A ramble over the hills at the present time will amply compensate one for the fatigue thus earned. For the nature lover, the district around Eltham is rich in bird life, and the varieties of wild flowers are numerous. Orchids seem to attract flower gatherers mostly, and a full dozen of these dainty, specimens may be secured, ranging from the “‘spider” to the “green-hood”. Huge trailers of sarsaparilla and wild clematis may be gathered for decorative purposes on a larger scale. Wild baronia, many varieties of acacia, buttercups, several varieties of wild pea, and other beautiful contributions may be added to the collection. The average person would be surprised at the number of varieties of flowers growing in the bush land, and would also be surprised at the number of birds which live in these retreats. Many people are only acquainted with the boldest of the feathered tribe, such as the magpie, jackass, starling, cuckoo and sparrow. They would be surprised to hear the harsh cry of the jay (white winged chough) or the haunting call of the wattle bird. Especially among the smaller birds there are many varieties which the average person never sees. The kingfisher may still be seen near well shaded pools, and the shy bronzewing pigeon encountered, whilst the crested finch and rail and teal are also met with. It has been said birds are becoming scarcer, but as regards this district that statement may be contradicted, as undoubtedly bird life has increased locally during the past decade.
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