Okay….the next 2 ½ days will focus on birding in Tasmania where I will solely delve into finding the 12 endemic birds (my apostles).
Now, Tasmania goes way beyond the devil and into the Apostles. While this island is small, it still takes 4 hours to drive north to south, so like all other aspects of driving in Australia, ‘mate’….it takes a while. Now, prior to coming down here I did my research and carefully staked and mapped out my birding protocol. Destination Hobart, and from there I made a point to ‘bird’ Tasmania minus Bruny Island. Although all endemics are found on this small Island south of Hobart, I had this impression that it was a combination of a ‘zoo and a tourist locale’. I also purposely chose not to bird with a guide for I wanted this to me my ‘finds’ and not a guide who drives me up to the bird, opens the car door and allows me to snap a shot while telling me exactly where on the tree limb it is located. Oh, watch the door as he closes it so we move on to the next bird.
Airport….you forgot that they drive on the left hand side of the road and the steering wheel is on the right hand side. Surely you jest batman. Getting ‘behind’ the steering wheel was the first problem as I immediately opened up the wrong side of the door. Tentatively, very tentatively I drove out the airport parking lot knowing that I just signed a waiver saying I was personally responsible for up to $4000 in car bills if…..if….well, you know.
I aptly got lost in traffic in Hobart on the way to the hotel. You see, Hobart is built on small hills and mother nature did not take into account numerous cars that make up a certain element of the population here. And to top it off, today the Chinese president was in town (spending time in nature after the G20 summit where the environment was omitted from all topics---gees, what is the point of politicians). Because he was due to land just minutes after I set off to get lost finding my hotel, thousands of Chinese tourists lined the streets waving the red flag as I passed by. Hmmmmm…wrong guy.
I dropped off and checked in and ….First up…birding Peter Murrell Reserve as I still had some light left. Initially I went to the wrong end of the place and ended up in a dry habitat and became disappointed quickly. So, off on the car to find the right end of things using the right hand side of the car and left hand lane. I found it….A great little spot and things were active. I came away with about 25 birds including four endemics under my belt; Yellow Throated Honeyeater (their version of Warblers I think), Yellow Wattlebird, Black- Headed Honeyeater and Tasmanian Native Hen. Not bad…3 hours, 4/12 apostles checked off. But, let me tell you that the most awesome aspect of that birding was not in the endemics but in coming across three, 3, yeah….3 Tawny Frogmouth. Now, those things are like Night Jars on a limb, so you don’t find those very easily but I found three of them. And to top it off, they were all on the same exact limb. A mom, dad and a baby nestled in between. Awesome mate…… Also, I meet a cool mate named Mack, who is president of his equivalent of the Hobart Audubon Society and we birded a bit and just chatted about birds in general. Surprisingly how like people meet….. Well, back to the hotel to download images and plan tomorrow.