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.

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