As my wife and I made our way from Launceston to Freycinet National Park we stopped for a break at the little town of Perth (in Tasmania not Western Australia) under a huge fig tree. To our delight we heard sounds from up in the tree, and looked up to discover a family of Long-billed Corella, which are only found now in a very small area of South Australia and sometimes in the Tasmanian midlands, where we enjoyed our break.
The above picture may appear to be a watercolour painting of the famous Frecenet National Park on the eastern coast of Tasmania, but it is a photograph. As we approached the National Park the famous Hazards Mountains come into view. As we continued into the park to our accommodation we were delighted to have this view…
The Hazards, glowing in the sunshine, when the sun was out. On arrival we heard and saw birds in every direction flying between the trees around us, it was a hive of activity, as there was much eucalypt blossom to be found here.
Immediately I stepped onto the balcony these two White-bellied Sea-Eagles flew back and forth several times, checking me out. One sadly had a piece of what appeared to be animal intestine trailing from its tail in which it appeared to be caught. I was in bird heaven, as the birds just kept coming across the yard.
The Yellow Wattlebird made an appearance, and the many varieties of flowering native grevillea and bottlebrush were all in full flower, attracting the honeyeaters. If you want to attract birds to your garden plant these two types of nectar bearing shrubs, there are many beautiful varieties.
This beautiful tiny Spotted Pardalote was a treasure to behold, as it is not often seen on the ground, but spends its day high in the canopy of the eucalypts This amazing bird, one of our smallest birds, actually nests and rests in a tunnel it digs in earthen embankments in the ground. They are becoming threatened and endangered in our state, as breeding numbers have dropped drastically last year.
The New-Holand Honeyeaters were numerous, and having a nectar party.
Large groups of these very active little birds zoomed about from flower to flower, or just checked the grass for seed and insects.
This Superb Fairy-wren was a young male morphing to maturity. Initially they grow up looking like the female (as many bird do) having the earthy brown coloring, which God has given for their protection. When they come to full adult breeding capacity they dawn their full male plumage, which is beautiful and which allows them to protect their family, drawing attention away from the more vulnerable but less interesting family.
Above are examples of the beautiful eucalypt flowers which attract the many honeyeaters, and rosellas. This is why there were so many birds buzzing about while we were there in late Summer.
My Bird of the Week – The Green Rosella
The Green Rosella is endemic to Tasmania and its surrounding islands, it was another lifer for us. We found it throughout the state in heavy forests and woodlands but more so in the heavier rainfall districts, where their is blossom. It is called the Green Rosella, but it is mainly the young juvenile birds that are actually green, the adults change to a more yellow colour as they mature. The Adelaide ‘Yellow Rosella’ looks very similar to the Tasmanian Green Rosella except that the Green Rosella has a red band above its nose over it’s lores. The Green Rosella look spectacular yellow underwing when they fly in the sunlight, but blend in beautifully with the bushes they feed from, and can be very difficult to spot as they often feed silently. They are often in very small family flocks, moving about in search of blossom, berries and bean pods. We had them in our front yard where we were staying and did not realize they were there feeding till one made its characteristic whistle.
The Galahs here in Tassie appeared more richer and brighter in colour than our mainland variety. The Tasmanian Magpie is a white-backed variety (race hypoleuca ).
Above are some of the shore birds we sighted along the coast, which have been sighted previously in other coastal areas of Tassie. The Pacific Gull, similar to the Black Swan, has many plumage changes during the process of becoming a mature adult. The many changes in pattern and colour can assist one in accurately determining the age of the bird. You may have noticed the differences with the previous immature Pacific Gulls I posted in Bruny Island. The above is a young juvenile around a year old. As it matures its body will become more white, and beak yellow with red lipstick markings.
We did not get to do the famous Wineglass Bay walk as too many people were there, and there was no where to park. I had done it years ago, but it was sad my wife never got to do it. Finally we drove down the east coast to Triabunna where we caught the ferry to Maria Island National Park for the day. This park has many unique bird and plant species, some endemic to the island. This was an early convict settlement and later became a small commercial enterprise for cement production, which has since gone, and now it is a National Park where you can only walk and ride bikes around, as it has been preserved, for its natural significance. Visitors can stay on the island in the convict quarters at the settlement in Darlington, the only town on the island, if you can call it a town. You need a National Parks Pass to actually come onto this island as it is entirely a National Park.
The first birds we encountered on the island were these Cape Barren Geese grazing on the grass around the old convict buildings at Darlington. These geese are found all around the coast of Tasmania and Kangaroo Island including parts of coastal South Australia.
They do look quite beautiful in the sunlight, especially with their attractive beak.
This young Brown Thornbill was a beautiful find in the sunlight, as they seldom are still enough to photograph, usually deep in some thick bush.
This Strong-billed Honeyeater, another endemic bird to Tassie was moving about looking for insects.
This Tasmanian Scrubwren and these Tasmanian Native Hen, both endemics were joined by the Grey Fantail, which is often a very curious bird watching and following us.
As we returned from our walk on the island we remarked how we had not seen as many bird types as we had hoped. The day was hot and the trees tall, making most of the birds difficult to see, though they made enough noise. However, to our great delight as we walked back to catch the ferry we sighted this male and female Flame Robin.
Jumping about the grass near the Flame Robin was several Yellow-rumped Thornbill, a very small bird, with the distinctive yellow rump.
We noted two kinds of Grebe on the island, the Hoary-headed and the Australasian Grebe. We often find a lone Australasian Grebe in ponds and lakes in the middle of nowhere, and wonder how they ever get together to breed. On the return ferry trip we heard some of the visitors sharing how they were attacked by aggressive Tasmanian Tiger Snakes, one person several times. We prayed for protection as we walked through the thick bush, and were so thankful we saw none while we were there.
On returning to Triabunna we drove back to Hobart, having done a circuit over the past two weeks of Tasmania. We missed many places but did visit many of the most important. We left on Valentines Day as the rain moved in, and we heard that it snowed on Mt Wellington the very next day (the mountain in the right background in the above photo). We thank our Lord for wonderful weather, and for holding off the cold till we left. Many of the locals remarked how good the weather was for us in some of the wild weather areas of the west coast, and we were blessed because we have a good, good Father who delights in us delighting in Him and His Creation. We both enjoy the beautiful personal intimate relationship we share with our Heavenly Father, who loves to give good gifts to his children. So I leave you with this…
We found this little Pacific Black Duck in the Tasmanian Botanic Gardens just hours before we left for home. It typerfies how we find blessing in life. No matter how small or insignificant you may feel you are in life, you have been equipped with the same means as anyone else to achieve and accomplish great things, it is having the best mindset and attitude that brings blessing. This ‘little black duck’ takes the initiative to spring out of the water to catch passing insects, and learns to reap its rewards. Be encouraged my friends you were designed for greatness even if it is in the humble context of your family and community, chase the blessing and even better, chase the One who gives it.
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