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AUSTRALIA | Monday, 11 November 2019 | Views [97]

Gray Kangaroos, Dubbo

Gray Kangaroos, Dubbo

THE OPERA HOUSE AND HARBOUR BRIDGE WERE dawn silhouettes when the Noordam arrived on Saturday.  The Captain had the pedal to the metal in order to reach the safety of the harbor ahead of the expected weather front.  As it was the temperature was only 15°C when we went ashore, hardly appropriate for our shorts and sandals.  We shared a van to the airport where we picked up our rental car, conveniently equipped with an English-speaking GPS, whom we named Sheila.  She was essential to getting out of the Sydney-metro area but the 170 km through the Blue Mountains were pretty straight forward. 

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                                         Iconic Sydney at Dawn

We are sandwiching a week in New South Wales between cruises .  This is our third trip to Austrailia.  The first was 3 months of tent camping and we spent four months in a campervan in 2011, but we haven't been to this area in 15 years when we were still novice travelers and birders.  

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   Sulphur-crested Cockatoos

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                                           Crimson Rosella

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                                                        Galah

I could hardly resist booking at Springmead Stud Farm B&B—no red-blooded American male could.  Marjorie and Glenn raise cattle, sheep, ducks and run the B&B in addition to the stud service.  The farm also has a menagerie of sulphur-crested cockatoos, galahs, crimson rosellas, kangaroos and one kookaburra.  The wifi is nearly worthless but town—and McDonald’s—are only 10 kilometers away.  Sadly, they didn't need my stud service but Marjorie did wash our laundry!

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          Superb Fairy Wren

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                                    Red-rumped Parrot

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                                                     Laughing Kookaburras 

Connie’s goal in the area was Capertee Valley, a birding hotspot 40 minutes away.  We were concerned about the fire danger—bush fires are raging both New South Wales and Queensland—but we have no concept of how near.  Australia, normally a sunburned land, is experiencing an unprecedented drought and the resinous gum trees are highly flammable.

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                         Lord of Flies

We had no problems on Sunday but smoke filled the valley when we returned on Monday on our way to Dubbo.  The smoke didn’t seem to bother the birds—and it had no effect on the bazillion flies, either! 

 

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