Heritage steam

Today I went on an exciting adventure. Me and a whole bunch of kids with mum, dad, grandma, uncle etc. I felt just like a kid setting off on an exciting day trip, and as I was surrounded by exactly that, it really helped set the mood!

I arrived at the heritage Queenscliff station at twenty to eleven in the morning to find the train I was about to catch steaming and puffing away with doors wide open ready to receive travelers. What an adorable cutesie sight!! A glorious sunny day, the chill of the morning worn off to a nice comfortable day and a trip in this old steam train to boot!!

Ticket office at the Queenscliff railway station.

Ticket office at the Queenscliff railway station

Irony abounds in the sight of this old fashioned ticket office. I purchased my ticket for the steam train online with my smart phone, and unable to print it out, the railway man had to read my details off said smart phone to record my journey! So much for doing things in the old way! However I did get a cute old school ticket to carry.

Return ticket to board the Queenscliff to Drysdale steam train

Return ticket to board the Queenscliff to Drysdale steam train

Permission to enter the railway station and wait for the train to depart!

Moving from the ticket office to the railway platform

Moving from the ticket office to the railway platform

Queenscliff railway station

Queenscliff railway station

Here’s the train waiting to take on passengers and convey them to Drysdale

Steam engine puffing away ready to take off

Steam engine puffing away ready to take off

Steam engine with the engineers getting ready to depart

Steam engine with the engineers getting ready to depart

Carriages waiting with open doors for passengers to board

Carriages waiting with open doors for passengers to board

Finally eleven o’clock!! All aboard!

Time to depart - all aboard!

Time to depart – all aboard!

Time to pick the best place to sit for the best view!

Time to pick the best place to sit for the best view!

View from the carriage out the door waiting for the station master to shut us in

View from the carriage out the door waiting for the station master to shut us in

The station master closing all the doors for departure

The station master closing all the doors for departure

And we are off! Following the shore of Swan Bay then crossing inland to Drysdale

Perfection! Blue skies, green grass, trees and through it all the gorgeous Swan Bay

Perfection! The view from my seat in the train: blue skies, green grass, trees and through it all the gorgeous Swan Bay

The inside of the 1920s carriage

The inside of the 1920s carriage

Some days, life is just perfect! Comfy seat, train doing all the work, view to boot!

Some days, life is just perfect! Comfy seat, train doing all the work, view to boot!

First stop, Laker’s Siding

Lakers Siding railway station

Lakers Siding railway station

Second stop, Suma Park (bad photo!)

Suma Park railway station

Suma Park railway station

Third and final stop, Drysdale. Beautiful station opposite Lake Lorne, home of some great birds!

Behind of Drysdale railway station

Behind of Drysdale railway station

Purple Swamphens at the Drysdale railway station

Purple Swamphens at the Drysdale railway station

A beautiful Black Swan, a Eurasian Coot and some ducks opposite Drysdale railway station

A beautiful Black Swan, a Eurasian Coot and some ducks opposite Drysdale railway station

Cormorants roosting in an old tree in Lake Lorne opposite the Drysdale railway station

Cormorants roosting in an old tree in Lake Lorne opposite the Drysdale railway station

What a great trip! I can highly recommend the steam train trip between Queenscliff and Drysdale; if you’re in the area, make sure you take the time to enjoy this old school adventure 🙂

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Babies

In all the world there is nothing cuter than babies. Maybe not immediately after they are born or hatched or emerge into the world, but once they’ve recovered from the shock of being shoved into the world without so much as a user’s guide or map of life, there is nothing cuter.

Something about miniature versions of ourselves is touching. Maybe it’s the thought of ourselves once being that little and realising how far we’ve come, or maybe it’s the picture of a young, untouched, unburdened little thing with all the hope of the world in front of it.

Whatever it is, I’ve always been a fan. I started with puppies and progressed to ducklings and lately I’ve kind of come around to enjoying human babies too. It helps that my friends have such adorable, cute and clever babies. Or am I just biased?

But the baby I’m talking about today is something different, and so special because I’ve never seen it before and I think that it is probably a rare sight given the protection that these babies are usually given by their cautious parents.

