Stage 6 of my walk along the Derwent River tomorrow – Tuesday

In preparing to walk from Geilston Bay north to Risdon Cove looking at natural and historical features along the way, I expect to make good use of initial research. Apparently I should see considerable evidence of past European and Aboriginal settlements and use of the land. Currently, there are no settlements along this edge of the Derwent River until the tiny suburb of Risdon is reached.

Birds between Geilston and Shag Bay

An obvious bird lover has blogged extensively on Tasmanian birds and, in particular, has walked part of the distance I will cover tomorrow.

More detailed information with glorious photos is available at http://tassiebirds.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/shag-bay-bluewings-more.html however, in summary; I should see a wide range of native birds if fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time and with my eyes open.

Silvereyes, Black-headed Honeyeaters, Yellow-throated Honey eaters, Grey Currawongs, Blue-wing parrots, Yellow Wattlebirds, Brown Quails, Australasian Pipits, Dusky Woodswallows, Pied Cormorants, White-breasted Sea Eagles, Spotted Pardalotes, Dusky Robins, Black-face Cuckoo Shrikes, Grey Butcherbirds, Green Rosellas, New Holland Honeyeaters, Crescent Honeyeaters, and Brown Thornbills.  Phew!  What a collection!  I can identify some of these birds but not all. Therefore, I will be poring through my bird books later today to give me a better chance of seeing more and knowing what I am seeing.

Name of Shag Bay

Now is a good time to consider the name Shag Bay, the first Bay I will reach after Geilston Bay.  I cannot discover who gave the name, when, or why. In the absence of any information I have a theory. The common European bird Phalacrocorax aristotelis known familiarly as a Shag, is a species of cormorant. Cormorant birds are commonly seen fishing along our Derwent River. In fact, Tasmania has 4 species of cormorants with a vagrant fifth flying in from time to time. It seems very reasonable to imagine that the first Europeans, coming into what is now Shag Bay, repeatedly saw many cormorants fishing and so the name was easily applied.

Australia has developed a useful colloquialism: “like a shag on a rock”. This means abandoned and alone.  The Australian National Dictionary Centre explains “Any isolated person can be described as, or feel like, a shag on a rock – for example, a political leader with few supporters, or a person without friends at a party.”

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