Tis a well known fact that mostly I am allergic to photographing birds as part of a long walking exercise programme. To me, its two distinct activities and the thought of knocking up 15 kms and seeing the occassional bird, way, way over there, is enough to make me stay at home.
Tis also a well known fact, and long term readers will be well aware that an area in the Werribee River Park just a few minutes drive from home has been called, “The Office”, as in “just another day at”. Over the past 10 years we’ve spent countless hours in the area and tis fair to say that at one stage we probably had a close relationship with the majority of the birds in the area.
But, and there in is the rub. But. Recent rains have made things much more complex for us.
The Werribee River ran to flood level and huge volumes of water rushed down the narrow channel, and of course gained speed and force as they went. So much so that a footbridge over the river has suffered ‘irreparable damage’. So Parks Vic, to protect the unsuspecting public, and those that would ignore signs suggesting it was unsafe, have now for everyone’s safety closed the area “Until Further Notice”.
One of the pylons holding the bridge has been eroded and needs a complete replacement. Sadly there is no budget money for that in the ‘foreseeable future’, so the area will be out of bounds for your average Sacred Kingfisher aficionado. (You can guess EE’s disappointment.)
Couple that with the need to install on the far side of the river a new pipeline to feed the Werribee Open Range Zoo, and that access road is also now heavily chain-wired, with a similar sign that says, in its meaning, No Access to Kingfishers Here!
I just hope the birds can’t read.
With two of our preferred birding spots now off limits, we are in the market, so to speak, for a new location. So a couple of days ago we took a walk along part of the track running alongside the Werribee River as it cuts through suburbia. Well actually the River has always been there and Suburbia has encrouched up to the edges of the river.
So we didn’t expect any exotic or unusual birds, but thought the walk would give us the option of exploring some locations that might prove worthwhile. And as Ashley over on “Aussiebirder” points out Forest Therapy is about taking the time to appreciate the simple, and common around us.
What surprised us was the height that the water had come up to in the recent floods. Trees festooned with plastic bags and other disposable disposed rubbish certainly drew a line. Including a rather large log that was jammed 5-6 metres above water level.
We did find the usual suspects and a few extras which did make the day worthwhile. And we have a couple of places that might yield us some good opportunities in the future.
Sore of feet and a little exhausted, we headed for home and lunch.