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’twas a big day yesterday, I joined the Heyfield Birdwatchers and two hotshot birders from the EGBOC group at Mississippi Creek and Nyerimilang Park, places Peter and I reconnoitred recently. The fog had lifted by the time we got to the creek and there was good birding, even though the elusive Red-browed Treecreeper eluded us. They’re a keen lot, and nary a bird or call escaped their eyes or ears, and while this intense activity was going on what was old Dunc doing? Yes, you guessed it, crawling around on his hands and knees in the leaf mould taking pictures of toadstools. Aided and abetted I must say by the two lovely lady members of the party who shall remain blameless in the nefarious proceedings that eventuated later.
toadstool
Well, we filled in two and a half hours very productively there, and after noon piled into the vehicles and drove to Nyerimilang for lunch in the garden surroundings. With that out of the way we were led by one of the hotshots (who shall remain nameless) around the network of close in walking trails where a Lewin’s Honeyeater gave me a blinding view. Off then along the clifftop track where the old farm buildings are situated. I noticed a couple go in through the first gate and thought “Oh yes they’re going for a look at the old wagons there, I’ll have time to go in and have a look at the old pole and daub dairy building. This I did, plus a look at some of the old implements in the barn, and when I returned to the track to rejoin the others there was no-one there. Not a sound, not a solitary soul. “Ah, they’ve gone on up the track, I’ll soon catch them up” I thought, and set off, but after a couple of hundred metres there was still no trace. “Hmmm, I wonder if they cut through the buildings and went on down to the Homestead Track” was my next thought, so off I went and repeated the previous procedure with the same result. I was alone.
Now dear readers, you may think that this was a case of simple misadventure, but this old bush turkey knew better. I’ve watched every episode of Dad’s Army several times, and am well versed in military stratagems, I quickly realised that I had been tricked by a DIVERSIONARY TACTIC. Obviously tired of me dragging the chain, they’d decided to give me the slip and get on with the serious business of birding without further interruption, but they hadn’t reckoned on a counter espionage agent in their ranks.
If they’d been paying attention they would have got a clue when Peter announced at the park entry that he was paying for “me and my Dad” I mean, fatherhood at seven years of age is a little unusual don’t you think? Choosing his moment he melted away into the undergrowth and returned to meet up with me at the homestead, where we commenced a flanking manouvre. Off we went along the Homestead Track where battalions of Silvereyes, Blue Wrens and White-browed Scrubwrens were skirmishing, and after walking through the saltmarsh at track’s end in the vain hope of flushing an OBP, we lay in wait. We’d timed it perfectly, it was only a couple of minutes before we heard voices, whereupon we leapt from cover and had’em on toast.
Maintaining a dignified demeanor and without reproach I made the return journey with them, and when nearly back at the homestead had a little bit of luck. Beside the track there was a garden escape growing, a flowering Redhot Poker, and feeding on its nectar was an Eastern Spinebill.
eastern spinebill
So ended our day, and despite their clever but ultimately futile trickery I may even go out with them again. ;-)

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