Monday, April 9, 2012

The Forester is Back

The panel beater delivered the Forester back on Thursday evening.  Yes, that’s right, the panel beater personally dropped off the Forester at our front door.  It had required a final wheel balance which was carried out in Nanango itself [the smash repair workshop is in Blackbutt, some 40km down the road].  It was just as easy for Nev to drop off the Forester here and drive himself back home in the RAV4, the courtesy car I had used since he had taken over the repair assignment.
The Forester concealed in bush while its occupants are birding the area.  Note the front passenger wing, the area damaged back in February.
It had never occurred to me that a humble panel beater could take such pride in his work but this one did.  Nev went to some pains to point out the finer details of his work on the Forester, especially his skill in colour-matching the pearl white of the vehicle.  Both Fay and I had to admit that the car looked immaculate, as good as the day it had been driven out of the showroom. I had at one time considered the possibility of never seeing the Forester again.  This is country-Queensland where panel beaters are almost as rare as chicken’s teeth, a shortage not assisted when some act like middle-aged 9-years-olds!
All previous plans for the following day, Good Friday, were immediately cancelled and birding stepped in to fill the ensuing vacuum.  On such short notice it would be difficult to venture too far afield, all the more as we noticed the petrol gauge indicator reading low and there was no guarantee that many service stations would open on Good Friday.  Given a quarter of a tank of petrol we opted to revisit the nearby Nanango Fauna Sanctuary, a piece of land on the town’s eastern boundaries set aside for the local wildlife, last covered on 1 May 2011.
As has been our wont on previous visits, we pulled up by the large, obviously manmade [person-made?], duck pond and immediately noted a pair of Pacific Black Duck Anas superciliosa and four Grey Teal Anas gracilis swimming about on the open water. An Australian White Ibis Threskiornis molucca was perched atop an overhanging tree on the far side.

On scanning across the duck pond a little more diligently we spotted a single Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyria and five Dusky Moorhen Gallinula tenebrosa, one of which was a juvenile still in its drabber plumage.
                                                                  Purple Swamphen

From the shrubbery across the duck pond we heard the distinctive whipcrack of two male Eastern Whipbirds Psophodes olivaceus but only one female response.  Were the three engaged in a little avian menage à trois?  A Grey Fantail Rhipdura albiscapa called from somewhere in the other direction and a Striated Pardalote Pardalotus striatus added its “chip chip” monotony to the growing cacophony of the post-Dawn Chorus period.  A Lewin’s Honeyeater Meliphaga lewinii punctuated their singing with its own particular thrill.
On previous visits we had always tended to retrace our steps back towards the East Nanango Road to take the right-hand track some 30m before hitting the road.  On this occasion we heralded in the changes and ventured forth along the left-hand track which we suspected lead back towards the Cattle Dip.  It did but it also produced a few interesting bushbirds.  The White-browed Scrubwren Sericornis frontalis scolded at the call of the old Audubon squeaker.  Does anyone else still possess one of these?  A Pied Butcherbird Cracticus nigrogularis called from some hidden corner; a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Cacatua galerita called from overhead.
We came away from this, our first birding expedition in the Forester since the smash on 20 February, with a bird tally of 24 species; well  below the record 33 on 6 June 2010 but only marginally short of the 26 on 6 September 2009.  On the other hand it was more than a 100% increase on the 11 tallied at the initial visit of 17 January 2009.
There were no especially outstanding species recorded on the day but the sheer pleasure of having the Forester back and being able to use it as the preferred mode of birding transportation was a blessed joy in itself.
And this is the four-day Easter weekend!

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