Bird Week? Well, that was the idea when I started it over one month ago now. And yet, I’m still only at bird #6. Good thing I didn’t call it ‘Bird Month’… I might have felt beholden to sharing 30 birds instead of just seven.
Today’s bird is quite clearly a pelican, an Australian Pelican to be precise. They breed over on Mud Island at the south end of Port Phillip Bay. When they get old enough and start exploring, they eventually make it over to Phillip Island and San Remo. Every day at noon, a local organisation feeds the pelicans. They often take in the injured ones and nurse them back to health.
Over time, the birds have become pretty good at figuring out when feeding happens and turn up in varying numbers as the morning gets on. This was about an hour before feeding time when the pelicans are just patiently milling about waiting for happy hour.
After three days of fishing in the Southern Ocean, these guys deserve a rest.
Home to a colony of Australian sea lions, Seal Bay was a great spot to get up close to the local wildlife. National park rangers take groups of 20 to 30 people down to the beach at a time. The logic is that the sea lions will not attack something bigger (like a group of 20 people) than themselves. As such, we were strongly cautioned not to get separated from the group (like, say by lying in the sand taking pictures and not noticing the group moving on…) and not to get too close to the sea lions as they could become aggressive.
The sea lions spend three days at sea catching fish and feeding. They then return to this beach to rest and restore their energy before heading back out to sea. As a result, we saw a lot of very sleepy looking sea lions.
Drive by a field on the west coast of Canada, you’re likely to spot some deer hanging out, having a bit of a munch on the grass. Drive by a field on the west coast of Australia and this is more likely what you’ll see.
Found this friendly horse walking near the road in Cape Range National Park in Western Australia a few years back. This horse and others had been released into the park by owners who presumably couldn’t or didn’t want to care for them anymore. I don’t know much about horses, but judging by the ribs on this one, it doesn’t look terribly well fed.
We had spent Christmas in Perth and after some travels to the south, headed further north to stay in Exmouth. There’s not much in Exmouth, aside from the emus that walk slowly around the town and seem particularly fond of standing in the middle of the main road looking at cars trying to get through. The town serves as a great spot from which to see the national park and to explore the string of beaches that run down the western edge of the park.
Due to its remoteness (Exmouth is 1270km north of Perth), the beaches are very quiet. In fact, we often found ourselves having the beach entirely to ourselves. An interesting feature of the park is that the Ningaloo Reef runs along the coastline. It’s so close that you can just grab your snorkel, mask and fins and swim right out to the reef from the beach without ever venturing into deep waters or strong currents.
We chose to fly to Exmouth from Perth, which turned out to be a bit pricey given the remote locale. Not sure there would be a next time, but if there is, we might instead choose make the 15 hour drive.
Over the last couple of days, I’ve been posting pictures of birds in Stanley Park in Vancouver. I wasn’t surprised to see all the birds in the park, but I wasn’t expecting to come across raccoons. I didn’t just see one or two, I saw at least a dozen, all travelling in little packs of two or three. They were clearly scavenging for food in the park. Judging by the squeals of delight from passing tourists when they saw the raccoons, I suspect it wasn’t too hard for the raccoons to beg for food.
When I was there, many people went right up to the raccoons to take pictures with their phones – not seemly aware that these are wild animals. Ontario is pretty clear about warning people to stay away from raccoons because they carry rabies. BC, on the other hand, says their raccoons are free of rabies. They happily report there are no recorded cases of raccoons found with rabies (except in 2004 when 4 raccoons in Stanley Park were found infected with bat rabies, but that doesn’t count ’cause it was a bats fault).
Wikipedia reports that a raccoons diet consists of 40% invertebrates, 33% plant foods, and 27% vertebrates. The ones that used to hang out in my back yard when I lived in Vancouver seemed to have a diet that mostly consisted of my garbage – preferably spread all around my yard.