edge south of Margaret River, said to be
seething with rare birds, was closed on the day.
We shall return again , again with more time.
50km west of Sydney Harbour Bridge
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