Tag Archives: wildlife

K- Forester Kangaroo – Macropus giganteus

Welcome to Day 11 of the A-Z Challenge.

For those of you overseas, no doubt you’ll find meeting today’s guest rather exciting because you may be meeting a kangaroo for the first time. Although I’m Australian born and bred, I still love seeing kangaroos, particularly in the wild as you usually don’t see them very often and contrary to some tourists’ hopes, you won’t find them hopping through the city streets.

During our 3 week trip to Tasmania in January, we were mostly staying with friends out in the bush near Devonport. This meant we were immersed in the local wildlife. There were numerous Bennett’s Wallabies, Kangaroos, birds and my son swears he heard a Tasmanian Devil howling in the night. That was all very special, although our daughter wasn’t so keen on the news of the Devil. You see, we often arrived home from our travels rather late at night and even though they eat dead bodies rather than the living, she didn’t want any up close and personal encounters.

Unfortunately, given that there is so much wildlife in Tasmania, especially of the small hopping variety, too many animals find their way on the roads and end up as what we Australians call “Road Kill”. On average, 32 animals are killed every hour on Tasmanian roads.

‘More animals die per kilometre on Tasmanian Roads than anywhere else in the world,’ says Don Knowler, author of Riding the Devil’s Highway.

‘The scale of road kill in Tasmania is just colossal,’ he says, adding that almost 300,000 animals are killed a year, with some groups putting the figure as high as half a million.

Another problem is secondary road kill. Animals like the very, endangered Tasmanian Devil, are run over while feeding on the road.

When we were driving back from Port Arthur at night, you could see the Bennett’s Wallabies in high numbers beside the road and it wasn’t uncommon to see them hopping across the road not far in front of the car and needing to take preventative measures. Unfortunately, we hit a wallaby and when we turned back we found its dead joey beside it. Naturally, I felt sick and and horrified shock that we’d done that to any kind of animal, especially a mother with her joey. There are wildlife groups, like WIRES, which take in injured animals and try to nurse hem back to the wild. Unfortunately, our wallaby and joey had died on impact.

I should also note that as important as it is to avoid hitting animals on the roads, it is also important to consider your own safety. While I was at university, a friend of mine died swerving to avoid a koala on the road and hit a tree.

These are some of the realities behind all those images you see of cute, fluffy Australian marsupials and thankfully there are people trying to increase awareness of the dangers of road kill and caring for injured animals to reduce the toll.

Yet, more must be done.

xx Rowena

Reference

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/offtrack/tasmania-roadkill-capital-of-the-world/7021816http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/offtrack/tasmania-roadkill-capital-of-the-world/7021816

 

Black Swan Lake, Tasmania.

Just as well Geoff was driving from Port Arthur to Devonport. As I kept spotting all sorts out the window forcing photo stops galore, we needed a driver with their eyes fixed on the road.That was never going to be me!

I’d also argue that we needed a dedicated lookout as well. Not just to keep an eye out for photo opportunities and darting wildlife, but for us all to fully appreciate the journey as well as the destination.

To be perfectly honest, it wasn’t long after our last photo stop when I spotted this dam dotted with black swans. Coming from Sydney where I’ve never seen a wild swan of either sort, seeing so many black swans all at once was a definite thrill. So, this apparition was definitely worth stopping for.

Like so many things Down Under, things seen to be the reverse of what’s in Europe and the Black Swan was only another example. Indeed, for Europeans, finding the black swan was akin to finding the mythical unicorn.

You see, the black swan had long been used as a metaphor in mythology, referring to something which doesn’t exist. In AD 82, the Roman satirist Juvenal wrote in  of rara avis in terris nigroque simillima cygno (“a rare bird in the lands, and very like a black swan”).[6] He meant something whose rarity would compare with that of a black swan, or in other words, as a black swan did not exist, neither did the supposed characteristics of the “rare bird” with which it was being compared. The phrase passed into several European languages as a popular proverb, including English, in which the first four words (“a rare bird in the land”) are often used ironically. For some 1500 years, the black swan existed in the European imagination as a metaphor for that which could not exist.

In 1697, The Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh made the first European record of sighting a black swan, when he sailed into, and named, the Swan River on the western coast of New Holland. The sighting was significant in Europe, where “all swans are white” had long been used as a standard example of a well-known truth.

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Black Swan I’d photographed earlier at Deloraine.

