Sunday 30 September 2012

Some views from the SW

The Safari has spent a very wet n windy Sunday working through the couple of thousand pics we took while away Down Under.
Perhaps we should have been braver and gone out to the coast as there were a few Leach's Petrels seen up the coast this morning.
At the Blowholes near Albany
If you can read the sign you're far too close.
 Blowholes coastal scenery looking north
and south.
Somehow we left the camera in the car when we visited the Gap, a crack in the Earth's crust which was formed when Australia separated from Gondwanaland just about 200 million years ago. Only a few hundred yards away is an impressive natural rock bridge.

Misery Beach - surely wrongly named, great variety of shells and rockpool life here but too cold for swimming
 But by eck it's a Dangerous Coast...warning signs were everywhere

 The Dog Rock, Albany...remind you of anyone's dog?
Albany harbour views

Panorama of Lake Muir from the Observation Platform only a few miles down the road from Maroo...where's the water? About a mile away! A cold early morning drive in Ernie the aging Suzuki 4x4 gave us an unusual sighting for this area - at least three Red Deer.

Where to next? More antipodean adventures tomorrow if we survive going back to work...plenty of wildlife to come too.
In the meantime let us know what the scenery is like in your outback.

Saturday 29 September 2012

The dreamtime ends and the walkabout is over

The Safari is back in Blighty.

Not a bad place to work up in the morning to the caroling chorus of the Magpie family and the cackling laughter of the Laughing Kookaburras.
Fortunately this fella in camp looks far more scarier than he actually is!

Nice Huntsman

Then there's always the roos, this is member of the family Leonard.
Grub wasn't too bad either and couldn't possibly have been fresher; only a matter of a few minutes from water to table
Many thanks to our excellent hosts at Maroo.

Where to next? More pics and info tomorrow and maybe even a UK safari too.
In the meantime let us know where you walked about in your outback.

Thursday 13 September 2012

Another quick update from the Antipodes

The Safari has been out n about with the camera. mostly trying to stand still long enough to get the shot without drqawing the attention of these little fellas - when they bite they don't wanna let go...wouldn't like to nod off during the day or worrse fall over n  get concussed - they'd reduce you to the bare bones quicker than a big shoal of Piranhas!
 The drive back from the letter's a bit of a trek...1/4 of an hour round trip! Bit different to walking down the hall from the kitchen and picking the letters off the doormat!!!
Some lovely wildflowers out at the mo, this pea sp is quite common and really brightens the place up.
Butterflies are scarce as it is still very cold, not far off frosty, at night. A Painted Lady called by for a drop of nectar from the plants growing in the track 
 Dragonflies are being to show themselves with three species seen today. This one is very similar to the European Common Darter.
This one is much smaller not much bigger than the damselflies, shame it landed on the back of the leaf with all the clutter in the background.
Last but not least a couple of birds. First the male Scarlet Robin.
Folled by the ultra blue and perfectly named Splendid Fairy Wren
Our total in the Year List Challenge now stands at 251 with new 55 species added in Australia, also seen Coot and Cormorant but they are the ssame as back in Safari-land.
Where to next? We're still sussing out the best places for all the kit to be placed for the forthcoming Maroo the North Blackpool Pond Trail Bioblitz they say we're gonna get some weather...yuk!
In the meantime let us know if these pics are upside down...they really were taken in the proper outback.
An outback loo with a view

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Quick up date from Down Under

The Safari is busy....but here's a quick taster

White Tailed Black Cockatoo at dawn
28 Parrot - cos they say 'twenty eight'
Laughing Kookaburra - introduced in to these parts in the late 19th C
Scarlet Robin
The back garden
Gilbert - the 2nd besrt dog in the world

Friday 7 September 2012

Made it Down Under

The Safari is now at Maroo.
The train/bus journey from Perth the the wilds of the SW produced 21 year birds taking us to 217 with a couple others still to be IDd.
The view from our digs is pretty cool...
Western Grey Kangaroo, first mammal of the trip.
Where to next? An early morning wander around the back forest to the sound of Kookaburras is in order.
In the mean time let us kmow what's hopping around your outback.

