Point Addis and Ironbark Basin, west of Bells Beach and Torquay (Vic), are
well-documented already for the ease of seeing Rufous Bristlebird (and the
maddening possibilities of Powerful Owl, which I think is only ever seen by the
people who live in those superbly-placed houses on Jarrosite Road). A lot of
people may not realise that the beach stretching from the point back towards
Bells is a well-used "free" beach. It's also a popular family beach, as it's
long enough to accommodate all users. Those wishing to go for a more complete
tan/case of skin cancer just wander further along and find a quiet spot at the
base of the fantastic cliffs. You'll get funny looks if you are seen carrying
big optical aids into the scrub above the beach. There's a great lookout (we
started the twitchathon there once) where you can often see Peregrine, Hobby or
Brown Goshawk, and almost always Nankeen Kestrel. Just point your optical aids
demonstrably towards the cliffs!
This topic reminds me of another intersting "birding" experience - my wife is a
rower, which is fine by me because there are birds at most venues. We went to
see the World Championships in Vienna in 1991. They were held on the Nue
Donnau Canal, which is obviously not bad for rowing, and has a good assortment
of woodland birds in patches, plus some waterbirds. It's also the local mecca
for nudists, whose interests are regarded as much more mainstream in Austria.
They're also very protective of their turf, and refused point blank to move to
another place, despite the presence of several thousand invaders and a minor
contingent of the world's sporting media.
"Refused to move" really is the best way to put it. Despite dozens of people
with binoculars (fairly useful for watching rowing events, if you think about
it) and massive packs of cyclists (spectators were allowed to ride on the
towpath just behind the coaches), the locals insisted on putting their towels
or banana lounges in "their" usual spot, whether or not it was on the towpath.
So we had several hundred brown bodies, 50 or 60 cyclists following each race,
coaches watching their crews and yelling encouragement, and everyone dodging
those who refused to give up their tanning space. There were a couple of
crashes, and I know of at least one Aussie coach who was yelled at for not
watching his crew - but remarkably few of the sort of injuries one might
imagine in this context.
And I didn't really feel comfortable dragging out the bins between races (I was
on a bike too) so I only saw birds big enough to identify with the naked eye.
Umm. I really think I should rephrase that.
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