Friday, December 23, 2011

Tasman Penninsula

We woke to sunshine on Sunday, so headed east to the Tasman Penninsula. We were on the lookout for waders as we passed through Sorrel, but apart from gulls,  Crested Terns, Pied Oystercatchers, Black Swans and the ubiquitous Masked Lapwings, the edges of the water bodies held little of interest. Stopping for breakfast at Dunalley, Black-faced Cormorants, Little Black Cormorants, Australasian Darters and Silver Gulls were lined up on the jetty. We took a detour before Eaglehawk Neck to see the tessellated pavement but were side-tracked by some spectacular native gardens alongside the road that were filled with Golden Whistler, Eastern Spinebill, Little Wattlebird, Superb Fairywren, Grey Fantail, and Yellow Wattlebirds.
A homeowner came out to see why we had huge lenses trained on his bedroom windows, and told us that at Devils Kitchen we could look down on albatross circling below, so we left the tessellated pavement for the next trip and headed off while I remembered his directions.
The scenery was spectacular along the stretch of coast that contains the Tasman Blowhole, Tasman Arch and Devil’s Kitchen, but no albatross circled below for us. A lone Australian Gannet flew past, and Silver Gulls launched themselves from the cliffs. Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Beautiful Firetail, Tasmanian Silvereyes, Eastern Spinebills and Tasmanian Thornbills were seen on the walk. We had been told by our first-day birding friend that the way to tell the Tasmanian Thornbill from the Brown Thornbill was to remember that the Tasmanian Thornbill wore white undies!
With the weather closing in, somewhere sheltered seemed like a good idea and the Blue Seal Cafe presented itself on the coast road as a likely spot. With a fire lit, and excellent tea and scones we comfortably waited out the worst of the rain.
The rain continued, a little heavier than drizzle, so we pulled into the Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park. The park was designed by renowned zoo landscape architect, John Coe, and includes four large habitats that demonstrate the devil's adaptability to a number of environments, including: a farmyard where the devils live among hay bales and farm machinery, which is where they are increasingly seen; a rainforest area; a eucalypt woodland; and an inside-out area where visitors now walk into the centre of a display with trees and grassland all around.
The park also had a great free flight show with birds that had been rescued or rehabilitated, including a Peregrine Falcon that had a wing amputated after colliding with a power line, and a Galah that had been surrendered by its long-time owners.
While I am interested in the history of Australia, and visiting historic sites, I didn’t think I could cope with the combination of encapsulated misery and tourist consumerism at Port Arthur, so we went to the Coal Mines Historic Site (the Coal Mines formed part of the system of convict discipline, and ruins of accommodation jails and offices remain).
We finished the day on the Tasman Peninsula at Lime Bay, were we saw sodden Green Rosellas, Grey Butcher Birds, Magpies and damp Bennet’s Wallaby and where a Pacific Gull snacking on a crab gave us the idea of heading back to Hobart for a seafood dinner on the Wharf.

No comments:

Post a Comment