4 days in Melbourne
Just spent 4 non-birding days in Melbourne. My non-birding partner?s
heart is in Melbourne while the important bits reside in Brisbane, so a
long weekend was planned to satisfy the heart. I was under strict
instruction that this was not a birding trip so I nearly didn?t take my
bins even, but then, what a waste, I thought. You never know where they
might come in handy?.........
We stayed in Fitzroy st, right opposite Albert Park, and the first birds
I didn?t see were Mynas and Starlings and Feral Pigeons and Silver Gulls
and House Sparrows. It?s amazing how delightful these are when you?re not
birding! Thursday ? city stuff, but Friday the Great Ocean Rd beckoned
I elected to do the driving and so most birds were seen as black or brown
or black and white flashes across the road. I did, however, manage to see
a Grey Currawong (tick) and a flight of Gannets from one straight stretch
and a Pacific Gull (tick) alone on the beach near Lorne, actually stopped
for that one!
There was quite a large area of flooded fields in the Ottway Range area
(I think) and Black Swans, Black Duck, Swamphens, Moorhens, Grey and
Chestnut Teal and a lone Royal Spoonbill were quickly checked from the
road. Our destination, the 12 Apostles, included a walk to the viewing
platform and I was all prepared for anything to pop up. Singing
Honeyeater (3) (tick) did, much to my delight, but nothing else on the
land or out to sea.
Saturday I suggested a stroll in Albert Park, casually of course, with an
affected air of indifference. Some resistance as suspicions raised,
however with some conditions, agreement was reached and, low and behold,
I just happened to have my bins hanging under my jacket. Just in time
too, as a pair of Red-rumped Parrots pecked an old tree stump mere yards
away and a White-plumed Honeyeater dropped in to see what was happenin?.
Strolling on, Red Wattlebirds calling and swooping around, I reached the
lake and, eventually, the ?far? or western end (?). A scan of the birds
grouped around the islands and a Hoary-headed Grebe (tick, at last) and a
Musk Duck spotted among the Hardheads, Black Duck, Swamphens, Coots, Aust
Grebes, Little Black and Little Pied Cormorants. Walking back towards
Fitzroy st a flick caught the corner of my eye and turned out to be a
female brown ?Robin?, what species? Before I could decide a bright flick
and a male Flame Robin in beautiful plumage came into view. Wow! ? tick
of course! Happy at last I relinquished the rest of the day to the
Sunday morning and a brief stroll to St Kilda pier produced some more
Little Black and Little Pied Cormorants and, more importantly to me, 2
more Pacific Gulls ? their bills are huge!
The other bird I saw that was really nice was the Blackbird. Brought back
memories of nests in the garden in Dublin, when I first started birding
an unmentionable number of years ago!
So, non-birding partner?s heart temporarily satisfied we flew home. Not
bad - 5 new ticks for a 4 day non-birding holiday! mmmmmmm wish every
non-birding weekend was that good!
So many birds, so little time......
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