I’m talking about plovers. That’s what we call them, and that is the type of bird that they are, but their bird name is Masked Lapwing, specifically the eastern form of this species.

Adults are not hard to find and in fact can become quite a nuisance during breeding season because they nest on the ground and will go to great lengths to keep you away from their nest! They try to distract you by loud shrill cries, by making a big fuss as they flap away from the nest pretending to be injured, and by swooping unfortunate people going about their business but happening to be passing by a nest.

This is what the adult looks like in the eastern parts of Australia, this particular one found in Queenscliff:

Eastern Masked Lapwing stalking around in the freshly mowed grass

Eastern Masked Lapwing stalking around in the freshly mowed grass

This is the cutest little miniature version, found in Lake Lorne in Drysdale this afternoon:

First glimpse of the cutest miniature ever: Masked Lapwing

First glimpse of the cutest miniature ever: Masked Lapwing

Cute puffy little eastern Masked Lapwing in the lake

Cute puffy little eastern Masked Lapwing in the lake

Baby eastern Masked Lapwing at Lake Lorne

Baby eastern Masked Lapwing at Lake Lorne

Beautiful baby eastern Masked Lapwing

Beautiful baby eastern Masked Lapwing

Two cute little miniature Masked Lapwings, already able to fly

Two cute little miniature Masked Lapwings, already able to fly!

So cute, right? I’m so happy to have found them! Ah bird watching, something new and interesting every time!!

Swan Bay

Yesterday morning we took a walk around Swan Bay in Queenscliff. The morning had been pretty chilly and there was still a brisk wind off the water as we headed off around the waterside walking track.

The upside of a chilly morning is the clear sunny day that follows; perfect for bird watching and taking photos and just being out and about!

I didn’t see quite as many birds as I had hoped, however a lot of birds were far over on little islands of sea grass or tidal mud so although they were there, we didn’t get a good look.

I really need to look into getting a pair of more powerful binoculars. I already know mine are terrible, but just need to get out and look for my next pair; they would make a huge difference!

Pair of Crimson Rosellas walking the spouting of a nearby house

Pair of Crimson Rosellas walking the spouting of a nearby house

Beautiful duck in the wetlands: Pacific Black, Australian Shoveler or Australian Grey Teal??

Beautiful duck in the wetlands: Pacific Black, Australasian Shoveler or Australian Grey Teal??

Australian White Ibis poking around in the shallows

Australian White Ibis poking around in the shallows

White-faced Heron in the Swan Bay

White-faced Heron in the Swan Bay

Australian Pied Oystercatcher amongst the sea grass

Australian Pied Oystercatcher amongst the sea grass

Stunning Crimson Rosella in the bushes

Stunning Crimson Rosella in the bushes

Beautiful crimson and light blue colours of the Crimson Rosella

Beautiful crimson and light blue colours of the Crimson Rosella

Group of male and female Chestnut Teal ducks in the sea grass

Group of male and female Chestnut Teal ducks in the sea grass

Fabulous blue male Superb Fairy-wren on the path in front of us

Fabulous blue male Superb Fairy-wren on the path in front of us

Pretty female Superb Fairy-wren edging out of the bushes next to the path

Pretty female Superb Fairy-wren edging out of the bushes next to the path

New Holland Honeyeaters thronging through these yellow bushes

New Holland Honeyeaters thronging through these yellow bushes

New Holland Honeyeater dangling down into a flower

New Holland Honeyeater dangling down into a flower

Immature New Holland Honeyeater preening on a branch

Immature New Holland Honeyeater preening on a branch

Group of Little Pied Cormorants drying off on the shore

Group of Little Pied Cormorants drying off on the shore

Royal Spoonbills swishing their bills for dinner

Royal Spoonbills swishing their bills for dinner

Another yellow bush, another New Holland Honeyeater

Another yellow bush, another New Holland Honeyeater

Caught in mid twirl: New Holland Honeyeater dancing around

Caught in mid twirl: New Holland Honeyeater dancing around

Australian Magpie in the grass

Australian Magpie in the grass

Group of Australian Grey Teal ducks resting on Swan Bay

Group of Australian Grey Teal ducks resting on Swan Bay