521. A heatwave begins and we explore our wildlife photos…

Heatwave conditions were predicted to begin today and last through until next Monday.

Now that we have finally completed installation of the awning covers on every window, the hot weather will be a good test. By pulling all the shade awnings down to the bottom edge of the window it puts shade on the windows and dramatically reduces the heat coming in through those windows. By leaving the garage door open only 300 mm allows for the breeze to blow through and into the house via the laundry. Combined with insulation in the ceiling and the fans on low the house is quite cool. So, instead of going to the beach or playing lawn bowls the idea is to stay inside and just relax, stay cool and not exert ourselves in the heat.

As I start to write these words, clouds have rolled in and thunder can be heard nearby. It is becoming dark outside.

Here is a wonderful chance to review our photos for some which have not previously been published. Today we are looking at our animal photos.

031-polar-bear
HENRY the Polar Bear.

First photo in the collection is a Polar Bear. I shot this at the Gold Coast Seaworld in late 2014. In fact it was about this same time of year. It included an afternoon storm of dark clouds, strong winds, hail, rain, thunder and lightning. This, if you can believe it, is the young cub, Henry. His mum, Lia, was in an adjoining enclosure. Most park visitors came to see this young fellow, Henry, who was born at the park in 2013. Since I took the photo, Henry has achieved International travel having moved to Ontario Canada Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat in October 2015.

 

032-butterfly-found-in-aboriginal-nature-walk
Unknown Butterfly. Can readers help identify this?

I found this beautiful Butterfly in an Indigenous garden display at Morven in western Queensland late in October 2010. Like many indigenous endeavours they all start off with great intentions but when the allocated donated funds are no longer available there is nobody to maintain the gardens.  Although the gardens were well laid out with native shrubs and other artefacts there was no information available to explain what was what and the place was in a state of neglect. In fact there was nothing anywhere in town to explain that the garden was there. It was not considered something worth visiting. I found it just by walking around the half dozen streets which make up the town and stumbled on it by accident. Obviously the Butterfly was also a visitor and after speaking with locals I was still none the wiser as to what type of Butterfly it was. Maybe a reader can identify it for me.

 

033-australian-ring-neck-parrot
Australian Ring Neck Parrot.

Also in October 2010 we came upon this Australian Ring Neck Parrot in, of all places, Lightning Ridge NSW. This was our first visit to LR and was destined not to be our last. I do not know why but LR has an appeal…to us…and many others. There are four subspecies of this parrot and this one from Central Western NSW is the only one which has a bluish colouring rather than distinctive green of the other three.

 

034-emu
Emu…For our overseas readers the name is pronounced…Eem You.

October 2010 was a busy time in our travel calendar. We were located at Burke, western NSW and in the red sand backroads looking for native wildflowers and fauna. One of the great sightings was the Emu which can be seen in their thousands. Although we constantly saw Emu all day, like all wildlife are hard to photograph as they just do not sit still and pose. All wildlife will stop, look around, feed, look around, move around or move on but they are always in motion. The Emu also likes to move in bush, where, with its natural colouring, can blend in.

 

035-brahminy-kite-in-casuarina-tree
Brahminy Kite.

We saw this Brahminy Kite (also known as the Red -Backed Sea Eagle) at Bucasia Beach on Eimeo Creek tropical Queensland in June 2011. They are found mainly on the coast and in inland wetlands where they feed on dead fish and other prey. (I have seen them catch live fish too) Adults have a reddish-brown plumage and a contrasting white head and breast which make’s them easy to distinguish from other birds of prey. They are sometimes described as a medium sized bird of prey – Raptor – but in my experience are as big as, if not bigger than, a Wedge Tailed Eagle.

 

036-furtive-and-nervous-oyster-catcher
Oyster Catcher.

The furtive and nervous Oyster Catchers can be seen almost anywhere along the estuary mud flats on Australia’s coast. This one we saw at the somewhat remote location of Miara north of Rockhampton on the estuary mud flats of Yandaran Creek in April 2014. Miara Caravan Park exists for serious fisher folk wanting to get to lucrative fishing grounds quickly. I find the name Oyster Catcher rather strange as oysters do not move all that quickly in order to be caught. I think the name should be Oyster Finder.

 

037-welcome-swallow
Welcome Swallow.

Australia’s most widespread swallow, the Welcome Swallow can be seen fluttering, swooping and gliding in search of flying insects in almost any habitat, between city buildings, over farmland paddocks, in deserts, wetlands, forests and grasslands and every habitat in between. Sometimes they even occur at sea — the name ‘Welcome’ swallow comes from sailors who knew that the sight of a swallow meant that land was not far away. Swallows build their mud nests in many different situations, though most noticeably beneath bridges and on the walls of buildings. This pair was sighted on farmland at Finch Hatton west of Mackay, Qld in October 2011.

 

038-black-swan
Black Swans.

April 2009 we were at Coles Bay in Tasmania. At Moulting Lagoon was huge flock of wonderful Black Swans. The Black Swan is the largest waterbird in Australia. The white feathers can only be seen when it is flying or as in this case just flapping around for the fun of it. Graceful in flight and when paddling around on the water, it is a clumsy bird when walking on land. Until 1697 all Swans were thought to be white. A visiting Dutch Ship caught two specimens in what is now the Swan River, Perth, Western Australia. Both birds died on the voyage back to Holland. Here is an interesting fact – refer to http://panique.com.au/trishansoz/animals/black-swan.html  it is estimated that up to 25% of Black Swan Couples are homosexual!!!

 

039-black-skink
Black Skink. For some reason it is also known as a Land Mullet.

Often the first sighting of a Black Skink is the large, long black tail sliding under a bush or leaves. Bushwalkers first reaction is that they have come across a deadly Black Snake.  In fact the Black Skink, like all Skinks, are usually non aggressive. We saw this specimen while bushwalking at Springbrook in the Gold Coast Hinterland in March 2015. Like all good city people walking in the bush we also thought it was a deadly black snake at first. The overseas tourist in front of us went panic paralysed while screaming they had been attacked by a black snake. In fact the Skink was trying to get away and hide from the noisy people.

 

040-pelicans
Pelicans.

We see Pelicans everywhere on a daily basis. Mostly we see them on the coast but have found them in river locations hundreds of kilometres from the coast. These Pelicans were located at Lakes Entrance in Victoria in May 2009 when we were returning from Tasmania. They are a big bird and to a young child can appear threatening. In fact they are quite tame and can often be approached to within a metre or two. They enjoy being hand fed.

 

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