An enlightening search for a honeyeater

The best of my bad batch of images of the tawny-crowned honeyeater at the Bruny Island lighthouse.

While not being particularly religious in a churchy sense it is the wild flora surrounding the Bruny Island lighthouse that always makes me feel as though I am visiting God’s Garden.

The plants grow in profusion and the cruel wind that cuts through for much of the year in effect prunes them so each is like a miniature of others growing in less spartan surroundings.

So I was enthusiastic when my birding buddy Rod suggested we go there in search of the tawny-crowned honeyeater.

My guide on the Port Davey excursion to see the orange-bellied parrots, Mark Holdsworth, told me that these birds appeared at the lighthouse about this time of the year for a short stay.

Cameras ready we set out for the climb through GG to the lighthouse, distracted at first by a family of quail, the stunning ocean panorama, a flame robin or two and ubiquitous new Holland honeyeaters.

Then, out of nowhere came a pair of those never-before-seen let heard-of tawny-crowned honeyeaters. They alighted on the tallest of the low wind-stripped shrubs and gave us just enough time to raise our weighty lenses and fire off salvoes of hopeful shots.

That was when we discovered a particularly annoying behaviour of the TCH. They fly for a good 200m when you aim a camera in their direction.

After trudging for kilometres for an hour or so we gave up trying to get within shooting distance. Rod consoled himself with a shot of a dusky antechinus that bopped across the track near him, and I guess I just revelled in another visit to that fabulous wild garden on the doorstep to Antarctica.


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