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Apart from the view, one of the things Sea Zen visitors remark on the most is the birdlife.  While the king parrots are favourites, an endless source of fascination is the Superb Fairy Wren.

Fairy Wren

Male Superb Fairy Wren

Male Superb Fairy Wren

The male’s brilliant blue plumage make it stand out when it ventures out from protective scrub.  It is always on the move, usually with a drab brown female not far away.  The call is a high pitched trit trit.  You can often see it in the garden next to the Sea Zen side balcony.

I find it pesky, because the male often visits our house at the back of Sea Zen, and has an ongoing fight with – itself!  It spends hours jumping at its reflection in the back window, and also at its reflection in our car side mirrors.  Within a day, there are white droppings all over the car door.  But it is all worth it to see these loveable little birds parading close.

Some facts: they mainly eat insects.  They have a tiny ball nest in bushes with a side entrance.  The male and female raise a family together, but are both promiscuous, and unpaired males who have mated with the female will help raise the young.

Balmy Autumn

We have enjoyed balmy days with smooth seas, and cooling nights.  A time to light the wood fire inside, as the fire agencies burn off in the forests to prepare for next season.

The coming months are a time to enjoy a crackling wood fire inside, and to see if there are any truffle hunts planned at the nearby  Wongarra Farm.

Paddy’s Path, the pretty path between Sea Zen in Separation Ck and Wye River, is now permanently open (Feb 2019).  It almost sparkles.

Gone are the previous dodgy landslips, replaced by a solid path.  In the middle is a beautifully crafted timber walkway, viewing seats and the memorial plaque to Paddy Harrington.  The unstable slopes below the path have been permanently strengthened by a thousand rock bolts and netting.

You now have dozens of spectacular views over the beaches and the adjacent rocks.  You can even see the rock pools midway between the towns.

Paddys Path

Paddys Path

Pictures of the path

A third of the way to Sep, the gravel path stops and a boardwalk starts.  If you click on the pic, you can see the long rockpools on the right.

1 boardwalk nth with pools900 [click to continue…]

Recording of a foraging Bristlebird at Sea Zen

Foraging

Foraging

Click here to hear the call:

We wake at dawn in our house at Separation Creek to the sound of Rufous Bristlebirds calling.  Wiped out in WA, Qld and endangered elsewhere, they are everywhere here.

Rufus Bristlebird

Rufous Bristlebird

A cross between a road runner and a blackbird, these elusive birds scamper though the bushes on strong legs, often with their tails held up.  Rarely your can see them  scamper across driveways.

Running Rufous

Running Rufous

“You have 3 pairs” a visiting bird expert announced, “a pair owns the territory between each pair of neighbouring houses.”
They may be shy, but wow, they are loud! The call is twit, twit, twit, twit, TATWEET, TATWWEET.  Often repeated twice.  It took a while for me to realise that this was not one call, but two birds perfectly mimicking each other, a few seconds apart.
Listen to the Bristlebird call:

[click to continue…]

We are often reminded that we are just spectators to nature’s life cycles.

Sometimes we see Dolphins cruising past, sometimes we see them in death, like this skeleton on the rocks a few minutes north from Sea Zen. Our dog Tanook didn’t quite know what to do about it, bones too big to chew on, embarrassing really!

Dolphin skeleton

Dolphin skeleton

You may recall that back in July, the sand dropped a metre overnight, last week it came back again. [click to continue…]

In September we returned to Kyoto to search for Japanese objects to share with you – to see and touch and use when you next stay at Sea Zen.

Why Kyoto?
When you stayed at Sea Zen, you experienced a fusion of modern and traditional Japanese design.   Its inspiration was our visit to Kyoto in 2006, the ancient capital that drafted artists from around the world and today still leads a fusion of ancient and modern craftsmanship

The Choju cups

These unique two cups called out to me.  They are hand painted with historic cartoon characters that originated in a remote temple in Kyoto in the 12thcentury.

