I'm back in the Southern Highlands after three tranquil days on (and around) my father-in-law's property at Ellalong, near the base of the Watagan Mountain Range, deep within the splendid rolling reaches of the Lower Hunter Valley. I found myself unwinding and luxuriating within all the towering gums, seas of ferns and yellow box coppices up there.
The birding was tremendous. I recorded, in a variety of habitats (from yellow box woodland to paddocks with dams), 71 species from Saturday afternoon to today (Monday) at 12pm. The highlights were: Speckled Warbler, Brown Treecreeper, White-winged Chough, Grey-crowned Babbler, Little Lorikeet, Superb Lyrebird, Pied Butcherbird, Channel-billed Cuckoo, Wonga Pigeon, Brown Cuckoo-dove, Peaceful Dove, White-throated Gerygone, Yellow-tufted, Brown-headed, Scarlet, Blue-faced and Fuscous Honeyeaters, Jacky Winter, Zebra Finch, Boobook Owl, Australian Hobby, Wedge-tailed Eagle and Brown Goshawk.
It was grand to catch up with wildlife artist extraordinaire, Alison Green, and King of Trees, Max Elliot, when up there. Max told me a great story about when he used to work in a koala rehab centre... He had to 'tame' this koala called Blinky Bill so it would be down with the then novel idea of having its photo taken with tourists. For weeks, all Blinky wanted to do was attack Max. He clearly recalled Blinky biting him so hard, through layers of clothing, one day, that the animal's head was shaking with rage!
Check out Alison's website: www.alisongreendesigns.com.au
LJ, October 4 2009.