Celebrations for the cure were premature, but the ankle is better than it was, as long as I don’t push it.
Yesterday we began on the Murray River on an eco-cruise run by the wonderful Kingfisher Cruises. Paddle steamers at Echuca are fun, but for the sheer joy of nature, add the Kingfisher cruise at Barmah to your bucket list. This edition will be heavy on the pictures, light on the words.
As we waited for the scheduled start time of the cruise, we were entertained by the antics of a Willie Wagtail (that’s really its name) defeating a ferocious large insect, and then a flock of cockatoos … probably corella again.
We had scarcely left the start when we encountered two large pelicans. They are exceedingly rare in New Zealand so I was happy to see them.
I need to observe that the bush on either side of the river at the Barmah narrows is amazingly lush and a delight to the eye.
Our next bird encounter was a pair of tawny frogmouth. Though they look superficially like owls they belong to the nightjar family. When found in the daylight they do their best to look like trees.
Birds were my main hope, but it was exciting to get close to a real live venomous snake in the wild. This is a red-bellied black snake, perhaps a metre and a half long.
The prize of the trip was to see the stunning Azure kingfisher. Our “Sacred kingfisher” at home is reasonably coloured, but this seemed to have extra batteries … it positively glowed.
When I thought nothing could top that, our young skipper excelled herself by spotting a white-bellied sea-eagle atop a large red gum tree.
As we tied up at the landing, a pair of Welcome Swallows saw us off. In reality I think they were waiting for the insects that our departure would stir up. As I said, this trip with Kingfisher tours is highly recommended.
Exhausted … goodnight!