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At the Crossroads

AUSTRALIA | Wednesday, 17 January 2024 | Views [78]

The Old Crossroads Store, Wangaratta AirBnB

The Old Crossroads Store, Wangaratta AirBnB

WE WERE A BIT SKEPTICAL ABOUT STAYING at the Old Crossroads Store—it’s hard to imagine what once was a 1930s general store as an AirBnB? Surprise, not only is it a slice of Wangaratta history, the Crossroads Store is charmingly well-appointed. And while he wasn’t a paying guest, a much younger Mel Gibson sometimes filled in for the regular milk delivery guy. If only it had been Nicole!


                   Old Crossroads Store, a pleasant surprise


                           A Bit of Nostalgia


                          Young Braveheart at the Old Crossroads Store (archival family photo)

The Turquoise Parrot, our main reason for coming to Wangaratta, is also at a Crossroad. Thought to be extinct in the wild a century ago, Turquoise Parrots have made a comeback of sorts . . . but they aren’t out of the woods yet. They are still considered “Vulnerable” in New South Wales and “Near-Threatened” here in Victoria. 


                     Turquoise Parrots—not out of the woods yet


              Beautiful Hamilton Park . . . but no parrot

Several sightings had been reported not far from Wangaratta and we hoped to get a photo or two. There were parrots everywhere when we arrived at Hamilton Park—Galahs, Cockatoos, Lorikeets, Corellas and dozens of Red-rumped Parrots. But no Turquoise. On our second attempt we saw the usual suspects plus a striking Australian King Parrot. While John was chatting up some locals, Connie watched a Turquoise Parrot preen himself in a distant tree but he went to the ground before John and his camera caught up.


                   Coulda Been a Contendah . . . Red-Rumped Parrots


                Consolation prize—Australian King Parrot

We hailed the gardener across the fence at Kurringai Cottage, a popular B&B for birders. Kurringai is both fenced and gated, the grounds are exclusively for paying guests but Lucas, himself a birder, said since no one was in residence we would be welcome as long as we closed the gate when we left. In two visits we had a few fleeting glimpses of the birds but no photos—not for lack of trying, though.



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