Governor Phillip, soon after establishing the convict settlement some sixty years later and 3,000 kilometres (1,900 mi) away at Botany Bay on the east coast, wrote in 1789 that “A black swan, which species, though proverbially rare in other parts of the world, is here by no means uncommon … a very noble bird, larger than the common swan, and equally beautiful in form … its wings were edged with white: the bill was tinged with red.”[7]

Taking black swans to Europe in the 18th and early 19th centuries, brought the birds into contact with another aspect of European mythology: the attribution of sinister relationships between the devil and black-coloured animals, such as a black cat. Black swans were considered to be a witch’s familiar and often chased away or killed by superstitious folk. Indeed, in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, the sinister and seductive black swan, Odile, is contrasted with the innocent white swan, Odette.

As I’ve mentioned before, Geoff is Tasmanian and grew up with a “pet” swan at home for some years. I’m not sure of the exact story but I think Charlie was an ophan swan who adopted Geoff’s mum. Charlie used to make himself quite at home, coming into the house for food.

Anyway, I thought you’d appreciate seeing so many black swans in one spot and what a thrill it was for us. I hope you might get the opportunity to experience it yourself one day.

xx Rowena

Source

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_swan_emblems_and_popular_culture

Winter Weekend Coffee Share.

Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share!

Today, I can actually offer you your choice of tea or coffee along with an almost healthy Strawberry & Macadamia Nut Muffin. Although  I really loved them straight out of the oven last night, they were still scrummy cold this morning with juicy chunks of strawberry complimenting crunchy macadamia nuts perfectly.

It’s Winter here in Australia.At least, that’s the official line.As far as winters go, even for us, it’s been pretty mild now that last weekend’s storm’s been and gone.

Winter in Australia

This week, I posted a rather funny cartoon about 20°C  in Brisbane (Winter) versus 20°C in London (Summer) . The funny thing was, that I just compared Sydney and London’s weather reports today and you wouldn’t believe it. They’re the same…16-20°C!

Not that I’m bragging. I don’t control the weather and I didn’t choose to be born here but I’m not complaining.

At least, not this weekend!

That said, we’ve had a few strange things going on in the last week.

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Our beach track was wiped out in the storm and transformed into a cliff.

I’ve already mentioned last weekend’s dreadful storms which hit the Australian East Coast.

On Tuesday, we had a 4.0 magnitude earthquake 100 km of the coast from here. Well, you might ask if I noticed because I didn’t feel a thing. Indeed, I only found out about it while following up the Sydney Storm online.

Tuesday, must have been a busy day for exceptional events around here because a Great White Shark was photographed leaping out of the waves while a guy was filming his mate surf…”Good Morning, Jaws!” This was an hour’s drive up the road from here and we live in a beachside community where we’ve seen local fisherpeople catch juvenile Bronze Whaler Sharks but although we know the Great Whites seemingly swim passed here to attack surfers on the NSW North Coast, we like to think they’re further out to sea and chomping on something else along the way.

It’s funny about us Australians because half the time we’re beefing up the dangers of our wildlife to terrify the tourists, and yet denial also seems to be a national sport. Sharks? What sharks?

Not all of our stories about our dangerous wildlife are made up. On a more serious note, last Sunday tourist Cindy Waldron was taken by a croc while swimming in the Daintree, near Cairns. On the very same day on the other side of the country, diver Doreen Ann Collyer was killed by a giant Great White Shark while diving about 1km off Mindarie beach in Perth.

So, while we might jest about the dangers, they also need to be taken seriously!

However, things have been relatively uneventful here.

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Our daughter drawing a unicorn in the sand when her friend visited.

It’s looking like I didn’t get the job at my daughter’s school. I’m fine about that but am putting more thought into setting some goals and objectives, while getting things more organised at home. I feel like I’ve finally moved forward from the chemo two years ago and that my health is stable and I am okay. That’s a huge leap forward, although it still feels very tentative at times and sometimes, it feels absolutely terrifying and like I’m about to combust or something. Strangely, the big stuff doesn’t worry me too much but things usually related to my poor spatial skills like parking the car somewhere unfamiliar. Chemo? No worries mate.

Just call me “odd”. You won’t be the first and you won’t be the last.

