Thursday, December 22, 2005

Yesterday I drove through what they call the hinterlands around here (anywhere more than 10K inland from the coast) to go and see some birds that will eat out of your hand. It's called O'Reilly's guest house.

The drive was quite a gut-wrencher; switchbacks all the way up this mountainside, 33 kilometers and it took an entire hour. The scenery was nice, if only I didn't have to watch the road! Blind corners and one-lane sections every five minutes or so. The forest went from eucalyptus trees with the sounds of cycades almost deafening to a denser kind of fig tree with the really wide trunks that have four or five sections, and the canopy covered the road. I saw my first bright blue parrot just off the road, yes alive and flying, two of them. The sound changed to the sounds of birds chirping. I was getting closer. The insect noises are duplicated by those Nature Store items that sell the rainforest sticks- you turn them over and hear all these seeds falling. Imagine about 50 people turning those sticks over at the same time in an echo chamber; that's what you hear in an Australian eucalyptus forest!

The O'Reilly's Guest House was really nice, perched at the top of the hill it has day and overnight hiking available. I just did the treetop walk, which is literally walking through the treetops. They acheived this by constructing a suspended bridge that goes 60' off the ground, and then you can climb higher into a perch up one of the trees for a look over the canopy. They also had a botanical garden that was nice.

Feeding the birds was quite a joy. As soon as they see a new tourist, with seed or not, they start landing on you, all over your head (wear a hat!) and arms.
But the bush turkeys were even more agressive, running fast at the little parrots and scaring them off. One even took an entire bag of seed in its beak and ran off with it, a Japanese tourist running after it! He managed to get the bag back, and all of us standing around agreed that the bird was very naughty.

No one was paying much attention to these guys, who came out around sunset around the resort. They were respected a bit like rabbits I suppose, cute and lots of them.

On the way down the hill I saw my first full size kangaroos in the wild, a mother and baby.


Blogger A Good Friend said...

Hey A-L - There's a bird on your head! ;-)
Cool pics and great description of the sights and sounds your experience w/ the birds, et al.
The more 'pampered' lodging that you found sounds good (my kinda place)...and well worth it I'm sure. (Especially when one is on Vaca.)
Thanks for the great pics and narrative - fun to live a little vicariously through your adventure.
Cheers and Happy Christmas,

5:41 AM  

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