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Thursday, November 16, 2006 Ė 7:40PM

Werribee

 

Only a few more hours to go now, and I will be heading for home.  This could be my last Ramblings for this year, or I might decide to add some summary comments in another one when I get home.

 

I decided today to go out looking for one or two more species that I hadnít seen yet.  I figured I could probably find Long-billed Corellas, and Richard gave me a list of roads to drive up and down, looking for them.  The roads were on the way to the You Yangs Regional Park, a very good birding site I had been to two years ago with Richard, so that is where I headed.

 

As it turned out, before I even got to the roads that Richard had suggested, I stumbled across a flock of over 100 corellas, feeding in a field.  They turned out to be Long-billed Corellas, so I had found a trip bird right off the bat.  I took some pictures and moved on to the park.

 

On the way to the park, I passed a couple of families of White-winged Choughs (thatís pronounced ďchuffĒ), a species I like for some reason.  I got a couple of pictures, but couldnít get a good one of a flying bird.  They have white patches at the ends of their wings that you see when they fly.

 

The park was shockingly dry and brown.  The drought has really affected this area.  I looked around for a bird that used to live near the visitorís center, a Tawny Frogmouth, but it wasnít to be found today, by me.  I drove around and walked around the park a bit, but didnít see much of interest, as far as birds were concerned.  I had seen so many species by that time that it was very unlikely I would see anything new anyway.  I did get a picture of a Grey Shrike-thrush while it was calling, and I like that picture.

 

It was getting to be lunch time by then, so I went looking for a bakery that Richard had taken me to two years ago, but couldnít find it.  I settled for a chicken schnitzel sandwich and a bag of fries from a general store.  Not as good as a bakery pie and a caramel slice, but it filled the void.

 

After that I headed back to the Western Treatment Plant, on the public roads.  As I mentioned before, you canít really get to the best parts on the public roads, but there are still birds around.  I went looking for the Striated Fieldwren, the bird that Richard and I had spent over an hour looking for yesterday, but never found.  After looking several places, I went back to one of the places that Richard and I had looked yesterday in the rain, and by golly, I saw one!  Striated Fieldwren.  It was a brief look, but I am sure that is what it was.  Two trip birds for the day.

 

I took some more pictures in that area, including some of some Pacific Golden Plovers, one of the species that I had added yesterday with Richard.  I drove on some more, and took some pictures of sheep and cattle on the treatment plant land.  Today there seemed to be many more rabbits than I had noticed on earlier days this week, so I took some pictures of them, too.

 

Finally, as I was starting to head back for ďhomeĒ, about 3:30 or 4:00, I saw a little bird that seemed different from the usual suspects I was seeing.  I stopped the car and got out and pursued it, and got a couple more looks.  It was a bronze-cuckoo, a bird I havenít seen many of.  There are two species of them, and I had had three or so looks at one of the species, Shining Bronze-Cuckoo, but I had not seen Horsfieldís Bronze-Cuckoo.  I couldnít remember the differences to look for, but I remembered that when we met out in Perth, Richard had told me that the facial markings were the tipoff.  So, I looked closely at the face pattern on this bird, and then went to my field guide.  Horsfieldís!  Another trip list bird, at almost the last minute of the trip.  So, I ended up getting three new species today for my trip list, an excellent result, and much better than I had expected.

 

I stopped at Safeway and got some little chicken and vegetable pies for dinner, and came on home.  I also stopped at Hungry Jacks again for a large cup of ice and a small cup of orange juice, for my last round of drinkies on the trip.  Iíll get a bottle of Bundy rum at the Duty Free shop when I leave tomorrow, but when that is gone, it is goodbye to Bundy for me Ė you canít get it in the States.

 

Iíve already posted Photos23 to the website, and that will be the last one for this year, Iím afraid.   I havenít looked back at any of my pictures, after processing them and putting them up on the web, and I am looking forward to reviewing the trip via the pictures (and probably the Ramblings as well, if I can plow through them all), once I get home and get settled in.  I know I got a lot of them that I liked at the time, and Iíll be interested to see my reaction after some time has passed.

 

I will have time to pack up everything in the morning, before I head for the airport at about 9 or 9:15.  My flight leaves at 12:20 PM.  14 hours to Los Angeles, a three hour layover there, and then 3 more hours to Seattle.  A very long day again, but it is taking me home, so I donít dread it particularly.  It will be boring, and I will feel lousy from lack of sleep by the time I get there, but my own bed will be waiting for me, and I wonít have to pack up my stuff for another move for a long time, I hope.  Christina will be cooking my dinners, too, which will be a huge relief, not to mention being much better for me.

 

So, it has been a wonderful trip.  Iíve been to a very large number of different places, met a lot of very nice people, saw a lot of birds (263 different species), took some pictures I liked, and just generally had an excellent time.  Over six weeks traveling alone Ė I couldnít possibly have done it without the internet to keep in touch with people at home.  Thanks to everyone who wrote me Ė I enjoyed each and every email, and they really made it possible for me to do the trip.

 

Barry Downunder only a little longer