Return to 2006 Australia Trip
Sunday, October 22, 2006 – 7:15 PM
Bedfordale, near Armadale, Western Australia
I’ll try to get started here, but Richard will be showing up to drive us to dinner in about 15 minutes, so I won’t finish. We are planning to be up early tomorrow, so I can’t stay up late tonight writing, either. Let me tell my spider story from last night, and then I will close for now, and continue when I can.
Last night, after my shower, I spotted the biggest spider I have ever seen (other maybe in a zoo or on TV), hiding behind the toilet, in the corner. I imagine it was perfectly harmless, but its body was the size of a fifty cent piece (US or Aussie), and its hairy legs stuck out way beyond there. You will see its picture when I get Photos08 up, whenever that might be.
I’m not especially afraid of spiders, but this little beastie gave me the willies. I got some pictures of it, including some with my watch nearby, for size comparison. Keep in mind when you look at the picture with the watch that the watch is closer to the camera than the spider, so the spider is actually bigger than it might appear.
So, the poor little spider was probably completely harmless, but I wasn’t willing to let it just live in my bathroom. I couldn’t think of a way to safely capture it and move it outside, so I finally reluctantly killed the poor thing. I still feel guilty about doing that, but I just wasn’t willing to let it be. As it was, I still checked around the bathroom every time I went in there after that. I kept envisioning its mate or its brothers looking to avenge it, and in the morning, I checked my slippers before I stuck my feet in them. You no doubt think I am exaggerating or over-reacting, but I ask you to reserve judgment until you see the pictures, whenever that may be.
My internet access continues to be problematical, and I don’t know when I will be able to get this posted, let alone more pictures. I’ll try for tomorrow morning for this, but I doubt I will be able to take the time to post any more pictures.
By the way, I have now been to dinner and am back. I have to get to bed soon, since we are scheduled to leave here at 6:30 tomorrow morning, and it is 9:30 now. Richard wanted to start at 6, but I talked him into making it 6:30. We have set up breakfast here at the B&B for 10:00, and after that, I will have to drive for about five hours to my next stop.
So, I was up at about 6 this morning, but didn’t get out of there until a little after nine. I made my breakfast sandwich, along with three more – two for lunch today and one for breakfast tomorrow. As I was eating my breakfast on the back verandah, I heard a squawking sound that was new, and as I started to look to see what it was, a parrot flew down and perched right out in front of me for several minutes. It was unfamiliar, and I realized that I had just found a new lifer, a Red-capped Parrot, without even leaving my own back porch. A good start to the day.
I got a batch of emails sent off up at the main house, and I met Jefferson’s 100 yeatr old mother, who was surprisingly spry, although I guess her sight is about gone. As I said, I hit the road a little after nine. I got to the general area where we are staying, and I stopped at the Gleneagles Rest Area, a place I had heard of, and one that my birding buddy in Perth, Peter, had recommended to me. It was the birdiest place I have been yet on this trip! I rapidly added a couple more lifers to my list, Western Wattlebird and Western Rosella. I also added New Holland Honeyeater there, to my trip list. There were other “good” birds that I had seen before, too. While happily seeing birds for almost an hour, within 150 feet of my car, I also got to listen to the steady boom, boom, boom beat of music coming from the back of the rest area. There was a group of young people, maybe 15 or 20 carloads of them, having some kind of event back there. The music all had a very heavy bass beat, and when I drove by there, they were dancing around in a clearing. I’m not really sure what the theme was – they were dressed fairly extravagantly (by my pedestrian middle class standards), with a lot of black and a lot of body piercings. Drugs were definitely involved, I smelled marijuana clearly. Anyway, it made for a different environment than my normal birding. It sure was good birding there, though.
After that, I drove on into “town”, which in this case was the suburban town of Armadale. I found an ATM and loaded up with cash, and found a place to buy some potato chips to go with the sandwiches I had made, and I went back to the Wungong Dam picnic area, another well-recommended birding place. I had my sandwiches (and potato chips) and walked around a little, picking up a good life list bird, the Shining Bronze-Cuckoo. From there, I moved on to the B&B that Richard had booked for us.
The Picture Perfect B&B is an amazingly nice place – picture perfect in terms of location and appearance, and also in terms of accommodation. They have two units, the Fairy-Wren Suite, which I claimed, as the first arrival, and a railway car that has been turned into a suite, which is where Richard is staying. I consider this to be the absolute opposite of the Northam Motel, which you have already seen if you are keeping current. I took some pictures which you can see eventually, if you stick with me here.
While I was waiting for Richard, I picked up another life list bird, the Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo. It is as exotic as its name implies, and you will hopefully see pictures eventually, as I took some. Richard showed up at 3:45 on the dot, as he had said, and we soon went off to see what we could find in the waning hours of the day.
Wouldn’t you know it, it was slow birding back at the Wungong Dam area, which is supposed to be so good for birding. We walked a long way, downhill (meaning uphill all the way back, of course), but it was very quiet, birdingwise. I finally did see two lifers, both pretty common birds, the Western Gerygone (don’t even try to guess how that is pronounced) and the Western Spinebill. So, for the day, I had seen 8 new species for the trip, of which 7 were lifers. From a birding standpoint, an outstanding result, given the stage of my trip. Finally I have started to see the “endemics” of Western Australia, meaning those species that only live here in Western Australia, and nowhere else in the world. There are 12 or 14 of those, or so.
We got back to our B&B about 6:30, and I took a much-needed shower, and we went out to dinner about 7:30. It was nice and overcast today, and really not all that hot, but it was very humid, and our little walk (with all the uphill at the end) had overheated me, and it took quite a while for me to cool down, even with my shower. We went out to a Chinese restaurant, and I though the food was quite good, although Richard thought it was only about average. Anyway, we cleaned it up and won’t be hungry tonight.
So, we are scheduled to leave at 6:30 in the morning, which means I have to set my alarm for 5:45, so I had better get to bed soon. I’ll try to get this posted to the website tomorrow morning, when we are back here for breakfast, but I don’t know if I am going to be able to do that or not. If not, then who knows when? This is an adventure, and internet access is one of the unknowns that makes it an adventure, and not just a trip.
Signing off for now, heading for bed,