Hello folks. Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t posted much on the Blashford Blog lately. Well this isn’t a regular type of posting as, after many years, Sheila and I have finally got round to visiting her family in Australia and we are taking the opportunity to see a little of the local wildlife (apart from my sister-in-law !!!).
We’ve now ben here three weeks and have explored some of the habitats round and about so I thought I’d share a few images of some of the things we’ve seen. In truth it can be quite hard work managing to see some of it.
So far our journey has taken us around the Brisbane area (parks and gardens, rainforest, sclerophyll forest, wetlands and a whalewatchng trip),up to Cairns to visit Danetree National Park (rainforest and river close to coast) and Atherton Tablelands (an elevated plateau further inland with rainforest, wetlands and farms – lots of sugar cane).
Rainforests are really tricky as for the most part they’re quite dark with birds fairly high up in the canopy. There isn’t the option of ‘standing back’ to look up, you simply loose your view and looking straight up usually involves peering through dense foliage with bright sunny sky beyond.
Having said that we were overjoyed that our first rainforest trip produced a quite stunning bird – this rather striking Australian King-Parrot.
Australian King-Parrot – maddeningly our hosts reported that they have had these in their garden!!
There are quite a few other colourful birds, but perhaps the most common spectacular (and noisy) one is the Rainbow lorikeet, which looks somewhat like an explosion in a paint factory.
Rainbow Lorikeet – a very common garden and forest bird around eastern Australia
Most of the small birds move too fast for my little camera, but we were fortunate to see this handsome chap in an urban park setting.
Perhaps a little more familiar, but quite striking, are some of the wetland birds, like this lovely white-necked heron.
Most exciting was the prospect of seeing some different mammals, but as yet our views of kangaroo and wallaby have been very few. Whilst in the Atherton Tableland there is a regular ‘feeding station’ (sugar smeared on tree trunks) where possums and sugar gliders come to feed … shades of Blashford’s woodland hide, but with mammals not birds!!
We were hoping to catch up with platypus at some stage, so were delighted to get some mid-distance views of one from a purpose built ‘Platypus Viewing Station’. Unusually this was quite late (8.30) as they are supposed only feed at dawn and dusk. The next day from the same platform there was no sign, but a lady passing by said she’d just seen one further down the river, so we went to take a look and were well rewarded..
Duck-billed platypus, at Peterson’s Creek, Atherton Tablelands
Whilst we’re looking at mammals, I can’t resist putting in an image of probably the largest mammals to figure on the Blashford Blog, these humpback whale...
Humpback whale, mother and calf, seen
off of Brisbane coast
The east coast of Australia sees regular migration north-south of these creatures who swim to warmer northern waters to give birth, before returning south to the better feeding area.
Now from the largest animal to some of the smallest.
All the insects seem to be supercharged, hardly ever stopping and zipping about. we’ve seen some magnificent specimens, briefly, including the enormous Cairn’s Birdwing butterfly (sorry no picture). Blue seems to figure quite highly in the few we have ‘caught’ including the Blue Triangle and Blue Tiger butterflies.
Blue Tiger butterfly seen in Brisbane Botanic Gardens
Blue Triangle butterfly
We made a couple of river trips whilst in the Danetree area, one at dawn and the other at dusk. as well as some interesting birds we also had our best views of reptiles – not everyone’s favourite, so those of a nervous disposition might want to ‘look away now’
This little fellow was hardly visible, but our guide spotted him from quite a way off, hanging out over the water. Size-wise he’s probably not much thicker than a middle finger and – so far as I know – completely harmless to us.
On an altogether different scale this saltwater crocodile, found ‘basking’ in the early evening presents a slightly more hazardous prospect – not one to go swimming with
Saltwater crocodile – these can reach up to five metres long and have big snappy teeth ……
Sheila says it looks about as active as me and probably is just as grumpy!!!!
I think that’s probably just about enough from me for now – there are lots of other things I’d like to share – but as I see there have been some kingfisher pictures on the regular blog, I’ll just add a few of my own..
And to finish —just for a laugh……………….
We’ll be heading south tomorrow – off to Canberra and a gentle drive back to Brisbane – no idea what we might see, but if I get the chance, I might add something here.