The rabbits, frogs and monkeys on the cups are taken from 4 Choju scrolls of frolicking animals at the Kozan-ji temple. They are whimsical caricatures making fun of the local monks – a sense of humour way back then.  The designs on the famous Choju Giga scrolls are the first Manga and probably the first cartoons ever!
When you next stay at Sea Zen you can drink from them.  There is a red cup and a blue cup.  You’ll see a rabbit with bow and arrow, a frog and a monkey carrying a box. [click to continue…]

Bowerbird has a gender identity challenge!

As spring approaches, the Bowerbirds at Wye River are more active, preparing for the breeding season any time now (Sep 2018).  They descend in groups all around Sea Zen, harvesting everything they can find now.  Not helpful for the locals who want to grow a fruit crop later in the season.  They also delight in harvesting our poor struggling Japonica blossoms!

They have a gorgeous green speckled camouflage, and they are a bit larger than a pigeon.  The eye is a lilac colour.  They are very social and make a harsh tzzaar-tzzaar call, so different from the Crimson Rosellas!

Satin Bowerbird

Female Satin Bowerbird

In amongst the Wye bird chaos can be seen a few mature males, who are black.  Not just black, but a deep midnight blue, satin and shiny.  Gorgeous to the admiring females, and to us humans lucky enough to see them.

The male Satin Bowerbird

Male in bower

Male in bower

But why are there so few males?

Actually they are half the bird population, but the young males look the same as the females, quite a challenge to their gender identity.  The gorgeous black only emerges after they turn four, when all is revealed!  So, the males are green when young and black when mature, all very confusing.

In breeding season, the males set about attracting a mate, bowerbird style.  They form a hollow of grass and twigs, an adorn it with blue decorations.  About now the blue clothes pegs will disappear.  Last year Sibylle put out some strips of blue paper, and within two days all 53 had disappeared!

We saw a local bower a few years ago like the one in the pic above – rare and hard to find in the bush, but a work of art!

The bowerbirds are just a fraction of the rainforest birds that can be seen from Sea Zen.

The beach dropped a metre overnight!

During a wild storm two weeks ago in late July 2018, strong currents ripped along the Separation Creek beach, a few hundred metres from our Sea Zen accommodation.   Next morning, a metre of sand had been ripped out, revealing …

Separation Creek rocks

Separation Creek gulch

A huge rock gulch – which now snakes across the beach mid way from the steps and the fisherman’s rocks.

Nature can be surprising.  On the rocks there is even a growth of bright green seaweed!  Hmm.  Was it buried under the sand, or did we just fail to notice it at the old sand level?  It looked to be buried, but how would it be green? Mystery.

Around a decade ago, we had a similar winter storm and almost all the sand was washed from the same Sep Ck beach, leaving nothing but rocks everywhere.  After a month with the prospect of a summer without sand, sure enough another storm raged, and overnight the hand of nature replenished the beach with smooth sand as if nothing had ever happened!

And for today’s entertainment…

Today we were treated to a few hours of Whales frolicking just off shore at Separation Creek. Right up close, so easy to see from the Sea Zen balcony. [click to continue…]

My favourite walk is along the rocks from Sep Creek heading towards Lorne.
Perhaps it’s the isolation. Maybe the little coves. Maybe the chance meetings with the Herons. Definitely it’s the small wind blown caves along the way.

It’s never the same.

After a storm, there is often a jumbled mess of rubbery kelp.

Kelp

Kelp

The coastline meanders in and out. Closer to Sep, the recent repairs to the road are visible, showing how fragile the road foundation is. Further along, the headland has old pathways, with one leading to an ancient aboriginal midden.  In some places locals have piled up some Zen stones, but none recently.

About 20 minutes along, the soft cliff rock has been eroded by the wind into a series of hollows and mini caves.

Caves

Caves

A few years ago, some of these were large enough to hold a dozen adults, but fragile. A few months later, they had collapsed into a pile of rock!
With this in mind, overhangs such as this are not a good place to shelter from the elements! [click to continue…]

There are six popular walks around Wye and Sep, suited to everyone from kids to bushwalking enthusiasts. There are also a few others for the more experienced walkers.

Here is a diagram showing the six most popular walks.

Walking map

Walking map

1 Paddy’s Path

The all time favourite path between Wye and Sep.
Time: 20 mins each way
Difficulty: Easy. [click to continue…]