Sunday, July 29, 2012
A real wildlife doco moment this morning - a white morph Grey Goshawk circling slowly upwards in the valley below Riverview Lookout. A huge snowflake against a green ocean. I pointed it out to a local, who turned up. He was mildly interested. Such a stunning bird and only the second time I've seen this morph in Bundy. And I've never looked down on a Grey Goshawk before. The GG features in a poem I wrote months back and currently have in consideration for a poetry prize. Prior to this, I found species 139, an Eastern Shrike-tit, feeding and chattering in Grey Gum Lane's mid-storey. I din't think shrike-tits are that common in the Highlands. I've only seen them on the East Rim of Fitzroy Falls. LJ, July 29 2012.
Friday, July 27, 2012
Finally, Straw-necked Ibis in Bundanoon. I've been waiting for them to turn up. I recently saw many of them feeding frantically on Bong Bong Common between Moss Vale and Bowral. Ten or so flew over home late today, just as I was turning into my driveway after a long day at work. They're unexpectedly striking birds in flight. The flock cruised over to Morton NP; maybe, they were heading to the Shoalhaven. Species 138 for town. LJ, July 27 2012.
Sunday, July 15, 2012
A Water Rat paddling in a creek was the last thing I expected to see in Bundanoon early this morning. Peter Lach-Newinsky and I braved icy gusts and went in search of Platypuses for an hour or so. We had no luck with the Platypus, but had staggering views of the Water Rat, which showed off on creek bank rocks about six feet away from us for about a minute, then vanished. Several bubbles coming to the water's surface alerted me to the mammal's presence. We'd seen the thing swimming downstream from where we were five minutes earlier. The Rat was orange-rufous below and blackish on its upper parts. A long tail ended in a white tip. This white tip threw Peter and I re. identification. I kept thinking of a Giant White-tailed Rat I once watched scale a tree in an orchard at birding Mecca Kingfisher Park (Julatten, North Queensland) in the late 90s. Obviously, it wasn't a southern specimen of the GWTR as they're not found in NSW. Peter and I joked about discovering a new species and came up with silly Latin terms for it. I don't think I've ever seen a Water Rat before. LJ, July 15 2012.
Sunday, July 8, 2012
The following, written by John Carroll, a professor of sociology at La Trobe University in Melbourne, appeared in The Australian the Saturday before last... 'Australian nature teaches reverence for a grander scheme than the mortal human. It places human endeavour in perspective. The nation's sceptical habit of mind may have its source here.' Interesting. I subscribe to John's way of thinking. I love the economic, pithy lines. I'm not quite sure what he's getting at when he talks about our 'sceptical habit of mind'. Maybe, he's saying wilderness encourages us to be humble, utterly aware of our mortality, not showy, distrustful, cautious. He goes on to say that the 'awesome power of nature that frames the Australian experience' has led to 'ambivalences' in our character. Are we profoundly scared of nature? Is that why so few of us are out in it regularly? Do we all feel uneasy when it comes to living in and dealing with nature? Nature can be anarchic after all. The majority of us are city dwellers for a reason. Could it be that cities are a lot more comfortable or comforting than country towns for the majority? Do people with small attention spans need regular entertainment in big cities? Do country areas bring a quiet that is threatening? Do people worry they'll be bored within nature? Who knows? I'm rambling. I'll have to keep thinking about this. LJ, July 8 2012.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
I parked the Hyundai Getz at Bonnie View at 10:30am, intending to meander up to Wishing Well in search of Crescent Honeyeaters, which I haven't been able to spot over the last few months, although I've heard their distinct, clipped calls many times since last December. The first thing I saw after stepping out of the car was a Beautiful Firetail feeding on the tiny cones of an uprooted casuarina directly behind the wooden 'Bonnie View' sign. This casuarina was uprooted/moved to make way for steps the NPWS have just put in (I'm not sure the steps are really needed here). I was stunned to see the Firetail; these birds aren't easy to find, especially as they are nomadic outside the breeding season (ie. now). I had superb views of it. The olive-bronze-grey of its plumage stood out more this time than on other occasions I've spent time with them. I've been birding at Bonnie View so many times and never heard/seen BFs before. Bonnie View is the 3rd location in the Southern Highlands I have for BFs. They're also on the Budderoo Plateau and at that iconic birding spot Barren Grounds Nature Reserve, where the Illawarra meets the Highlands... And I had fleeting views of the Crescent Honeyeater (male and female) at Wishing Well. The male was calling. According to my Pizzey and Knight and Morecombe guides, CHs are supposed to be in lowlands during Winter. What's going on here? LJ, July 5 2012.
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
And a White-naped Honeyeater, zipping about in a loud mixed feeding flock of Crescent, New Holland, Yellow-faced and White-eared Honeyeaters (in the dry sclerophyll habitat at Wishing Well in Morton) late morning, became bird 136 for my Bundy list. Nice one. LJ, July 4 2012.
Monday, July 2, 2012
Simon Robinson, Bunday local and ornithologist, asked me to lead a 'birding for beginners' outing yesterday, from 8:30am, which was good of him. Over twenty people turned up. We walked around Ferndale Reserve and environs, then drove on to Morton NP, investigating Gambells Rest and Erith Coal Mine's creek area. Soft rain, real rain, sun, wind, breeze, coolth, cold and warmth accompanied us - typical messed up winter weather. The birds were more active when the sun laughed and joked around. Nothing particularly noteworthy turned up species-wise. Locating a Yellow-throated Scrubwren's nest down at ECM was cool - the birders seemed fascinated. It was tremendous meeting people various and offering opinions on bird guides, where to go birding, the differences between ravens etc. A couple of kids were there. One of the kids was determined to see an Eastern Yellow Robin. She was stoked when Morton handed her a couple. Ah, seeing children seeing particular birds for the first time - thrilling. The first Eastern Yellow Robin I saw was dead, stuck to the front of a coach, bound for Mt Seaview in northern NSW! I was on a school trip. It was 1986. I was in Year 9. I'm glad this girl saw her robin whizzing about and perching on the sides of trees. LJ, July 2 2012.