3 Jan 2013

Christmas down -under

We arrived in Melbourne in the early hours of Sunday 23rd December and had to wait until 5 am Avis to open to collect our hire car. The 3 1/2 hour journey north to Wodonga, on the banks of the Murray River, passed uneventfully and we were soon safely with Amy, Locky & baby Lizzie.

A wonderful Christmas day was spent with the Murray clan in scorching temperatures and for the rest of the trip we alternated between barbeque's, swimming, shopping, gardening, baby sitting and dog walking.

The dog, Rugby, gave me a reason to get up before it got to hot and take him for a good walk across the wooded hills behind the house. Every morning we were greeted by the sight of a herd of Kangaroo's including the dominant male who occasionally took an unhealthy interest in the dog and wasn't prepared to back off. We did......................

He was a big mean looking Roo and stood taller than me. They have a reputation of being able to cause severe damage with their lethal hind claws and I wasn't going to take the risk of finding out if he'd back down first.

Meanwhile some of the herd did their best 'three bears' impersonation as they watched events with interest.

Bird wise I had fun trying to remember the names of those I'd seen on previous trips and identify the new ones.

 Crimson Rosella - male

 Crimson Rosella - female
Diamond Firetail
 Black-faced Cuckoo Shrike

 Double-barred Finch
 Dusky Wood Swallow
 Eastern Rosella
 juv Red-browed Finch ( II think!)
 Straited Pandalote
 Yellow-faced Honeyeater
Yellow-rumped Thornbill.

A great trip and we'll be sad to leave for Melbourne and our plane home later tonight. I've seen around 6 World 'lifers' on the trip - not bad for a non birding holiday! I found it easiest to try and grab a record shot and then identify from the comfort of an air conditioned house than fumble around with a field guide all the time in the heat. I'm now beginning to recognise a number of the commoner birds on call. We are already planning our next trip.

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