Michael and I have been away for another couple of days in the Grampians. One of my most favourite places. A couple of days there feels like a couple of weeks.
One of the things I love about being there is the sheer difference between the macro and the micro.
Michael and I walked part of the way up Mt William, the Grampians’ tallest peak. We sat for a while and looked across the Mt William Range to the Major Mitchell Plateau and the Serra Range. An amazing macro view.
Our senses are filled with the wondrous view. The warm sun on your faces, the cold wind whistling between the rocks, the smell of eucalyptus trees. Then if you take the time to look closely you can see the micro.
You can see the dew clinging on the sun-dew flowers, the droplets glisten in the sunshine.
The micro world is getting ready to burst forth with its array of colours as the weather warms up. The orchids are just starting to bloom and they are always a treat.
Somewhere between the big mountains and the tiny flowers is the wild life. A treat is the local sulphur-crested cockatoos that visited our room for the chance to nibble on some sunflower kernels.
Nothing like a few seeds to bring in a crowd. Each cockatoo has its own personality, this one carefully picks up each kernel to eat, another one would gather 4 or 5 at once, yet another would peck at your hand and others would be gentle. There were some that would approach carefully, headed cocked on one side to keep you in its view and one that jumped on our shoulder to get to the seed.
There are always plenty of birds in the Grampians, I could and do stand, stare, point and admire.
As we’re walking down from the Picaninny, I can hear some twigs breaking so I stop and listen carefully, slowly spinning my head until I find a family of Gang-gang cockatoos sitting in a native pine eating the nuts.
The highlight of the weekend however was the journey home. We stopped to take a short walk up Mt Noorat, just out of Terang. It’s a dormant volcano. The crater is an inverted cone. As we walked around the rim a flash of movement caught my eye as I turned my head to the left there was a single flap of wings and I came eye to eye with the wedge-tail eagle. We seemed to make eye contact and he let out a couple of short squawks as he glided past us.
We couldn’t believe our eyes. We had seen eagles before, off in the distance. This was close. We watched as he flapped and began to circle, keeping one eye us. It was just amazing.
As he circled back around and dipped back below the crater rim we waited for him to reappear. However, not everyone was as excited as us for this moment. As he flew over the tree tops the local magpie clearly thought he was a little too close for comfort.
An aerial battle began. It was very one-sided, the eagle not really very interested in the magpie. The magpie would be flapping its wings rapidly and I could hear that swooping noise as it flew towards the eagle. The eagle on the other hand effortlessly flapped twice and kept just ahead of its attacker. With an extra burst of flappiness the magpie managed to catch up and it swooped down on the larger bird and the eagle flapped a couple of times and continued on its way seemingly unconcerned. The magpie continued its assault and saw the bigger bird off.
The presence of this bird of prey had the mountain buzzing. The magpies began warbling, and as the eagle circled around the local population of birds began calling out their warnings.
Here’s a short video of the battle:
As we continued our drive home we stopped numerous times to take photographs of other birds, Nankeen Kestrel, Brown Falcon, a Black-shouldered Kite
Each a delight to look at.
Take some time to flip through Michael’s photos – They are well worth it!