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Anyway, I bought myself a book, which offered great promise this week: Shannah Kennedy’s: The Life Plan. I found it at a stationery and organisation shop called Kikki K, which says:

“Do you want to live with purpose and achieve your life goals? In The Life Plan, leading life coach Shannah Kennedy sets out a step-by-step strategy to help you identify your true purpose and values, declutter and find clarity, improve your time management, and create tools to help you stay focused.”

By the way, all these thoughts about getting organised at home just received another setback. We just visited a local 2nd hand book sale and returned home with two more boxes of books. I wonder if you can store books in the fridge…Then again, I don’t think there’s any room in there either. We’ll just have to read them fast!

So, how has your week been? I hope it’s been good and look forward to catching up!

Thanks for popping by! This has been part of the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Diana at Part-Time Monster. You can click  for the linky to read the other posts.

xx Rowena

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Good night…Night Lights, Ettalong Beach, NSW.

Australia: You’ve Been Warned!!

You don’t have to be Einstein to know Australia is a land of rugged extremes. A place where you just need to dip your toe in the water and it could became a battle of life and death against any number of foes.

Naturally, you’d be mad to ever set foot in the place. Indeed, it really is a mystery to modern science how locals have ever managed to survive.

Of course, all sorts of theories abound. Personally, I reckon that daily dose of Vegemite toast probably makes us so toxic and unpalatable to wildlife, that they don’t even want to take a bite.

Our climate is just as extreme, dangerous and potentially deadly as our wildlife.

Moreover, it’s almost ludicrous to think that while one part of the country is experiencing ferocious, destructive bush fires, the Northern Territory has severe flooding. Moreover, the fact that it’s Christmas never seems to enter the equation either. Nature doesn’t care.

Vintage Ettalong Santa Truck 2008 Pearl Beach

An Australian Christmas, Pearl Beach, New South Wales.

So, if you’re in the UK experiencing floodwaters, thank your lucky stars you’re nowhere near the Daly River in Australia’s rugged Northern Territory where rising flood waters are the least of your worries.

Those very same waters are infested with large, man-eating saltwater crocodiles. Snap! Snap! While most of Australia’s dangerous wildlife doesn’t actively seek out humans, crocs are a different story. They’re aggressive predators and quite happy to add you to the menu. You can read the full story here: http://www.news.com.au/technology/science/animals/daly-river-residents-alarmed-after-spotting-crocodiles-in-town-during-flood/news-story/786cad8139b22f7e0c5092f5988eb629

Meanwhile, on Christmas Day, 116 homes were lost in horrific bush fires on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. An incredible inferno, this blaze is still going.

The extremes of the Australian climate and landscape are encapsulated in a historic poem written by Dorothea McKellar, which probably rouses more national pride than our national anthem. It has quite a number of verses but this is what usually gets recited:

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!

Indeed, it is a land where drought and flood have somehow become strangely interconnected.  Bush fire is so common that it’s even required  for some plant species to germinate, bringing about new life. You’d have to say that’s just proof this place is insane. How could anything so destructive ever have any redeeming features?

Meanwhile, Geoff and I are enjoying a very lazy, comfortable day parked in the couch at home. Geoff’s watching the cricket while I’m blogging while the dog sleeps on my feet. I should tell him to thank his lucky stars he’s nowhere near the Daly’s River either. Dogs have sadly become snack food up there, while Bilbo and Lady and been enjoying eating post-Christmas treats.

dogs

Enjoying the easy life!

One of these days, I’ll be expecting complaints from the Australian Tourism Commission: “Stop scaring away the tourists”. I know I should only be sharing the nice fluffy stories about lush green pastures and stunning golden beaches but where’s the fun in that? Snakes, spiders, crocodiles, bush fires, floods, crazed drop bears…this is the real Australia.

Enter at your own risk!

Have you been game?

xx Rowena

 

 

 

Bird O’Clock

For the bird lovers out there, here’s a extension of my recent Lazy Birds post https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/10/10/lazy-birds-of-byron-bay/.

Kath Unsworth from Minuscule Moments has some beautiful photographs of some of our beautiful Australian birds. You can check her post out here:  http://kathunsworth.com/2015/09/15/bird-oclock/

xx Rowena

Minuscule Moments of Inspiration

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Sometimes when inspiration won’t come and I feel like I am stagnant and uncreative I know I need a reboot. I go on an outing, I did this with my last trip to the zoo and getting out and about is a great way to fuel those creative fires.

