Airlie Beach birds and walks

view of Airlie Beach
Airlie Beach

Fifty years ago Airlie Beach was a sleepy little town tucked in between the hills and the sea but it has grown exponentially with the rise of tourism, building up the hills and back into the hinterland (map).

Most of the growth near the sea is holiday accommodation of various kinds and the result, from a distance, is strangely reminiscent of far older towns in Italy (e.g. Positano) and Greece. The tourist dominance continues in the main street (souvenirs, travel agents, food and drink, backpacker hostels).

A nicer result of the same focus is the ‘boardwalk’ which follows the water’s edge from the main beach all the way back to Cannonvale beach, winding past the marina and occasional resorts but running mainly through parks when it has to part from the beach. I kept my eyes open for wildlife of all kinds when we did the walk. There weren’t many insects (midwinter, of course) but the birds made up for that – seagulls, of course, an Australasian Darter drying his wings on a rock near the marina, Black Ducks and a mixed group feeding on flowering gums, paperbarks and palms in parkland:

Great Bowerbird feeding on palm seeds
Great Bowerbird, Chlamydera nuchalis, feeding on palm seeds

Rainbow Lorikeets and a bird which may have been a Varied Honeyeater were also feeding in the palms.

Yellow honeyeater feeding on paperbark blossom
Yellow honeyeater, Lichenostomus flavus, feeding on paperbark blossom

We saw a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo in the flowering eucalypt nearby, and a Forest Kingfisher (very like the Red-backed Kingfisher I saw out West recently) perched on a power line to look out for prey; a small hawk, perhaps a Nankeen Kestrel, preferred a street light as her perch. We did occasionally look out to sea …

boats off Airlie Beach
Looking out from Airlie’s main beach

Another easy walk from the centre of town takes you into the hills, following Airlie Creek (only a trickle at this time of year) upstream through the rainforest to a small waterfall. Birds in the bush are almost invisible but I managed photographs of butterflies feeding on flowers in sunlit spots, and a few colourful plants (fig, bitter melon).

Forestry in Tasmania – a photographic souvenir

• This is one of a few articles I published elsewhere long before Green Path was begun or even conceived but is still relevant enough to deserve a place on the blog. The date-stamp will say 2005, the date of first publication, although the article was only added to GP in 2016. 

I was lucky enough to be able to visit Tasmania for a mixture of business and social reasons at the end of March 2005. The Tuesday after Easter was a perfect Autumn day in Hobart and my host suggested a trip to Hartz Mountains National Park, just over an hour’s drive South-West of Hobart (more info here). By the time we arrived it was nearly lunchtime, but we set off towards Hartz Peak anyway.

Hartz peak

We walked as far as Lake Esperance and stopped for a sandwich. While we were there, another hiker pointed out to us a small cloud of smoke rising from a valley over to our East, between us and the Huon Valley. Continue reading “Forestry in Tasmania – a photographic souvenir”