Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens


I flew into Hobart at lunchtime, met Maureen at the airport and picked up the rental car, a budget-wise Corolla hatch, checked into our Sandy Bay Motel and headed for the Royal Tasmanian Botanic Gardens beneath a grey drizzling sky. The eucalypt woodland of the Domain gave us our first birds, the Tasmanian subspecies of the Australian Magpie, Noisy Miner, and Silvereye, as well as a large group of Eastern Rosellas. In the gardens, clouds of Silvereye foraged in the flowering prunus, Yellow and Little Wattlebirds called raucously, and Forest Ravens strutted across the lawns, but the most common bird was the Eurasian Blackbird, collecting worms for young cheeping from the denser bushes. We don’t have them on the Central Coast (yet) so found their busyness interesting to watch. Adding to the ‘Little England’ feel were Goldfinch, Starlings, House Sparrows and Skylarks looking at home among the majestic oak, elm and birch trees. A highlight of the gardens for me was the wonderful Sub-Antarctic House, a re-creation of the Macquarie Island environment.


Tasmania has twelve endemic species, and we were hoping to photograph them all during the stay, but as the drizzle turned to rain, we headed back to the motel to consult the weather gods and our maps.

There are also a number of species which are endemic at the subspecies level, such as the threatened Wedge-tail Eagle, and species which are known as breeding endemics, including the endangered Orange-bellied Parrot and the Swift Parrot, that breed in Tasmania but migrate to the mainland.

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