I cannot resist your invitation to comment on the wonder of the Mallee area
in NW Victoria. I think there are both practical and subtle reasons why
this is such a wonderful area for birders.
Practically, it has a great range of birds, many of which are nowhere as
easily seen as in this area. It is a pleasant place to bird (apart from the
flies!!) in all seasons except mid-summer. It is mostly open, low woodland,
meaning those LBJ's are no more than 3 - 4 metres above your head and that
strange call is not buried deep in some dank, dark recess of a dense forest,
but through the relatively light bush "just over there!". You can park the
car and easily just wander off almost unhindered in any direction (GPS's are
wonderful for not getting lost) chasing that elusive call or flutter.
On a more subtle level, this area is, as you say, quintessentially
Nearly all of us come from that green, coastal fringe of our country and so
many other places we go birding, for a day or a weekend, are in or similar
to the coastal or tall forest regions of that fringe. The Mallee is totally
different. It also is not "developed" agriculturally - the bulldozers,
ploughs and cattle have never been here. When we get here we much more
strongly feel that we are "away", "in the bush" and "back to nature". It is
a completely different experience from that we are normally used to. The
difference has a transforming effect on the psyche, cleansing our minds of
more usual patterns and taking us to a more core experience of where we are
and the natural beauty around us.
Our experience here is similar to the joy we have when we in the Red Centre,
for all the same reasons. It is just "magic"!!
Bob & Sadhana Cook
NW Victoria (for now!)