Sunday, 13 May 2007

A friend is down from Queensland for the week to attend a vet conference in the city. She arrived yesterday morning. After lunch in Yarraville (at Hausfrau in Ballarat Street), we decided to go for a walk in the You Yangs. That was the plan. The reality was a bit different.

'You'll like the You Yangs,' I said. 'They're the most prominent landmark on this side of the city.'

Well, Matthew Flinders may have seen them from the Bay, but we couldn't see them from the freeway (which is much closer). The whole area was blanketed in smoke from a fire somewhere. There was no point heading up the hills because the view would have been awful, so instead we went for a drive. It seems to me that every intersection (not that there are many in Mad Max country) bears a signpost for the Anakie Fairy Park*. Forget about Rome, all roads lead to the Fairy Park.

We opted for Serendip Sanctuary and got there about 45 minutes before closing. On the way in we saw a brown falcon (Falco berigora) but no wedge-tailed eagles, which are fairly common around the You Yangs. (Presumably the smoke was making it difficult for them to spot food. Or paragliders.)

Only a handful of people were at the Sanctuary, so we could watch the birds in relative peace. Within moments of sitting down in the first hide, we saw four whistling kites (Milvus sphenurus), two black kites (Milvus migrans) and a lone brave and/or foolish white-plumed honeyeater that thought it would harass all of them. (We also saw the usual array of magpie geese, chestnut teal, Pacific black ducks and masked lapwings and the odd eastern grey kangaroo and emu.) It was three-quarters of an hour well spent. I really must get down to the Sanctuary more often.


* If you really need to know what this is, Google on Anakie "Fairy Park".


Tracey said...

My kids used to love the fairy park, and every time we visited we would head up the road to Anakie Gorge, which is a lovely stroll. Or if you're feeling vigorous, there's a great climb up with some terrific views -- if it's not smoky.

I remember taking a Canadian friend there once, and she said, rather loudly, "Now I've seen more wild koalas than most Australians", which turned the heads of all the nearby Aussies and got her a few strange looks. Hmm, quite funny really. But you do always see koalas there.

Snail said...

The You Yangs are brilliant for koalas. Even I can spot them there.

Found out from an Anakie local that the signs tend to get moved around a bit by the yoof of the region. That could explain why the fingerposts to Fairy Park pointed in three different directions.