Close Encounters with Lyrebirds & Hiking in the Cathedral Range
Today was my thirty third birthday. Rohan and I have a non-materialisic tradition of doing novel activities together on our respective birthdays.
Last year for my birthday we did Tim Malfroy’s Natural Beekeeping Course through Milkwood Permaculture – definitely a gift that keeps on giving, both for us and our beloved honeybees. This year we decided to do a local hike that we hadn’t done before: up to the peak of the Cathedral Range.
I love venturing into the bush with Rohan because he is a magnet for wildlife; not only do birds and animals act as though his presence is no threat, he is also wonderfully aware of his environment and picks up on things to which most people are oblivious. And it was Rohan’s unusual wildlife attracting capabilities that resulted in the most incredible birthday present: a very close and relatively prolonged encounter with three Lyrebirds.
Lyrebirds are notoriously shy, so getting even the slightest glimpse of one is a precious experience. Well, with Rohan around more than a glimpse was had! He stopped me on our ascent and said to be quiet, he’d heard a string of calls from different birds (Lyrebirds are brilliant mimics) and then seen three Lyrebirds crossing the track up ahead of us, two males and a female.
Being as quiet as possible, I took out my camera, switched lenses and edged towards the Lyrebirds who were scratching around about ten metres in front of us, both males singing their stolen songs to impress their lady friend. We stood there and watched them for a good ten minutes while they scratched around and darted after insects like giant, ornate chickens. I tried desperately to get a decent shot through the scrub but the following were the best I could do:
The Lyrebirds were undoubtedly the highlight of the hike, but the rest of it wasn’t too shabby with some spectacular views and plenty more close encounters with wildlife (including a Black Wallaby, only a few metres away, that we woke from an afternoon nap – unfortunately it heard us before I could get the camera out).
And now it’s time to eat nachos and ice-cream and drink copious amounts of green ginger wine. Happy birthday indeed!