01 October 2010

Wandering the Plains...(Australia): 27 Sept 2010

After an intense drive from Barren Grounds west by some measure to the plains south of Hay in New South Wales we were all ready for what we imagined would be one of the highlights of the tour: the incomparable PLAINS-WANDERER. We all showed up ready, armed with spotlights, the best local Aussies to scour the plains, and a group full of never say die Canadians. Just no one had told the Plains-Wanderer to show up. The sun set, we all got excited when some Banded Lapwings noisily homed into view, and then Stubble Quails jettisoned off the ground in front of the vehicle sent our hearts aflutter for the "real deal". However, three hours later, and in spite of extremely chilly conditions, we were literally sweating. Where was this Aussie oddball? Herculean stamina was required and everyone had it...just. We opted to return to were we began and then the crackle of the radio bought life back to all our waning hopes "I've got one" was all that was said, and all that needed to be said. We glanced down to the headlights of our neighboring vehicle and soon saw the distinctive form of a female Plains-Wanderer blinking impressively back (top photo). Then like London buses another came along almost straight after, looking almost like a chick in comparison to the considerably more hefty female, the latter was a male (bottom photo), all too happy to pose too...Phew! One of the World's must-see birds? Definitely.

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