11 October, 2011

The lady of the lake - part 2

...and so to our adventure...
The weather was overcast but mild and an earlier shower had cleared, making conditions perfect for a trek up the track and around the lake - something we had failed to achieve on our previous visit. So off we headed.
The walk was not too difficult despite being rather damp underfoot at this time of year. In fact, it was rather damp everywhere. You got the distinct impression that anything which stood still for more than five minutes was likely to end up covered in moss, lichen or some other odd fungus. Just to make sure, we kept up a reasonable pace with me stopping here and there to snap a few photos.
Mossy rocks
The forest through which we were walking seemed to consist mainly of eucalypts and fern, unlike other parts of the Otways where Myrtle Beech trees predominate - but I am no expert on the topic. With three kids in tow I could hear but not see the birds which inhabit the trees so when we reached the foot of the lake, I let them go on ahead and was soon rewarded with some sightings of birds I'd not seen elsewhere on the river: the Eastern Yellow Robin and a single Rose Robin (which have duly been added to my Barwon Birds page).
On the lake itself I also spotted Eurasian Coots and a pair of Chestnut Teal Ducks who had certainly chosen a more spectacular part of the Barwon River system to inhabit than many of their compatriots.
Fungi and moss everywhere
By far however, the most populous birds seemed to be the Grey Fantails. They particularly liked a secluded section - almost a billabong - right at the bottom of the lake. I've never seen birds do somersaults before, but these little guys seemed to be doing just that and were happy to pose for the camera if I was quick enough, as was the Eastern Yellow Robin I spotted a little further up the track.
Of course, in addition to the bird life, there is all manner of other wildlife. I could hear - but not see - a pair of Koalas calling from opposite sides of the lake. Wallabies are reputed to live here too as of course are perhaps the lake's most famous inhabitants - a colony of platypuses. To see them and probably the wallabies too, you need to be around either at dawn or dusk and as it was neither when we were there, no photo-opportunities were to be had on this occasion. Perhaps a late afternoon paddle on the lake in one of the two canoes tied up at the little dock might be in order at some point in the future.
Eastern Yellow Robin
And so after a tangle with some rather nasty stinging nettles, the discomfort of which was relieved by some conveniently located bracken, we made our way up and around the top of the lake. From here we made our way along the conveniently placed boardwalk which presumably crosses the river at some point, although it was impossible to tell exactly where, with all the swampy growth covering the bottom of the valley floor.
From there it was back in amongst the ferns and the gum trees for the walk back to the bottom of the lake where I once again hung back to photograph the locals.
Grey Fantail
On the trek back to the car I could hear and even occasionally see the bird life in the canopy above, however with the exception of a solitary kookaburra, I didn't have much success with the camera. Aside from the foliage providing excellent cover for small birds to hide, it also reduced the light levels to such an extent that it was hard to take crisp, clear shots of anything much. Perhaps I should try for a sunnier day next time.
And so, just as a search party was issuing forth to ascertain my whereabouts, I made it back to the beginning of the track, ready for the next leg of the journey.

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