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 took this photo of the Cathedral Range last winter.

I took this photo of the Cathedral Range last winter.

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 lyre-shaped tail that gives the Superb Lyrebird its name.

The lyre-shaped tail that gives the Superb Lyrebird its name.

The female Lyrebird in front, while one of the males singes to her from behind a tree.

The female Lyrebird in front, while one of the males sings to her from behind a tree.

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).

On the ascent to Cathedral Peak.

On the ascent to Cathedral Peak.

Couldn't identify this but it's pretty!

Couldn’t identify this but it’s pretty!

View from Little Cathedral Peak.

View from Little Cathedral Peak.

A Black Rock Skink.  Found him chowing down on some mandarin peel someone had left behind.

A Black Rock Skink. Found him chowing down on some mandarin peel someone had left behind.

More views from Cathedaral Peak.

View from Cathedaral Peak.  The Range is still recovering from the 2009 fires.

View from Cathedral Peak.

View from Cathedral Peak.

Think this little guy is a Nobbi Dragon.  At one stage he crawled across Rohan's hand.

Think this little guy is a Nobbi Dragon. At one stage he crawled across Rohan’s hand.

View from Cathedral Peak.

More of the view from Cathedral Peak.

And now it’s time to eat nachos and ice-cream and drink copious amounts of green ginger wine.  Happy birthday indeed!