|Little Pied Cormorant at Western Beach|
Silver Gulls (Sea Gulls) were in abundance as expected and I even spotted a cormorant or two, a Pacific Gull and a Royal Spoonbill dabbling in the shallows. On shore, the usual array of birds found anywhere in suburbia was also evident. What I was surprised to see were ducks. Lots of ducks. In retrospect I shouldn't have been so surprised and after a quick Google search it all made sense.
I noticed as I was taking taking some shots with the camera that the ducks in question appeared to be Chestnut Teals. I know that these birds are found not only on the inland sections of the Barwon, but also on the lower reaches which as I have noted before are considered quite brackish. It stands to reason therefore that these ducks have a significant tolerance level for salt water and various websites confirm this. None-the-less, it did seem odd seeing so many ducks at the beach.
|Royal Spoonbill at Western Beach|
As the name suggests, this trail follows Hovell's Creek from its inlet at Limeburner's Bay (not to be confused with Limeburner's Point on the opposite side of Corio Bay) back along its length as far as the township of Lara. The scenery is open rolling farmland most of the way providing views of the creek and the nearby You Yangs whose name incidentally comes from an Aboriginal term meaning - appropriately enough - "big mountain in the middle of a plain". Hovell's Creek on the other hand, was named for the English explorer William Hovell who with the perhaps more widely known Hamilton Hume, in 1824 explored the area having made the trek overland from Sydney. It was they who heard the local Wathaurong word "Jillong" used to describe the region. Although not the first white men to reach the region, their voyage of exploration was of significant benefit to the fledgling colony.
Our return journey was made at a somewhat less relaxed pace than the outward journey, stopping only for a couple of brief breaks and (in my case) to investigate a bunch of black birds in a gum tree. As per my previous blog, these were most probably Australian Ravens, in which case the appropriate collective noun for the group is either a murder (as in a murder of crows), an unkindness, a storytelling or - possibly my favourite - a conspiracy of ravens. I wonder then, if conspiracy is the correct term, whether a group of ravens meeting a group of crows is perhaps....a conspiracy to murder...??
Enough! We made it back to town in good time and headed home. Another trail explored and a few more kilometres clocked up on the bikes.