We’re in Australia to spend Christmas & New Year with Dan, Morgan & the Boys. Despite all the Omnicron uncertainty of the past few weeks we did manage to get a relatively trouble-free flight with Cathay Pacific on Tuesday, arriving 30 hours after departing from St. Neots. It did involve a lot of additional paper-work, pre-flight PCR’s, etc and it’s a long time to wear a face mask – but it does prove it’s possible! Having gone to bed at around midnight (in Australia) we were up early to get our first ‘test to release’ PCR, with results expected within 24-48 hours – certainly in plenty of time for us to enjoy a family Christmas meal in a Newcastle restaurant. As I write this, four days after the test, I’ve just got my results through – NEGATIVE! and an end to self-isolation. Although our Christmas dinner was a couple of sausage rolls, it’s been lovely to be here with the kids and we look forward to New Year’s Eve – celebrating Dan’s 40th. Still, on the birding front, it’s not been at all bad. Living literally across the street from a RAMSAR wetland has it’s advantages and we’ve manage to see / hear over 70 species so far – including three eagle species. Last night we did an impromptu survey of birds returning to the Wetlands Centre to roost. We counted over a thousand birds – mostly Great, Intermediate & Cattle Egret, Australian White Ibis, Royal Spoonbill and the smaller cormorants. Today, with our new-found freedom, we’re off in pursuit of my first Hunter tick!