An opportunity arose to visit a bird aviary on my recent trip to Canberra.

My husband wanted to see the War Memorial, art galleries all the usual stuff the Capital city has to offer. We agreed to see as much as we could in the three days, whilst the kids were at school camp.

The aviary went way beyond my expectations. They had many species of birds from all over the world. The time passed quickly. I sat captivated. Looking up to the tops of the aviary I did feel a little sad. The birds were not free but most of them had only known…

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Seal Performs at Sydney Opera House.

On Monday, I walked around the Sydney Opera House with my UK friend, Wally photographing him in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Of course, these are two incredible, architectural icons which literally scream out: “Sydney”!!! You couldn’t be anywhere else.

Or, so I thought.

That was until we reached the end of Bennelong Point where the Opera House is located and came across barricades and a huge banner: “Please Do Not Feed the Seal”

Seal?

What seal?

A seal in Sydney?

By now, I should expect the unexpected but although I’ve lived in and around Sydney all of my life, this is the first time I’ve heard about a seal being in town. Well, that is in recent times.

Sydney's Celebrity Seal.

Sydney’s Celebrity Seal.

I walked up to get a closer look and sure enough there was a seal sprawled out at the bottom on the stairs soaking up the glorious Autumn sun.

What the?!!!

What was a seal doing in Sydney Harbour…especially sunning itself on the Opera House steps?

Was it lost?

Or, was it crossing off its bucket list? It, too, wanted to visit Sydney and check out the Bridge, the Opera House…or even sample our local cuisine?

I can understand wanting to travel. See the world. However, I’m sure there are better places to catch fish but each to their own. I just hope it doesn’t start glowing in the dark. I’ve heard there’s all sorts at the bottom of the Harbour…not to mention a few crooks and corrupt politicians from the 80s what with the “bottom of the Harbour” racket. All that drama resulted in a Royal Commission but that was long before this seal’s time.

Another possibility is that despite the banners asking us not to feed it, the seal has actually come to Sydney to sample our Aussie fish and chips. Not exactly a healthy choice and more than likely to make the poor seal sick but tell me who actually does read the fine print? Certainly not a seal!! I can’t help wondering whether it was heading for Doyle’s at the Beach, an iconic Sydney seafood restaurant, at nearby Watson’s Bay? Perhaps, the seal, like me, was directionally challenged and ended up at the Opera House by mistake? Took a wrong turn? Had trouble with its GPS? Palm Beach fish and chips shop might also have been on it’s list, although I’ve never seen a seal at Palm Beach.

However, thanks to the signage, there’s certainly no fish and chips for this seal. No! It has to fend for itself and I must say it’s looking nice and plump. It certainly isn’t wasting away!!

Another potential destination was Taronga Zoo. Perhaps, it fell for rumours something along the lines of a lifetime’s supply of free fish and thought it was worth a visit? I don’t know but we all know the game “Chinese whispers”. It doesn’t take long for the message to change and distort completely!!

Yes, that was quite a plausible explanation.

Hmm…thinking of Finding Nemo…did the seal come to Sydney looking for someone? Somehow, I doubt it. It’s not exactly moving around all that much.

Anyway, whatever brought the seal to Sydney, in between fishing trips, it is simply relaxing. Soaking up the glorious Autumn sunshine while the paparazzi snap away. It doesn’t even attempt to pose for the camera. No! It’s quite happy for you to photograph its butt and post it on Facebook and goodness knows where else. Doesn’t insist on a better perspective.

It even has its own Twitter account: @SassySydneySeal and hash tag #sydneyseal.

As Wally and I left the seal and the Opera House with it’s panoramic view across to the Bridge behind us, I couldn’t help but appreciate those unexpected surprises which somehow leap across our paths. That we should never over-plan or micro-manage our lives to the extent that we haven’t got time to take the detour, pause for five minutes and watch a seal sleeping beside Sydney Harbour or the golden light of the full moon rising illuminating the black, inky sea. We not only need to leave a little breathing space but also room to stretch out and even swing the metaphorical cat. Yet, although time shouldn’t be a luxury,it’s only when we value something that we truly appreciate its worth.

It’s always hard to get that balance right!

Have you come across something unexpected on your travels lately? Please share your stories in the comments.

xx Rowena

PS You can read more about our walk around the Opera House in my previous post here: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/05/12/sydney-opera-house-new-perspectives/