Week 26 – A Break at the end of 2022

Last week Wing Threads: Flight Around Oz landed back in Lake Macquarie – seven months since I left in May of this year to drive over to Perth to start this trip!

Since leaving White Gum Farm on June 3rd, I’ve flown over 5000 kilometres in 24 flight legs across four states of Australia. I’ve also visited 63 schools and spoken to over 3500 students about migratory shorebirds 🐦😎

To have made it this far is a huge milestone and the timing is perfect. My plan is to stay in Newcastle and house sit for friends again over the school Christmas holidays before continuing on again in March 2023.

Landing at Lake Macquarie felt a bit like coming home. As I taxiied to the hangar, I saw a huge group of people had come to welcome me! It was so awesome.

Huge thank you to the members of Hunter Bird Observers Club, my peeps at BirdLife, Jen and family from Hunter Local Land Services, Jo Gamer from Boomerang Bags and my lovely friend, Jill who I house sat for last year for making the time to come down.

I also need to say a special thank you to my ground crew for the last two legs. Remember Phil and Christina, the managers at Eucla Roadhouse that Keith and I ended up working for while we were there?

Well, Phil gave me a call the other week to let me know they were in Bairnsdale on their way back to Byron Bay from Eucla! He asked if I would like them to be my ground crew as they were going the same way as me. The timing worked out perfectly!

It was great to catch up with them both again, and Sunny the dog πŸ• Funny how people come back around into your life πŸ˜„

(L to R) Me, Phil and Christina reunited in Wollongong
(L to R) Keith, Christina, Phil and me back in Border Village

Flying the Sapphire Coast from Merimbula to Shell Harbour and then flying past Sydney on the Victor 1 route has definitely been a highlight of my trip thus far!

Thank you as well to South Coast Seaplanes in Moruya for giving my plane a place to sleep while in town for the week. Thanks as well to fellow trike pilot, Tony Dennis, from Sydney Microlights for providing hangarage and accommodation for myself, Phil and Christina while we stayed in the ‘Gong.

I also appreciate Tony and his wife getting up super early the next morning to join me on the first part of my flight leg up to Sydney! Much appreciated and always more fun flying with others πŸ™

Here’s a few pics of the flight from Wollongong to Lake Macquarie past Sydney.

Tony's trike flying beside me as we pass Wollongong
Flying past Sea Cliff Bridge
Flying past Sydney CBD on Victor 1 VFR route

I’d also like to thank Chris Bird for flying down from Lake Macquarie in his trike to meet me over Terrigal and we flew back together. And of course, a huge thank you to Russell and Rory Duncan from Airborne Flight Training for making space in the hangar for me again. So good to be back, guys!

Last week, I visited three schools in the Sydney region – PLC, Abbotsford Public School and Carlton South Public School. The students at PLC created a beautiful card for me with lots of messages about all the things they’ve learned about shorebirds. It even had a portrait of me on the back with a shorebird on my shoulder! πŸ˜„πŸ˜

I was also inspired by Abbotsford Public School’s recent decision to change their school logo to a Bar-tailed Godwit to raise awareness of them as an endangered species in the nearby wetlands. The students gifted me a toy Bar-tailed Godwit and asked if I could please take a picture of it with the microlight. Absolutely! That’s on my list of jobs this week πŸ˜‰

This week and next I’ll be visiting schools in the Hunter and Manning areas before finishing up for the year. My last event for the year will be a talk for Manning Coastcare on 16th December at 6pm (venue to be announced).

Before I sign off, I’d also like to thank the following people and organisations who have signed up as flight leg sponsors over the past few months. These sponsorships have kept me going as the trip has taken much longer than expected and as such, has cost more as well!

In no particular order, huge thank you to Glenelg Hopkins CMA, Carol Khan from Worth More Than Money, Shorncliffe State School, Ecosure-Avisure Group, the Southern Eyre Bird Club, Australians Supporting Ukraine and an anonymous donor 🀫

If you’d like to become a flight leg sponsor, go to https://wingthreads.com/donate!

Sunrise on the Sapphire Coast near Bateman's Bay

If you missed the last two flight legs, here are the links for the replays below.

Thanks so much for following along everyone and I look forward to sharing more again next year πŸ€—

Milly Formby
Milly Formby is a zoologist, pilot, and illustrator of the children’s book, A Shorebird Flying Adventure She is currently flying her microlight around Australia in 2022/23 to share,A Shorebird Flying Adventure with primary students.
Image credits:
Book cover for A Shorebird Flying Adventure

A Shorebird Flying Adventure

Available Now

Join Milly on her microlight and discover how amazing and awesome migratory shorebirds are!

Milly Formby is a zoologist and illustrator of the children’s book A Shorebird Flying Adventure. Available now through CSIRO Publishing.

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