Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Following a report of Brown Quail and Origma at/near Erith Coal Mine by Melbourne-based birder Ian Lundy, I  tramped along the track to the Coal Mine in 24 degree heat last Sunday morning. Neither bird showed. I need the latter for my Southern Highlands list.

What I did discover (by myself, and then later, with my son's keen-eyed help) between the almost metaphysical waves of cicada song, grass trees, boronias, irises, eggs and bacon, hakeas, geebungs, banksias, coral ferns, scribbly gums with their polygraph graffiti and eucalypts various, were frogs or toadlets making the noise of distant geese (odd, will have to follow this up), a Jacky Lizard sunbathing (it's been a long time between Jacky Lizards), a minute snail with olive and yellow shell patterning, a centimetre-long red and black spider (I'll have to consult my spider guide), a well-camouflaged brutalist-architecture-grey grasshopper or cricket, Tree Martins arcing beneath the canopy (I've not watched them below the canopy before; I also saw one perched in a tree on my last visit: another first), bull ants ready for biff-o, excitable Striated Thornbills and full-voiced Rufous Whistlers.

The coachwood-blessed wet forest beneath and beyond the entrances to the disused mines, has huge potential for Sooty and Powerful Owls, perhaps a wayward/lost Pink Robin, Green Catbirds, Noisy Pittas, Logrunners, crayfishes, a variety of amphibious things and, if one's lucky, quolls.

The place has seduced me. Naturally, I'll return.

LJ, November 2 2010.

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