New South Wales
The currawongs are amoung my favourite birds, this yellow eyed beauty was enjoying his perch in a she-oak whose branches overlooked one of the numerous small bays that fringe Sydney Harbour, one of the most spectacular harbours in the world.
The Pied Currawong is a common nomad in Australia’s east. They breed in isolation but will join flocks of up to 100 in winter, though I have never seen such a sight. To see them en masse sounds a bit too much like being inside Hitchcock’s movie the Birds! The currawongs have a strong, loud gong-like call that I find melodious, interspersed with whistling ‘oo-oooooo’.
I was down in Sydney town a couple of weeks ago… a seven hour drive down south from my usual abode … staying in an old house that belongs to my family. The house was originally a four room ‘holiday’ home with an outside loo, and while it has grown somewhat over the last seventy years, much of the original remains. From the deck, or ‘verandah’ to some, the view looks north-east towards a large promontory that juts into the Pacific Ocean surrounded by extensive reefs, an extinct volcano where I wandered as a child, picking up fossils as easily as one normally picks up shells. Over the years the trees have grown and a new house has gone up next door, yet even they could not damper the beauty of the early morning sky just before the sun came up, a fitting tribute to the molten heat of a once active and fiery volcano.
I have travelled in Asia and North America and loved every minute of it but my bucket list now includes more of Australia. This year I have been down to Bega on the New South Wales south coast,
a lovely oasis where old-fashioned single lane roads weave around headlands and through small villages.
Referred to as the Sapphire Coast it is a continuous panorama of rocky coastal headlands, rainforests, bird filled lagoons and camping grounds perched on river inlets and hidden away in isolated hamlets.
There is something about the camaraderie of camping grounds that I really enjoy.
Though I was staying with an old friend in his home at Dalmeny, we visited his brother at Dalmeny campground. He is well set up as a nomad, complete with a terrific camper trailer and an adorable odd-coloured-eyed blue heeler.
This area of the New South Wales south coast is a nature and art lovers paradise, overflowing as it is with national parks and nature reserves, walking trails that meander for hours through changing landscapes, surf and swimming spots, and quaint ‘arty’ villages made up of clusters of restored buildings, green streetscapes and folksy cafes.
Valla Beach on the New South Wales north coast is the perfect escape for a spot of birdwatching and a long stroll at the beach. Australia’s coastline is nearly one long continuum of beaches fit for swimming, fishing, surfing and beach-combing and many are fringed by great birding locations.