Orange-bellied success!

Wooo! What a day.

Woke up early, as our accommodation is more brightly lit than the the Opera House on NYE, and checked the weather for Maatsukyer Island – it was looking good – not too much wind, but high humidity. Had some breakfast, gathered my gear, and made my way to the airport.

To be told that there was a blanket of fog and nothing was happening today.

I almost cried, but because I’m tough and stuff, I didn’t. Anyway – had a chat with Greg at Par Avion (I’ll put links in here eventually) and explained my situation – id made this trip basically to see OBPs, and this was the 3rd attempt in 9 days to get in to Melaleuca, but with the weather etc etc, I understood it couldn’t happen. Obviously seeing someone as tough as me on the verge of tears wore him down, because he said that as they were having to get someone out (Ken? From the OBP recovery team) they’d try again when/if the fog lifted, and he’d give me a ring if hat happened. I’d only have about 30 minutes there, but it was the best he could do, although he said there was a fair chance it wouldn’t happen. I jumped at the chance.

Anyway – back to Hobart for a coffee, then we headed out to Peter Murrell Reserve to look for 40 Spotted Pardalote – the last bird I need on this trip. We get out of the car, walk down to the lagoon and my phone rings – its on!

I drive through Hobart as quick as I could, got there, paid m money (heavily discounted – I wasn’t doing the tour after all) strapped myself in and off we went! I don’t fly very well, but it went much better than I expected. Stuart the pilot was very good, and the flight was generally smooth.

Anyway – once at Melaleuca, I headed out to the hide down in the old mine site, and Stuart pointed out a male OBP in a tree – took my record shots, but expecting to see more at the feeding table, I didn’t put as much effort in as I should’ve. (I’ll post the shot when I get back to Sydney in a couple of days). Down at the feeding table, we’re told there’s been 1 around, and low and behold one flies over the top, but doesn’t land. The pilot, volunteer and Recovery team dude all walk back, and I’m given 25 minutes to have a look around. Got some shots of beautiful firetails and dusky robin at the table, and another (or the same) OBP fly over, but not much else shows. Then my times up, an I have to go back to the aircraft. Not too soon either – the clouds were rolling in and the predicted change was starting to make its presence felt.

the flight back was a bit bumpier, due to the wind picking up, but I’d got to visit, albeit much, much too briefly, a place not many people have been too, or know exists.

Oh yeah, and I saw and photographed Orange-bellied Parrot :)

Next stop, Bruny Island!