Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Long Foggy Walk


I had a few hours to make use of today while the ute was having a service. I headed for the wetlands, as I tend to do if I have some spare time in Sale. It was cold and foggy, but by the time I got to the interpretive shelter, probably a 3km walk, I’d warmed up somewhat.
I headed for the lookout but found the final bridge was still down from the last flood – more than 12 months ago!
The main boardwalk has been repaired though, so I set off for a quiet stroll along its length. The birds were a bit quiet. I heard the calls of the Grey Shrike-thrush, Eastern Spinebill, Whistling Kite, Red Wattlebird, White-eared Honeyeater and a few others, but I didn’t see too much. In places on the boardwalk, the light wasn’t too bad. A couple of times I caught a family of Blue Wrens working over the reed beds for their morning feed.

As I tried for a picture or two, I was thinking that there is hardly a habitat in which I haven’t seen these wonderful little birds – mountain forests, coastal scrub, open woodland understorey, town parks and gardens, wetlands and everything in between. Great little adaptors I reckon.
The fog would thicken up now and then, and at times it was particularly quiet and eerie.

I headed back along the road and crossed the canal on the old bridge in Maxfields Rd, turned left and headed for the back end of Lake Guyatt. I’d probably walked something like 6 km by now, mostly on well formed and maintained walking trails or boardwalks. We’re pretty well catered for really. Lakes Guyatt and Guthridge have extensive and well used walking tracks too. The fog on Guyatt was just starting to lift, and a lone Pelican was cruising in the distance.
A little further on I could see some ducks sitting and waiting for the sun to come out. I didn’t have my binoculars, but I’d be fairly certain they were part of the Freckled Duck population that seems to have made this spot their base for the time being. As I passed under a flowering gum, a Red Wattlebird caught my eye. Amazing how well they can be camouflaged. The tree was not particularly dense. I was just concentrating on the one individual, waiting for it to get into some sunlight. Eventually got a couple of shots and went to walk off, and 4 of them flew out of the tree!

I crossed onto the Lake Guthridge track next and came across this Darter with the now stronger sunlight directly behind him, so that he appeared to be doing a Batman impersonation. Back up into town. A cuppa and croissant, an hour of shopping and back down to the garage. About 5 hours worth all up. “Ah, your vehicle is not ready yet sir, could you come back in an hour, or if you like you can make yourself comfortable in our lounge area and help yourself to a cup of coffee.” That’ll do me thinks I, having just purchased a fungi field guide that needed perusing.

Pleasant morning, if a little expensive.


  1. Those leg muscles must be well toned up Gouldiae, I won't be able to keep up with you. Better get back to work on the exercise bike now that I can breathe a little better. Looking forward to you identifying the fungi for me. ;-)

  2. G'day DF,
    Yeah, I have to admit when I jumped down off the fairway mower this morning, there wasn't much elasticity in the legs. I reckon your 'keeping up' comment is a bit off beam. I think it just means that I might have a slightly closer view of your back as you disappear down the track.
    Yeah, I've got the fungi ID down to
    'mushroom' or 'toadstool' already!

  3. It sounds like a great walk/hike. Is this the wetland you referred to in the previous post comment about private conservation?

  4. G'day Mick,
    Yes, part of it. The area purchased by the private group is right next door to where I went yesterday. The newly acquired area was a large privately owned block that had been severely overstocked and neglected. It's going to take some time to recover, but we're hopeful of it making an excellent addition to the wetlands right on the edge of Sale.

  5. With regard to wrens inhabiting all sorts of habitat, I was surprised to watch two a couple of days ago at the blowhole on the Tasman peninsula. They were hanging around washed up seaweed, no doubt catching insects, but they were then flying into the blowhole cave right among the spray from the surf.

  6. G'day Mosura,
    Fascinating. That's another one to add to the list, thanks.

  7. Hi Gouldiae
    Great to go on your walk with you, (virtually).
    Loved the Blue Wren on the pool. Looked like a miniature Blue Stilt!
    The Darter silhouette was a great shot.
    Your comments on the ubiquitous nature of Blue Wrens is interesting. I get them in wet forest in Robertson, and have seen them in Old Man Saltbush country, at Broken Hill. You can add those to Mosura's comment from Tasman Peninsula. Perhaps they are breeding in the blow-hole?

  8. hi Gouldiae,

    I, too, love the blue fairywrens, and usually hear them before I see them. Their busy nature is most endearing.

    I see them in my backyard here in rural Hunter Valey, as well as local town and industry; on the coast; out west and up north. Yep, I think you're right there - they really are everywhere.

    I enjoyed following your wetlands walk.


  9. Thanks Denis and Gaye,
    Yeah, great little birds. I have a story saved up about how we got a small family of them going around here at home. Gone now unfortunately. They were wonderful - actually followed me around the yard when I had a tray of mealworms for them.