We have had some rain. 70mm in 3 days, the gauge says.
And, this morning, I set out for my weekly Tia Chi class. Start of a new semester, so I was pretty excited about getting back to class. And at 8:00am, as I was getting ready, the rain, was, well, sheeting down. So any ideas of spending a few hours with the birds at The Office, were not even a glimmer of hope. But a we settled into such routines as “Waving hands like Clouds”, “White Crane Cools Wings”, and “Monkey offers a Peach”, it was possible to glimpse a shaft of brilliant sunshine making an appearance through the clouds. By the time we paused for a break, it was definitely bright sunshine warming me though the window, and stirring the possibilities of a chance to venture out in the early afternoon.
EE soon agreed and we headed out right after lunch. To my despair, the road into The Office, was waterlogged. And we picked our way along through the water, and the puddles and the inevitable mud pools. On arrival at the carpark, Kitty and Kalev were nowhere to be seen, and despite looking for a while, we still were Kiteless. So we wandered down to the river area.
Which as it turns was a great move.
For there in the tree, formerly known as “Kite Tree” — we are big on naming things, not necessarily always creatively. The bleeding obvious applies here. On the tree formerly known, now to be re-named. Osprey Tree. Was the Osprey.
This much reported bird has been giving birdos quite some good views as it does the rounds between the Werribee River Park, and the Western Treatment Plant. So much so, that I am beginning to contemplate that in fact there are at least two birds in the area.
We’ve had a few glimpses of it before, and have also managed some fine photos, but today, it was a most relaxed and resting bird. The Werribee River has benefited from the recent rains and was swelling about, and rippling along in a most happy gurgling mood. How an Osprey could find a fish in there is beyond me, as the rush of water is so good to see, rather than the usual ebb and flow of slow tidal changes. Either it is enjoying the fishing, or its finding the Werribee Open Range Zoo a suitable smorgasbord for its tastes.
So it sat casually in the sunshine. Then a squall came through, and in the end we had to retreat to the shelter of the Red Gums, and the bird still sat. A few quick shakes of those great wings and it was dry. We emerged. So did some Whistling Kites. They still consider it “their” tree. And in the end the persistent attacks put the hapless Osprey to wing. It rose up out of the river flats and found a passing Wedge-tailed Eagle to give a hurry up.
Then it circled, and landed again on the tree. Awesome.
So after about two hours, the weather moved to what you’d call overcast and lowering, and we made a speedy retreat back to the car, and slogged out on the even wetter track in the rain.
Osprey are not well noted in our part of the coast. HANZAB notes it as “Rare, vagrant, all singles”, p 228, The Bird Atlas maps show lovely red lines all along the coast of South Australia, and New South Wales, but only occasional dots along the Victorian coast. So this bird(s) is not only a real pleasure to see, but also a most fortunate find indeed. Those in who live along those well-marked Red areas on the Atlas maps probably don’t give the bird much more than a second thought. But we feel most privileged to have such a noble bird as a guest in the Office. Hopefully we can make a few more sunny meets.