2008: Two Peoples Bay, Australia

Two Peoples Bay

Back home is definitely where I did not wake up on Monday, the first day of December. There was something naggingly familiar about Albany, though, as I left it for Two Peoples Bay. Something that turned into the reality of rain by the time I arrived.

In fairness, I was travelling a few days behind some of the heaviest storms in Great Southern memory. Later in the day I saw evidence of flood damage in the town and my subsequent drive to Walpole took me past full roadside ditches, some still overflowing.

Also in fairness, that morning’s rain didn’t set in before I had added swamp harrier and wedge-tailed eagle to the trip list. The eagles were to be ever-present on my route across Australia, in sad contrast to the sparsity of their British cousins. Google Australia and gamekeeper, and a brand of wine appears to be the dominant association. Google Britain and gamekeeper, and shooting birds occupies the first page of results. This could correlate with the distribution of raptors in the two countries. But I am no statistician, so it’s just a guess.

Inland Thornbill

I’m sure the availability of habitat also enters the equation. I might have found accessing the wildlife difficult but areas set aside for it certainly existed – more so than back home. A bit of an opportunity lost, methinks.

The irony about Two Peoples Bay was that it did engage the public with nature but on my day the rain defeated me. With one small victory: 10cm of thornbill, which I was moderately happy to identify as broad-tailed. This is the western race of inland thornbill. Most species in the twelve-strong Acanthiza genus are wren-sized, which still makes them bigger than goldcrest (notwithstanding the answer to one question in Trivial Pursuit). So, that coupled with their hyperactivity presents identification problems. Hence, moderately happy.

My return to Albany rescued the trip somewhat with a second lifer.

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