I'm in the first of two legs of my vacation. The first leg is Melbourne, Australia. My second leg (and ultimate destination) is the Australian island of Tasmania, where I'll be a member of a small, guided birding tour. We'll be trekking primarily around Tasmania's forest reserves and bodies of water.
It was a six hour flight from NYC to LA, a two hour layover, then a fifteen hour flight from LA to Melbourne. I got off the plane ten hours ago and am doing alright jet lag-wise so far. Melbourne is currently 16 hours ahead of NY time.
This is actually my fourth visit to Australia but first time this far south. I adore the country's more laid-back attitude, remoteness, and beautiful natural world. When I heard about this birding tour I knew I had to come!
View outside my hotel window (South Yarra neighborhood):
View from left to right:
Today I visited nearby Royal Botanic Gardens, a meticulously manicured and carefully planned park.
Some of Melbourne's skyscrapers viewed from the park:
Bird with grub:
Australian Wood Duck (male):
Purple Swamphen (or Pukeko to Kiwis/New Zealanders) below (amazing and fun bird). My jaw almost hit the ground when I saw it (it walked right by me) but the locals around me didn't even look twice! These birds must be as common-looking as our Canada Geese in the northeast United States.
Gull giving me the stink eye:
The bird was in a bad mood apparently. It had chased off a few other gulls and walked around like it owned the place.
Black Swan and brood (we're approaching summer in the Southern Hemisphere so these are this year's spring kids):
Pacific Black Duck:
Male Chestnut Teal:
Some of the Garden's flora:
Birds of Paradise (so fitting!):
Magpie with grub:
The Magpie's friend:
I'm so used to hearing NYC traffic outside my window. The loudest things I've heard all day outside my hotel windows are various bird songs and calls.