Although I’d class myself as a long way off being a ‘twitcher’, I do like birds. Despite having some decent camera equipment, I’m lazy. Sitting for hours waiting on ‘that’ moment isn’t in my DNA. I even bought a portable hide which I tried out once and has sat in the garage ever since. However, Sydney provided some easy opportunities to see nature close up. I couldn’t take my 150-600 Sigma lens so stowed my D700 with a Tamron 70-200 hoping to raise the energy to actually use it.
After a couple of days on the beach, I told my wife we were heading to Centennial Park. I think I’m right in saying it’s the biggest park in Sydney (although what difference that makes to anything I’m not sure 😎)
‘What’s there?’ she said suspiciously.
‘Wait until we get there. It’s a small surprise’
It wasn’t miles and miles away from our hotel, but, in over 25 deg C heat, a Scotsman can get sweaty and grumpy, all at the same time. So, I searched to see if the excellent train system went by the park, starting from Circular Quay in Sydney harbour.
So, having pursued all the train timetables and routes, an hour later we were on a bus. Yes, bus. Now, Sydneys trains and ferries are comfortable and easy to get around with. The trains are double decker, quiet and clean. The ferries are easy to hop on and off, leading you to stunning views and beaches. The buses…….for a start they are mostly bendy buses. So they have the concertina bit that allows them to be a bit longer and get round corners more easily. However, although the first bus was easy to find as the bus stop was near the ferry terminal at Circular Quay, the electronic screens on the bus didn’t work, so you had to guess where you were and our bus driver seemed intent on breaking the Guinness World record for squeezing the most people on a bus. At one point a Japanese tourist came on and asked the driver if the bus went to Bondi beach. We were already standing and squeezed into the bendy bit of the bus. To my dismay the driver said ‘yes’. This ‘wrong answer’ resulted in a further 20+ tourists leaping aboard.
‘Oh what fun’ I thought as another 20 tourists got their Huawei’s out. As the fun of getting around Sydney in comfort and calm dissipated rapidly, I held on for dear life looking for a sign for Centennial Park. Around 10 stops later I decided to take a leap of faith and press the red button to stop the bus and perhaps get the driver back for squashing us by getting off and ruining his World record attempt.
Eventually we found ourselves on the side street as the mobile phone addicts careered off in the distance towards Bondi beach (I didn’t have the heart to tell them Bondi faces the wrong way for the sun at this time of year, so you have to lie the opposite way to get a sun tan 🙂 )
It wasn’t long before we managed to find an entrance to Centennial Park. At first I thought I’d messed up as there were very view people, a couple of dead ends and not much going on. However I did manage to take a not very good picture of this bird which might be a cockatoo of some sort. At this point I’m not 100% sure. 🙂
My other half was getting hot and sweaty and a bit frustrated at my vain attempts to get a half decent picture of said Cockatoo.
‘Where are we going?’
I remembered I’d taken a copy of the map above on my I-pa, so I wheeched it out and soon we were heading for civilisation. After another 10 minutes walk we started to spot cars and people. It was Easter Monday and soon it was obvious some of the locals had set up family barbecues and picnics. Some had music going, some were playing football, some were just having a cold beer in the shade.
We stumbled on a large cafe in the centre which was pretty busy so we bypassed it and headed for a seat beside one of the ponds. There were various birds enjoying the pond so I powered up the Nikon and randomly snapped away.
I really liked these black swans…….
There were geese, cormorants, Moorhens and Coots
I soon realised we’d have been better buying a portable barbecue, some beers and taking a couple of beach towels as we were both getting thirsty, hungry and hot. With only a couple of bottles of water in the rucksack and a cafe with no seats left, I’d come ill prepared. I consoled myself by thinking about all those tourists facing the wrong way on Bondi beach 🙂
We found another pond which contained large fish and more colourful feathered characters
At this point I still hadn’t found what I was here for. Another look at the map and we headed off for a part of the park called Lachlan Reserve. With the promise of a nice cold white wine when we returned to Circular Quay, my other half trudged on. Eventually, I looked up and found what I was looking for. While locals through rugby balls to each other I looked up to the trees…..
….Flying foxes…..loads of them…hanging from every tree. Huge vampiry type hanging things everywhere. Suddenly something startled them and they took to the skies.
The bats that live beside us in Scotland are tiny, only come out at dusk and are so quick you can’t get s shot of them. These creatures were gliding from tree to tree majestically. I’d ticked a box 🙂
With the photo session a wrap we headed off for our rendezvous with the returning Bondi beach crowd. The first bus was so full it drove right by us. The second one was also full but I think it was the Guinness Book of Records guy and he let us on. Squashed and hot we finally made it to base. Next time I’d use Uber 🙂
Centennial Park – theworldaccordingtodave @qosfc1919 on Twitter ©️Dodo Productions 2019