Travelling Australia - Journal 2014
9-11 March 2014

Omeo visit
Our time in Omeo over-lapped with a long week-end during which Omeo Caravan Park was moderately full with an interesting cross-section of travellers. There was a proportion of visitors in full-size or pop-top caravans; there was also a heavy sprinkling of camper trailers towed by 4WDs. As well, there was a number of tents or mixed groups with some members in tents and some in caravans.

Weather was variable, nights were cool with temperatures around 15°C at first light and warming up to mid-20's as the day progressed. Morning were sunny with mostly blue sky. Rain fell every afternoon we were in Omeo; 4, 1 and 3 millimetres respectively were recorded (after 11 millimetres and thunderstorms on the evening we arrived).

Some visitors were intent on a relaxing time and spent their day loafing around their caravan or tent with occasional trips into town (about a kilometre away) for pizza,coffee or hamburger. Other visitors used Omeo as a base for looking at a variety of features around the town and in the Omeo Region.

Our caravan setup for a few days stay at Omeo caravan park. Keen students of caravans may notice there is no air conditioner on the roof; we have an under-bed air conditioner which is not as heavy, or as noisy as the original roof-mounted one and doesn't leak when it rains like that one did.

Moving around in and near Omeo was made difficult by a bicycle race along the Great Alpine Road from Bright to Omeo. We had planned one drive away from Omeo towards Benambra expecting the race to finish in Omeo. But we soon found ourselves mixed up in a long line of cyclists because the race continued through Omeo and returned to Bright via a different route. We decided that hundreds of cyclists strung out along the road and moving very slowly up longer hills was a major deterrent to driving very far.

Most visitors left on Monday 10 March with only a handful of caravans remaining. Once most of the people had left the resident birds made their presence more obvious.

Crimson rosellas became obvious feeding on a couple of trees near the caravan. Adult crimson rosellas are mainly red but immature adults have mainly green backs. Younger crimson rosellas cause considerable confusion since they look like a different species; we heard them referred to as "green rosellas" by local residents.

The other obvious bird species was a group of magpies which prowled the grass looking for grubs. These birds have more white on their backs than magpies in many other parts of Australia.

9 March 2014 - page 2
adult crimson rosella
Adult crimson rosella

juvenile crimson rosella
Immature adult crimson rosella has not yet developed adult red plumage. The green back of this bird can cause confusion. 
The group comprised a couple of mature adults and two or three younger birds. After leaving the nest young magpies are often fed by their parents and use a distinctive "feed me" cry which seems to trigger a reflex action in adults to provide food. I have often wondered what happens when the juvenile gets beyond the stage of needing food from adults but is too lazy to find food itself so tries to cadge something from nearby adults.

At Omeo I saw an adult refuse to feed a youngster. The magpies around the caravan were stalking around picking up grubs in usual magpie fashion when one of the youngsters let out the "feed me" cry; immediately a nearby adult ran to the younger bird, gave it a sharp peck with its beak and returned to feeding. Presumably this was letting the younger bird know that parental feeding had ended and it was old enough to feed itself. No more "feed me" calls were heard.

On most days we drove from Omeo to look at some of the listed attractions in the Omeo Region. We ran out of time and had not seen everything there is to see when it was time to leave.