The solution of where to have breakfast was easily solved and I found myself at an establishment I wouldn’t think of going to at home – MacDonald’s! I was pleasantly surprised -they have a varied menu and service is quick and efficient – you place your order at the counter, wait five minutes, take your tray to a table and then throw away the containers afterwards! Not my normal style no – but the scrambled egg and bacon wrap was great and before long we were on our way to Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve.
The Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve encompasses the Tower Hill volcano and wetland and is 6.14 km² in area. Entrance to the park is free, there is a short drive and several walking trails. We chatted to a young German couple and asked – What have you seen? Oh – nothing we’ve just arrived. We’d just arrived too and in the two hours it took us to reach the visitor’s centre we’d seen kangaroos, emus, rabbits, a koala bear and a variety of birds! Their mouths dropped open when we told them this. The aim of most visitors seems to be to get to the visitor’s centre as fast as possible, walk the trail in record time, have a cup of coffee and leave. Then they return from holiday and say – We went to this nature reserve and didn’t see a thing. We had the best time looking for birdlife and of course every bird we saw was new to us. Because we look carefully for birds we tend to see all kinds of other creatures too.
The rock formations in the reserve are fascinating and beautiful. A wall of rock that is filled with tiny caves and crevices makes a wonderful apartment building for various creatures. Some noisy galahs were obviously waking up and were about to leave for whatever their mission was for today.
It wasn’t long before I spotted movement in the bush and to our delight we found the iconic Kangaroo with her young joey. It had been raining but the sun was out and they were catching the rays!
Long ago rabbits were introduced into Australia and they are still somewhat of a nuisance and can be seen in most neighbourhoods. They are in the parks too!
Leonie spotted the koala. If there are droppings at the bottom of the tree you are almost guaranteed that one will be sleeping on a branch above.
One of the birds we were delighted to see was the blue-breasted fairy-wren. She makes the tiniest nest – just a teaspoon in size. The eggs must be minute. The male is the pretty one and he has more than one wife!
Australia’s biggest bird in the Emu – and it doesn’t fly. It reminds one of the ostrich but it is not even closely related. I love our ostrich and this emu is also a fascinating creature. The female chooses more than one mate and then leaves the ones in favour to care for the eggs and the chicks without any help from her. He raises those chicks very well too!
We got very excited when we saw a very familiar little bird – just like the one we see at home only to discover that it was a tiny bit different and also had an odd name!
There were lots of birds on the bodies of water in the park. Familiar again were the coots – but these did not have red knobs.
The Australian Black-winged stilt is not the same as the South African species. The black nape is missing on ours.
This bird of prey was a great spot – not sure yet what it is but we’re guessing it is a Little Eagle.
On a walk we were lucky to spot this wallaby. At first she just looked like a rock but then I saw her move. She was very silent but not at all scared.
We heard and saw a lot of tiny, pretty and interesting birds – photography of said birds was next to impossible as they flit so quickly and hide in the foliage of the trees. But it was fun and we were delighted with our day.
We ended our trip with a visit to Port Fairy. It is a little fishing town and holiday resort with a beautiful river and coastline. Earl loved it and enjoyed looking at the fishing boats. The main catch is shark!
Next to the river we found a little fish shop that served seafood. It was not the Ritz but the view was to die for and the food served in a box at grubby outside tables was delicious – far too much though – we would have been better off sharing! Aunt assured us that $20 each for a meal was cheap by Australian standards!