The next day I drove ten minutes from home to the You Yangs and did an hour or so walking (maybe 4-5 kilometres) whilst casually birding. Since then I have gone on some sort of birding walk every day. That is eleven days in a row now. I will regain some of the endurance that I took so much for granted only a couple of years ago. I will indeed.
This past Wednesday morning my buddy James and I did a mini trip of about 3 hours up to Glenrowan Caravan Park. I first stayed there in November 2017. I have stayed there 7 or 8 times since. It is the best place in Victoria to see Turquoise Parrots (my opinion of course). I have easily seen them every time I have been there and this was no exception. James and I rocked up about 2:30pm and were gazing on about a score of these gorgeous little parrots feeding in the grass within minutes of our arrival.
James and I decided to take a walk. I needed to get my body moving. We headed down the long driveway and then over to Orchard Drive, the next road down from the caravan park. We had heard that Double-barred Finches were sometimes seen there. They are even sometimes seen in the caravan park as well. We did find a pair. James’ hearing is amazing. He heard them first and then we saw them. He also heard skinks in the grasses by the path on the way over. He can hear lizards! Well, he hears them moving through the grass, but it is amazing since we were crunching along on a gravel path. James is not only a most excellent travelling companion; he is also my ears (and sometimes my eyes). My hearing continues to decline and I will have to get amplification before long. I was diagnosed with severe hearing loss in my right ear and moderate in my left. Huh? What?
A lovely pair of finches landed on the grass beside the road and we took some photos and marvelled at seeing them. Glenrowan is the furthest south in Australia that these birds are seen. I had only previously beheld them in Queensland. We watched them for a bit and walked back to our cabin. We had been given the one with the birdbath/fountain in front. It was a very nice, very comfortable cabin at the low price of $80 per night for two people! I had driven the Prius up. That works out to be less expensive than buying diesel for Troopi and camping. I will stay in that cabin again.
After an uneventful bit of spotlighting (not even a Brush-tailed Possum) we went to bed. I was up coffeeing in the dark and watched the beautiful sunrise over the front paddock. My God that is living life. Going from dark to the shining glow spreading across the eastern horizon and then blossoming into the full-blown glory of sunrise. Nothing is more beautiful than a sunrise. It fills my heart.
As the light and warmth increased (it was a chilly one degree centigrade earlier) birds began to come into the birdbath. We had House Sparrows first and then came King Parrots! And then we had perhaps a dozen of the Turquoise Parrots. After the King Parrots, they looked tiny! (See James photo of one beside a Common Blackbird!). Eventually a female Gang Gang Cockatoo landed atop the water-feature. We were sitting comfortably at the cabin window about 5 metres from the fountain. I had never really looked closely at a female Gang Gang. She was so beautiful. It was a wonderful few hours of birdbath watching! Then we walked over to have a look for the Double-barred Finches again.
The finches were not around but on the way back down the gravel path, James heard the skinks again. This time he spotted one. It was the species he was hoping for, a Southern Rainbow Skink. I grabbed a very poor shot (but you can sort of see the rainbow colours on its sides) as it went into the grass. Then we both had good looks as it sat motionless with its head out for a while. Then in an instant, it was gone. Whilst we were walking back down the park entrance we saw a ‘baby’ Southern Rainbow Skink as well.
We decided to ride back over to Orchard Drive and have a look further down the road. We were rewarded with at least 8 Double-barred Finches near the orchard. We also had another lovely Speckled Warbler and a few other birds, but it was time to head back south.
It had been a wonderful morning, but the day was not over. We drove back to Lara where I grabbed a short nap. After supper, darkness had descended and we hopped into Troopi and drove over to 29 Mile Road to check on the Barn Owls (her front flood lights work like spotlighting). Just before 29 Mile Rd. while still on Beach Road, a Barn Owl flushed from the grass on the shoulder. As it disappeared over the paddocks, we turned right and drove down 29 Mile Road. Over the next hour, we saw either two more or three more (hard to tell, we may have seen one twice). We had delightful views of what is to me, one of the most beautiful, magical looking birds in the world. They fill my heart like a night-time sunrise.
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