My goal for Global Big Bird Day 2016 was to drop in 4 local birding hot spots and a pleasant hike up Mt Tennent in Namadgi National Park and be back home in time to catch a movie in the afternoon.
I started with my favourite (ACT) birding location Gigerline Nature Reserve at the Tharwa Sandwash. It was a chilly zero when I got out of the car, the sunshine had not yet reached over the ridge. The tawny frogmouths were still in the tree near the parking area, beautifully camouflaged against the pale bark of the eucalypt. I easily ticked 20 birds in the hour, with the highlight being 7 scarlet robins and 1 flame robin. Then it was off to my next location.
It’s only a short drive to the Namadgi National Park Visitors Centre from Tharwa and Mt Tennent dominates the skyline. It is not a high mountain. Wikipedia says it is 1375 metres in elevation. The mountain is graded as easy to climb (NPWS), I say it’s a bastard. Many walkers that I encountered were doing the climb, like me as part of their training for other walks or treks, some on a weekly basis.
Once you cross the major road about 500m from the Visitors Centre there is a visitors book at the foot of the climb to register your details. The path, a series of rock and wooden steps, goes upward and upwards. The birdlife was plentiful offering me a great excuse to stop and catch my labouring breath. I was pleased to see that most people who passed me were red faced and puffing almost as much as I was. I reached the summit via the steep rocky fire trail 2.5 hours later. The 360 view was superb even if was a little hazy.
The downhill trek was just as taxing on my knees and ankles as the uphill had been on my cardio. Downhill walkers always have that smug smile for their comrades still struggling forever upwards. By the time I got home all I wanted to do was soak in a hot bath of Epsom Salts. All thoughts of the additional bird locations and the movies were forgotten.
Next weekend …Pigeon House.