Tuesday 4 September 2012

Bit of a different safari coming up

The Safari is leaving Safari-land this week and venturing a little further afield for a change, so there’ll be no updates of ‘nothing new’ on Patch 2 and no news of any Peregrines that may or may not be sat on their favourite ledges on the tower for a few days or so. We’re off on a real life real adventure DOWN UNDER!
The self-sufficient Maroo’s brand new sustainable education unit is now well and truly open for business and about to be tested to the full by Yours Truly! Perhaps even to the extent of setting up future green tourism ‘holidays’.

“We don't want ‘just’ holiday makers, but are marketing to conservation and wildlife enthusiasts. We will cater just for small groups.
You get your own personal experienced wildlife guide, (yes that's The Safari).
We are not offering a holiday excursion for ‘holiday makers’ with some buffoon dribbling on about wildlife he knows nothing about :-) – we’ve been on some those and are never sure whether to pipe up and tell them they are wrong or keep quiet and snigger quietly to ourselves; one ‘guide’ (and we use the term lightly) we remember told his group a lot of nonsense about swans and them horror of horrors referes to ‘seagulls’ as nothing more than flying Rats - eejit!!! Our trips will be informative and allow you to get up-close and personal with the wildlife of your interest. This is an adults only opportunity so there won’t be any children frightening off the wildlife.
We want to market Maroo in such a way that only those who are totally bonkers about hiding out in hides to photograph Cockatoos coming in to drink, laying on your stomach in a paddock just to spot that Swamp Hawk raising her babies in the sedge. This is the type of holiday anyone who works in any environmental capacity will just love. We’ve even spent hours near at the water hole taking photos of bugs. Let’s face it we are appealing to people just like ourselves – anyone with a passion for wildlife who would relish the chance to get up close and personal with some of Australia’s weirdest and wonderfulest – is that a word?
It’s a great opportunity for birders and wildlife photographers. It’s not just birds although there is a fantastic range of endemics, there are unique mammals, unusual reptiles and enough invertebrates to keep a macro-photographer entertained for years and more exotic plants than you could shake a big botanical stick at!
On offer is good old Auzzie hospitality, eat with us, sleep with us, talk wildlife, drink and be merry. We want it to have the same feel as an environmental expedition, nothing fancy but damn good holiday. There may also be the chance to go out with professional researchers on their trapping and monitoring projects.
Our Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre is going from strength to strength so who knows what animals you might meet. If you want to handle, feed, go on rescue runs with us then this can also be an option.
Think Rolf Harris’s ANIMAL HOSPITAL meets STEVE IRWIN (RIP) on an EXPEDITION HOLIDAY and you’ve got it in one.
This region is our biggest selling point; you do not have to travel thousands of kilometres up north into the distant outback when you have everything you want in our beautiful SOUTH WEST of Western Australia.
We need to save our many endangered species from extinction, (some far rarer than Giant Pandas!) by the end you will know that in a small way you have contributed to their survival.”

For all the goss on how we’re getting on keep coming back but if there’s no news on here try the Maroo blog...anything could happen over course of the next month!

Some pics nicked from mein host Aussie Glen - sure he won't mind!

We're gonna get educated in here

Kookaburra being treated

The reptile re-habilitation nclosure and volunteer

Roo gate demo by Aussie Glen


OK we're off to pack now and make sure we've got plenty of SD cards and spare batteries and a rain coat apparently it's cold and pouring down - so nothing new there then!...ciao for now as they say in Italy...where Young Un AB should be having a ball on his 'working holiday'...he tells us he's already seen a shed load of goodies like flocks of Bea-Eaters, and White Admirals, Swallowtails and more - nice one; hope we can emulate him.

