Finished my teaching rounds for this semester. Now have a few spare days on my hands. Oh, that it were really true.
We had abandoned ideas of a day at Woodlands, as the weather man had predicted dire warnings of cold and very cold. So you might grasp my surprise (think I’ve mentioned my suprisability factor before), when the sun came streaming through the window at breakfast. Why miss an opportunity and quicker than you can say, “let’s load the car and go out,” we had the car loaded and were going out.
Did Woodlands on Monday, and the Sugar Gums on Sunday, so we found the car pointing a little more northward and a teensy bit westward, in bound to a bit of scrub that had offered us a good view of a Rose Robin, about a week back.
As we drove along it wasn’t hard to notice the moisture on the grasses in the paddocks, and easily conclude we are but a hair’s breath from a frost. Which,on arrival at a parking spot, did spring to mind again as EE pulled out a nice pair of gloves and I looked at my poor freezing fingers, and pondered why my gloves, mittens and snow overgloves were securely locked in the garage.
The logic was pretty easy to follow. Walk to last spot we saw the Robin, herein after named “Rosey”, and wait and see if it was just a vagrant passing through or did it have designs on the area. And wait we did. Saw some great looking Whistling Kites at a height, they seemed to be playing the typical Kite games, but much much too far away to photograph. Sitting is something we do best. I’m a firm believer in the ideas of Jon Young, in his book on what birds know, in which he suggests a single spot sat in time after time for at least 30 mins or so, reveals lots about what is going on in the area. Going back regularly and consistently gives the wonderful pleasure of watching the changes take place, season to season. Just need to find the place and fit in the time. Jon never explains that bit.
After about an hour and several very nice warming cups of Earl Grey, I decided a bit of a walk about would be useful, the sun was still maintaining its full strength in the sky, and a walk in the sunshine might give me a better feeling for the geography of the area. Some little young wattle and some very tough looking brush seemed like a good spot to start, but after a bit of walking and waiting, nothing eventuated. Time for more tea.
Back at the sit spot, of course, EE was up, armed with camera and peering into the dark blackwood grove. And yes, she volunteered, there was a Rose Robin, and it was just over there, near that big tree, advice accompanied by a general wave of free hand. Peering, peering. A wing flap. Now I knew. So gathering up the camera/tripod I moved to get some reasonable light in the area. The little bird was happy to feed about me, and at one stage, sit on a small dead blackwood branch hanging about a metre in front of me.
Then I lost her, and went to look, and startled her in some regrowth leaves. I think she must have been having a rest. To the top of the trees she took, scolding me as she went. And I was scolding me too, as startling them is one of the things I try and avoid. (Jon mentions it in his chapter on the ‘Bird plough”.
Now we were back to bird and intruder. Not much hope of her coming down for another visit any time soon. So retire to another cuppa.
15 minutes passed and she made another foray down to the lower branches, and we slowly picked up where we left off.
Then clouds rolled in, the wind took a chilling turn, and it looked like the weather front was upon us. With little sunlight, and no real rain gear, it was time to go.
On the way home I was pointing the car toward a pie shop, but none appeared. Need a new set of directions.