Birds & binos etc

To: "Canberra Birds" <>
Subject: Birds & binos etc
From: "John Layton" <>
Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2008 22:03:32 +1100
Thanks to all those who advised re Heather & Robertson. Linda bought a field guide edition today. She's looking forward to seeing all the Old World birds abroad in NZ as much as the natives.
Cruising back from Yass this afternoon, I pulled into Hall Cemetery because I've not been there in years and remembered it as a pretty good birding locale. Besides, I wanted to "blood" my new Nikon Action 8x40 binoculars, the first I've bought in 17 years, and they turned out pretty cool.
A dilettante chappie, and connoisseur of many things, whom I'll call Ole Curmudgeon, checked my new binos the other day and said, "They're not a good choice for birdwatching, you should have got Zeiss or Leica."  Yes, and I'd like a vintage Leica rangefinder camera and a new Ford F-250 truck too, but my budget runs to Nikons and Toyota utes.
Birds highlights at Hall Cemetery:  A White-plumed Honeyeater feeding a juvenile Pallid Cuckoo, it looked like Jiminy Cricket tending the Michelin Man. A bit late in the season to see such a thing, I thought. Two White-throated Treecreepers, six Brown-headed Honeyeaters, two Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes hawking insects on high as a smattering of Welcome Swallows joined the hunt, and I counted about twelve Tree Martins twittering in foliage. A flock of some 100 Common Starlings wheeling over the fields. A Crested Shrike-tit and two Diamond Firetails with an immature, and two Common Bronzewings. Adult and immature Australian Ravens. I saw two young rabbits peeking out from beneath the broken masonry of a dilapidated grave. I hope the little buggers don't burrow too deeply.
Back at the car park, a very worried lady approached, "I locked my keys and my purse and my phone in the car. Have you got a mobile phone? Will you call the NRMA for me?" I feared she was going to cry. I walked over, took a look at her elderly Commodore, reached out and opened an unlocked rear door. An embarrassed, but grateful lady thanked me profusely. It kind of put a nice touch to the end of a good day out.
John Layton
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