Monday 3 September 2012

Still a bit on the frustrating side

The Safari was out early doors with Frank and enjoyed a glorious sunrise over the fells to the east. We heard the terrestrial ‘holy trinity’; a couple of (new in?) Robins ticking from garden cover, a Dunnock doing that autumn peeeep call and a Wren was singing, first we’ve heard (or at least noticed) for some time. No Peregrines were noted on the tower as we drove up the hill.
The sea looked inviting in the glow of early morning sunshine, hardly a white horse to be seen.
Once out on the wall the sea was still inviting but was also almost devoid of life! A few small flocks of Common Scoters and Cormorants went on their merry ways but other than those it was quiet; not even a Sandwich Tern...and we forgot to check the beach for any roosting there although a jogger was making his way along the water’s edge from north to south a way down and if there were any he’d already have disturbed them and if he hadn’t he would do shortly – that said we didn’t see any over the sea at all! The tide was well out and we heard a Whimbrel call from the beach to the north of us and there were a good number of gulls which remained ignored for the most part, a quick scan didn’t give us any returning Common Gulls.
Nothing was heard in the passage migrant line overhead. All in all a pretty poor do.
Lunchtime was sort of eagerly awaited with the realisation it wasn’t going to be much better...still the sun shone and it was very pleasant out there.
A Grey Seal was soon found at some distance which was at least an improvement on this morning’s session.
In the far distance we started to note a rather spread out flock of Common Scoters of some size. We resolved to get some kind of count which proved tricky in the swell. The flock went on for literally miles although it didn’t appear to be too deep, more a long line than a big circular blob. We got to around 1000 when they tailed off over the horizon a little to our south. They probably didn’t reach much further as they aren’t seen on the ferry surveythat runs quite close.  
Altogether there could have been at least 3000 and possibility as many as 6000 or even one or two more.
At last Sandwich Terns started to appear. One at first, then another couple followed by a few more singles. They didn’t do much fishing and there weren’t any skuas in attendance; not long now before they disappear to West Africa - well out of range of our scope.
A Great Crested Grebe fluttered through the field of view on yet another futile cetacean scan – they do look horribly incongruous out at sea seeming to be far to fragile for such an extreme environment; at least Red Throated Divers (starting to reappear in small numbers now) have fairly powerful wingbeats and big paddle like feet and look as though they belong better at sea.
Again nothing overhead, but that’s not really unexpected at lunchtime.
A brief sortee in to the wilderness in the garden gave us a nice selection of inverts.
An Opilione waiting for an unwary hoverfly

Helophilus trivittatus again

Eristalis arbustorum

Eristalis arbustorum - same individual as above face on
Garden Cross spider

Same pic cropped
 Where to next? More of the steady same probably.
In the meantime let us know what's lurking with evil intent in your outback

Sunday 2 September 2012

Frustration grows

The Safari has spent the weekend on dog-sitting duties and not been able to get out n about, Frank is still only permitted three ten minute walks a day,m that's five minutes there and five back! Still he's a lovely boy and an uncomplaining patient who is getting better every day, his limp has now almost gone except when he's a bit stiff in the morning. trouble is cos he doesn't hurt or limp anymore he thinks he's fit and well but he has another five weeks before the vets say he can go Billy-bonkers again although given the sight of a cat or sniff of a Fox he's trying to do that now and that could seriously set him back.
We were hoping to get the moth trap out last night but prolonged drizzle out paid to that idea. Then this morning we were just too lazy and stayed in bed when perhaps we ought to have go up and had a shuffy along Chat Alley which paid dividends for AM yesterday even though we gave it a miss as we thought the overnight weather was a bit ropey for dropping migrants - how wrong we were!
A little bit of time in the garden gave us a couple of Large Whites, a Peacock, a Small Tortoiseshell and a short walk with Frank produced a Hawker sp dragonfly that very annoyingly stayed just out of naked eye range for an ID, deffo not Brown Hawker (clear wings) and seemed a bit bulky for Migrant Hawker.
In the back garden of a house across the main road a Willow Warbler/Chiffchaff 'hweet'ed but other than that Safariville was quiet. Even the gulls haven't been able to find us a passing raptor this arvo.

Where to next? Annoyingly the wind has died down so Patch 2 may well be devoid of seabirds in the morning; there could however be a bit of overhead passage though.
In the meantime let us know what the gulls haven't found in your outback
Late Update - Just found this - what a great project. let's hope that 1( it gets the go ahead and 2) the Victorian-attituded blinkered numpties don't put the mockers on'd get us travelling just that bit further afield and out of Safari-land!