It is a very rainy, breezy, almost chilly, grey morning here. We were scheduled be taken to Phillip Island at 7am, but the trek (as they call it) has been canceled. They expect to reschedule for Saturday or Sunday. The weather looks good for the weekend, so we will see. Crossed fingers!
Yesterday was wondrous. We were booked to do a half-day with Margaret Christian the author of “Norfolk Island… The Birds.” John Weigel had highly recommended her. She was a park ranger here for 20 years and she really knows the island and its birds. She drove us to the National Park where we headed up the trail at a leisurely, birding pace.
About fifteen minutes along, I saw that Margaret had turned to look at something in a tree over the path behind us. It was a very large, brown bird. Lynn was already on it. I got my bins on it, and I was looking at the stripey head and long tail of a Long-tailed Cuckoo! I marveled at it for a moment before it flew off into the park. There was no time for a photo, just an incredible “lifer look” at a dream bird. Even Margaret had never seen this bird in the wild! She had only previously seen one that was injured after flying into a window. Yes, we ticked the Long-tailed Cuckoo! I was amazed. I am amazed. I am grateful! (And yes, once again I was wearing my lucky VEFL t-shirt).
We continued along the trail where we saw many wonderful birds including Norfolk Island endemics. We marveled at a beautiful and endangered, Norfolk Island Parrot that flew in and perched by the trail. We got fantastic views of the lovely and also endangered (or threatened, depending upon what you read) Slender-billed White-eye. We saw our little pal, the Norfolk Island Gerygone again several times. We had beautiful Pacific Robins along the path as well as the very understated Norfolk Island subspecies of the Golden Whistler. We also saw the N.I. subspecies of the Grey fantail, which was ridiculously confiding, almost landing on us as we walked along. Again, the views here were unbelievably beautiful. This place must be experienced, words and even photos do not do it justice. And I am here, and I am grateful.
|Norfolk Island Parrot, Tasman Parakeet, Green Parrot... whatever you call it, it is awesome! |
|Slender-billed White-eye showing its slender bill and white eye.|
|Norfolk Island Gerygone|
|Mr. Pacific Robin |
|Ms Pacific Robin|
|Golden Whistler with a touch of golden.|
|And a Song Thrush because it looked pretty there on that branch.|
Upon leaving the National Park, we discovered that the van had a flat tyre. I began changing it, but before I could finish the service station mechanics arrived and completed the job. Bear in mind that no one is ever more than about 15 minutes by car from anywhere else on the island. It is not a large place.
Tyre replaced we drove to Margaret’s home on the cliffs of the island were she has Masked Boobies nesting in her yard. It was amazing seeing the Boobies and their offspring. This was an unexpected thrill. While there, we had tea and cake as we did a little casual sea watching. I am so very grateful.
|The ball of fluff with a beak is a White Tern chick. They are born out of eggs that are laid directly on the branches. The White Tern makes no nest. It is amazing that this works for them!|
|Oh, those awkward adolescent times... (Masked Boobies)|
|A much younger Masked Booby.|
|In memory of Jim Henson... |
|Gotta love them Boobies|
Back at our little cottage we had a relaxing late afternoon and then I picked up fish and chips for our “Lifer Pie” dinner treat. Their fish is freshly caught here daily, and it was absolutely delicious. I am grateful.
Now I am sitting inside the gazebo up the hill where the wifi is (hopefully) good. A little chook (the feral chickens are absolutely everywhere) has followed me in and is pecking at my bare toes. This particular little chook has been following me around like a puppy dog. He is quite cute in a homely sort of way.
Birds. Peace. Love. Earth. Laughter. Music.