Tuesday, 2 April 2013


This morning I visited Seaford Swamp.  I'd never been there before, so I consulted the Melways carefully.  With my sense of direction, I knew I was bound to get lost.  I'd been tempted to go there because Sean Dooley reported that there were Freckled Duck present.  Admittedly, that was a couple of weeks ago, but I can hope.  Freckled Duck often hang around for a while.

The sky was grey and I feared it would rain, so I grabbed my waterproof jacket and threw it into the car.  Of course I was right:  I did get lost.  Eventually I found the road and could see the swamp.  However the parking area promised in the Melways simply did not exist.  I pulled over to the side of the road and set off on foot, bravely leaving my jacket in the car.

After a kilometre of admittedly very easy walking, I had a bird list of 19 species, but there was no sign of waterfowl or indeed a bird hide.  The "swamp" appeared to be an empty paddock.

I saw a gate with a couple of elderly codgers walking along a poorly defined track.  I hurried after them through the stubble.  They were charming and very helpful.  They told me that the bird hide had been demolished, however, there was a viewing platform in Austin Road.  They advised me to go back to my car and drive there.  And so I did.  When I reached the car, thanking the weather gods that it hadn't rained, the car was quite wet.  It must have been a very localised shower.  How lucky was that.

I drove directly to the viewing platform, and from the base, admired teal, ducks, swans, coots and swamphens.  Then I walked onto the elevated platform and saw, three beautiful Freckled Duck!  I looked further and found three more.  Not the numbers that Dooley had seen, but one will do to get onto my list. 

I was ridiculously pleased with myself.  I'd got lost, and wasted over an hour walking along the wrong track, but I'd dodged the rain, and I'd seen my target species.  That's a success in my language.

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