Saturday, September 12, 2009

Wildlife and Warrnambool

Well we pulled in to Warrnambool a couple of hours before sunset. The first thing we did was head up to Logan’s Beach to see what sort of show the whales were putting on.
That sounds casual doesn’t it? In our limited experience it really is that easy to see whales at Warrnambool. What is special here is that while Southern Right Whales come to many places all along the South Western Coast of Victoria to calve, there is a group of females who consistently return to Warrnambool every year.

On this afternoon there were a number of whales fairly close inshore. One calf in particular was especially frisky and put on a good show.He/she was breaching half way out of the water and splashing back down on his/her back.
From Logan’s Beach we went into town and checked into our hotel. Then as the sun began to set I went for a stroll to see what the evening light would reveal. The war memorial gardens in Warrnambool are high and look out over the lagoon, foreshore and harbour. I thought this photo was worth posting because it captures the evening light beautifully.
Then I spotted this little fellow.
A New Holland Honeyeater.

Named for the old Dutch name for Australia, they have the odd distinction of being the first Australian bird to be scientifically described. They are quite common, but are a bit hard to photograph because they are very active.
He was flitting all over the place, but with a little patience I got this rather nice shot.
I am not sure what the flower is, a Hebe maybe?

The following morning we headed back east along the Great Ocean Road, turning off to look at Childers Cove which we did not see last time we came this way.
The country here is covered with depressions, I suspect caused by small sinkholes in the underlying limestone.
Many of them fill with rainwater run-off to make little ponds. On this one a black swan was nesting. They collect vegetation to build a platform in the water, where they lay their eggs.

Initially not being very photogenic it popped its head up for a look after I made a bit of noise.

We came down to Childers Cove, which like so much of this coast, is worth a photo or two.
In this second photo there are a couple of Australian Shelducks.
I’ve blown them up for you here.Shelducks are quite large, about halfway between most other duck species and geese in size. Unusually for ducks these guys usually nest in holes in banks and cliffs.

Next: I get nearly as boring as Uncle Harry


Kathleen Jones said...

Loved the pictures of the whales - what a coincidence! I've just read Leviathan and put a few whale pics up on my book blog. So whales are definitely in this week! You are so lucky to be able to see so much wildlife close up.

Heather G. said...

Such beautiful pictures, Al! I think Glee Club is also known as Show Choir. I never had a glee club either...

image_of_purity said...

i just love your you really could see the whale from the shore?

Al said...

I don't know Kathleen, first herons, now whales! We'll have to argue it's a case of great minds think alike!

Hi Heather, Thanks for the complement. So a Glee club is sort of like a cheer-leading choir?

Hi Image,
Thanks for the complement! Yes the whales were only about 50 to 60 metres from the shore last time the whales were even closer.

Lisa said...

Spectacular photos! I'm so jealous of the whales; it's one of my life dreams to see whales.

Al said...

Thanks Lisa,
It is a great feeling watching whales, and we are spoilt here in Victoria. Where would you have to go to see whales? California or the East Coast?