Hoopoe

One morning at Montepozzo, Michael spied an unusual bird in the garden. No-one else saw it so, of course, we didn’t believe him. The next day, he was sure to capture it on film, although the elusive creature seemed to be camera shy.

1.Eurasian Hoopoe

Our hosts informed us it was a Eurasian hoopoe, formally known by the adorable title Upupa epops. On further investigation, I have discovered some extraordinary facts about this little bird. Not only does it have a long, tapered bill for probing the ground in search of such delicacies as insects and small reptiles, the strong muscles of the head allow it to open its bill while inside the soil. If that fails, they will dig out the prey with their feet and beat larger victims against the ground or a stone to kill them and remove indigestible body parts before consuming.

2.Eurasian Hoopoe

Hoopoes nest in the cavities of vertical surfaces such as trees, cliffs and walls and have developed an effective deterrent to predators. Incubating and brooding females convert the oil from their preening gland into a foul smelling concoction with the aroma of rotting meat. Rubbing it into her plumage and that of the nestlings apparently does the trick. However, should that tactic fail, the young ones can direct streams of faeces at intruders, hiss like a snake and strike with their bill or a wing. I still think they are cute.

3.Eurasian Hoopoe

across the creek

Travelling across Bass Strait is affectionately referred to by Tasmanians as ‘crossing the creek’. The distance of 250km is easily traversed with a one hour plane flight. Alternatively, there is a ten hour ferry trip with a choice of day or night crossing. Four days after returning from our travels in Britain, we packed up the car and trailer and left Adelaide on our new adventure. The Spirit of Tasmania waited patiently in Melbourne,

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our excitement mounted as we drove aboard.

With our possessions in storage, no jobs and nowhere to live, we celebrated with a superb meal as we set sail.

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The crossing of Bass Strait was anything but smooth, my decision to splurge on a deluxe queen cabin at the front of the boat was not a good one. We were very pleased to see the sun coming up and calm waters as we approached Devonport.

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After navigating the Mersey River

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we disembarked and headed east for Launceston.

11-disembarking

We stayed in a holiday apartment for two weeks, then moved into a rental property while we searched for our perfect home. The rental was very comfortable

with great views,

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a manageable garden

and a park over the fence.

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We didn’t realise beforehand, it was the least salubrious suburb in Launceston. No wonder the rent was so cheap! Still, we survived and we have very fond memories of our time in Launceston.