Letter

Julieanne and Ren Milsom
15 December 1991

Dear Margaret and Peter,

Thank you for your kind note. We just left the flat as we found it. All three of us really enjoyed our stay in the Adobe Flats. We found the flat very comfortable and relaxing – we wonder why we need a twenty square house here at Glen Waverley. And we never stopped marvelling at the unusual and effective construction. I have enclosed a bird list as we promised, along with a rough map in case you wish to give it to other guests interested in birds and not wishing to be driving all over the district or like us, they cannot visit the National Park because of their dog. For myself, the Scarlet Honeyeaters, the Cicadabird and the Brown Greygones with their unusual domed nest and its hooded entrance were highlights of our week at the Adobe Flats, but the following episode was hard to beat. Near Buckland’s Jetty one morning I observed a Marsh Harrier flying from the vicinity of the large dam on the edge of the National Park. It appeared to be carrying prey, possibly a rabbit kitten or more likely a duckling of the Maned Duck family seen there previously. The Harrier flew up the cleared hillside, perhaps to a stump to perch upon whilst devouring the prey. As it flew higher, it was set upon by a single Whistling Kite and 2 or 3 magpies. The Marsh Harrier was not having much trouble but then a second Kite zoomed in. The first action of the second Kite was to fly at the first Kite to show its authority then the two Kites attached the Harrier together with the magpies skirmishing around the perimeter. Under the combined onslaught the Harrier appeared to drop the prey into the grass and itself being forced onto the ground. The two Kites continued to attach the Harrier, at times the Harrier and a Kite standing on the ground trading blows with their wings – the Harrier being a little bigger had the better of it except that the second Kite would dive-bomb the Harrier whenever the opportunity arose. I assume that either the Harrier had again taken possession of the prey when it came to ground or in fact it had not dropped the prey. After what seemed to be about five minutes, the Marsh Harrier must have seen a tiring of the attach or at least an opportunity to break out and it rose from the ground and swooped down the hillside and was lost from view in the vicinity of a smaller dam behind the larger one. I shifted position to view the corner of the cleared area but could not see the Harrier. It seems unlikely that the Harrier entered the forest – this smaller dam was very much filled with reeds and I wondered if the Harrier might have had a nest in the reeds.

Love from Julieanne and Winnie

Bird List for Mallacoota
23-30 November 1991

Birds sighted by Ren Millsom whilst staying at the Adobe Flats. All species were recorded within walking distance of the flats, within the town area or around the 7km walking track, along the Lakeside Drive and foreshore and by observing over the Inlet with a telescope (25X) from our flat or from Captain Stevenson’s Point. Only one species, the Superb Lyrebird, was seen within the National Park. (The species numbers refer to the numbers in Simpson and Day, 1984).

TOTAL: 91 NATIVE SPECIES, 5 INTRODUCED SPECIES.

PS. Ren had a slight handicap in the form of his Labrador dog, Winnie, ie. NO NATIONAL PARK VISITS!