French Island

Saturday October 6, 2007

We had a full houge of 41 participants on this all day trip, including our guides, Bett Mitchell and Murray Bourchier of the Friends of French Island, and facilitator Judy Smart.

We were met at the jetty by our driver Rod, of French Island Eco Tours, who took us to the Tortoise Head Guest House for morning tea (we enjoyed seeing a pair of Cape Barren Geese on the salt marsh outside, and a Swamp Harrier), then a trip up the West coast to Fairhaven campsite, with many anecdotes about French Island life and history on the way, and back to the guest house for lunch.

After lunch we drove to Rams Island, parking in a private property, and hiking around the bluff to see a Caspian Tern nesting, plus Ruddy Turnstones, Red Neck Stints, Double-banded Dotterels, and Pied Oyster Catchers. Then we drove to The Pinnacles to see the wildflowers on the slashed area there. The highlights were the orchids –

  • Leek Orchids – Prasophyllum elatum
  • Donkey Orchids – Diuris orientis,
  • Waxlips – Glossodia major
  • Brown beaks – Lyperanthus suavolens

Then it was time to head back to the ferry, with a Grey-tailed Tattler near the jetty as our last sight for the day.

There was a great deal more to see, but French Island is too large to see in one day. The weather was kind, being overcast and mild and not windy.