Saturday, December 30, 2006

some wildlife pix, it is a birding blog after all

Shingleback lizard

Sharp tailed sandpiper

Grey fantail

Superb fairy wren

hooded plover

Melbourne pics

Outside the MCG, the second greatest cricket ground in the world (after taunton)
An awesome capacity of 106,000

Christmas morning

The barmy armys main cheerleader, Jimmy, at Adelaide

Yelling abuse at Brett Lee at The MCG

Yelling something at Adelaide

Friday, December 29, 2006

We're 4-0 down, but we're havin' a laugh

Yet again the england cricket team is a total disappointment. I had tickets to days 3 and 4 of the melbourne test and along with day 5 was happy to be able to go to 3 days of the match, i should be so lucky!! i did managed to pick up a ticket for day 2 from a bloke down the pub so managed to get to days 2 and 3 which although the cricket was fucking terrible for most of the time, it was still good fun being in with the barmy army and winning "the verbal ashes" with the aussie fans despite being outnumbered 50,000 to 2000. haven't done any birding since the last post as i haven't left melbourne city centre at all for a week.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Port fairy

After a few days in the rather dull town of Mount gambier (the major tourist attraction is a lake), i'm down in port fairy 2 more days. unfortunately the squally weather is menaing no fishing boats ae going out far enough for pelagic birding but yesterday i managed a short trip out around the bay which provided two lifers in Little Penguin (very cute) and black faced cormorant (very ugly). Last night i went out to Griffith island at dusk to watch the short tailed shearwater colony arriving back at their nest burrows. it was pretty awesome having thousands of these birds swooping around my head with a deafening chorus of their wierd guttural calls. A short seawatch in the rain this morning was very rewarding with a great winged petrel being a long overdue lifer and a Shy albatross, Brown skua and masses of short tailed shears adding very nice indeed in what will probably be my last birding for a while as tomorrow i head for melbourne for christmas and the cricket and then a 10day trip to tasmania before flying home via 12 days on Thailand.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Robe birding

One of my target birds for this leg of the trip was the rare and elusive Rufous Bristlebird. I had heard that they had become easy to see at Airy's inlet on the great ocean road so i had originally planned to look for the bird there. however, the only campsite there wanted to charge a ridiculous $62 for two nights to pitch my tiny tent. aparrently the price hike was due to a long weekend or some rubbish like that. instead i decided to camp in little dip conservation park a few km's south of Robe for the much more appealing $2.50 a night. What the site lacked in facilites (toilets, running water etc.) it more than made up for in its location, set in a wide strip of coastal heathland with pristine wet sclerophyll forest on one side and the magnificent Southern Ocean on the other side of the dunes. it was a superb birding spot and i had decent views of Rufous Bristlebird and Blue winged parrot in the heath on the first day, along with other goodies like Beautiful Firetail, Sooty Oystercatcher and Hooded Plover.
Yesterday was trekking up the beach to a spot where i hoped to photograph hooded plover and I came across two blokes struggling with their 4X4 which was well bogged in the beach. i stopped and gave them a hand and half an hour later the truck was out. In true aussie fashion they wouldnt let me leave without a crate of Carlton Draught as thanks for my time, i was in no hurry to carry it back down the beach to the campsite so hunkered down in the dunes for a seawatch with it. Saw bugger all at first but by the end of the crate i had recorded 1 Humboldts Storm Peterel, 3 Long billed murrelets and 17 Emporer Penguins flying west, and 2 Great Auks, a Bataleur Eagle an African Fish Crow and a juv Spotless Starling east, not bad eh.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Coorong NP and beyond

Back in civilisation again after spending the last 6 nights camping i nthe Cooron National Park, south of Adelaide. It is an excellent NP comprised of a 150km long brackish lagoon seperated from the sea by the long sandy Younghusband Peninsula. The lagoon held large flocks of the endemic Banded Stilt and Red necked avocet, along with of loads of other migratory waders, mainly sharp tailed sandpipers and red necked stints. Also on the lagoon were my first fairy terns and 1000's of whiskered terns. A large flock of white fronted chats on the edge were also a nice lifer. The scrub inland on the lagoon around salt creek, where i camped was also productive, purple gaped honeyeater, scarlet robin and purple crowned lorikeet were all new birds. The small pools at the salt creek fuelo were also good, with Black tailed native hen and australian spotted crake.

I'm currently in Robe, a nice little seaside town in the centre of the "Limestone Coast", the YHA i'm staying i is great, its probably the oldest building i've seen in australia so far (which isn't difficult, they dont know the meaning of the word 'historic' over here). the town is surrounded by some superb coastlines, the limestone cliffs have been eroded into some spectacular formations, and brilliant golden beaches. West beach a kilometre out of town had 4 hooded plover on it earlier today, another superb endemic aussie shorebird.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

What the fookin hell happened there

ahem, obiously i know shit all about cricket, as you can see from comparing my comments yesterday about the likely result of the match to what actually happened. Still i sung my heart out to the very end and felt proud to be english and all that crap. the only birds seen at the ground were silver gull, magpie lark, rainbow lorikeet, crested bronzewing and willie wagtail, as if anyone gives a shit.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Ticket: $30, beer: $4 (X7). Getting sunburnt in December: priceless

I havnt done any birding at all for the last few days for a very good reason, THE ASHES. After wathing the first day of the Adelaide test in a pub in Brisbane i caught a red eye flight to Adleaide for the rest of the game, couldnt get into the ground for the 2nd or 3rd days but watching on the big screen in the town centre was quite nice, then i was lucky enough to meet a bloke in the pub who had a spare ticket for the 4th day (today) so i finally got to see my first day of test match cricket in australia, a lifetime ambition realised. It was spigging awesome, to be prefectly honest i wasnt paying that much attention to the cricket as it was a bit slow and i got caught up in the middle of the barmy army singing and generally acting like an idiot, even getting a warning from security (another lifetime ambition). i've also got a ticket for tomorrow but a result is unlikely thanks to a shitty slow pitch that even my gran could bat on but it should be an entertaining day nonetheless.

heres a couple of gems that we belted out around the ground today:

I shagged matilda, i shagged matila,
i shagged matilda and so did me mate
and she moaned and she groaned
and she took it up the billabong
i shagged matilda and so did me mates

Shane warne is a bowler
he likes to play around
he's got a different girlfriend
at every cricket ground
he's always in some trouble, he's always in some strife
and now he's lost his hair, he's also lost his wife