This morning when I woke up, I decided to do something which I had not done in years…to go on a solo weekday nature walk! So I headed off to the Royal National Park (aka my second home), which is about a 15 minute drive from where I live. Today I wanted a complete nature immersion, so no cameras, no mobile devices and no pictures (of my own anyway).
First stop, Audley for breakfast. Audley is located within the Royal National Park and houses a nice cafe facing the Hacking River, the visitor centre and numerous picnic spots attracting high numbers of visitors all year round. It was a lovely feeling to enter the Audley car park today and see only two other cars. This meant peace and quiet and fewer attempts from people trying to feed the wildlife in the park. A great start indeed!
I quickly placed my order and sat down to enjoy the amazing morning light and watch the Australian Wood Ducks and the Dusky Moorhens peacefully grazing away on the grass…UNTIL my toasts arrived. As I was busy looking down and buttering the toasts, I must have missed Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’ movie being remade around me. I had a shock when I looked up to see 8 Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, 3 Noisy Miners and 1 Australian Magpie surrounding my table. Some were sitting on the wire running above me, some on the ground, and a few perched on the chairs around my table. It was a stressful moment trying to decide whether to eat or not to eat my toast. Every time I brought the toast closer to my mouth, the birds on the ground inched closer towards me. It was unreal and funny at the same time. I had to chuckle as I remembered scenes from the ‘Birds’ movie. Ten minutes later, they finally realised that they were not getting anything from me and dispersed quietly as they came leaving me to enjoy my toasts.
After breakfast, I proceeded to walk the Wattle Forest path just around the corner from the cafe. This is a fairly short and simple walk along a narrow road but very beautiful. The Hacking River snakes along the path on the left while native vegetation and huge rock formations skirts the right. It is such a paradise for birds and lizards. I truly had a wildlife field day with sightings in such a short time. I saw Crimson Rosellas, Bowerbirds, Superb Fairy-wrens, Great Cormorants, Eastern Whipbird, Rainbow Lorikeets, Noisy Miners, Garden Skinks and a beautiful large male Eastern Water Dragon. There were also numerous dragonflies flying around me and kept me company while I enjoyed my walk.
On my way back to the car park, I had another ‘encounter’ with birds. At the half-way mark along the path, I started hearing loud shrieks from our white feathered birds and saw at least 12 to 15 Cockatoos abruptly landing on a small tree in front of me. A few of them flew so close, it almost felt like they were about to land on my head! The poor tree was almost bent from the weight of so many Cockatoos. They sat there with their wings stretched, crests raised and shrieking louder than ever completely drowning the atmosphere. You could see they meant business. But what business? Then I saw the individual causing all this drama in the midst of the overly worked up Cockatoos, an Australian Raven! I am really not sure what the drama was about, but everything calmed down as soon as the Raven left the scene.
After this exciting moment, I continued my walk while absorbing the beauty and sounds of birds singing around me. As I looked up around me, rays of sunshine broke through the canopy gaps giving the atmosphere an amazing feel as warmth washed all over me. I was a little sad to leave this place but what a brilliant end to my early morning nature walk!
Since I did not take any photographs, I found pictures of some birds I saw today so I could share this with you.
Photo Credits Crimson Rosella: David Cook Wildlife Photography /Foter.com / CC BY-NC Sulphur-crested Cockatoo: David Cook Wildlife Photography /Foter.com / CC BY-NC Superb Fairy-wren: Merrillie / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA Rainbow Lorikeet: birdsaspoetry / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA Eastern Whipbird: David Cook Wildlife Photography /Foter.com / CC BY-NC