Yukon wild

Yukon wild
Yukon wild

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A last post from Australia

We leave tomorrow to go to Dangar Island.  I am spending today tying up loose ends, one of which was having a closer look at koalas.  There is a woman in Uralla who belongs to an organization called WIRES (Australian Wildlife Rescue and Education Service) who keeps animals at her home and lets people come and see them.  She had 7 koalas and 22 wallabys, plus a goat – found as a newborn feral goat – and numerous birds.  Some of the birds are her own that she keeps for pets.  Of the koalas she said she will release four but the other three she won’t, one as it is too domesticated and the other two as they are blind.  The wallabys are all to be released but they are difficult to catch so she has to wait until the parks people can help her and she will give them a bit of sleeping potion on their food.  The goat will eventually go to live somewhere with other goats. 

IMG_7620  Bonnie

IMG_7623 A joey

IMG_7625 Bonnie and I making friends

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Wally – he is fully blind and likes to sit on the ground because of that.

IMG_7629 Matilda

My hubby had his first experience of texting yesterday.  He was in the car with our nephew, who was driving, when the nephew’s phone rang for a text coming in.  With detailed instruction from our nephew my hubby was able to read the text to him, which came from a female friend.  The instruction for responding did not get through as well.  Hubby was supposed to say ok and was told to push the m three times for o.  Instead he pushed the m three times and got mmm which he promptly sent off.  He then tried to correct his error but sent a second text which was blank.  At this point my nephew pulled over and sent the ok text.  Moments later there was a phone call from the perplexed young woman who received “mmm”, blank, “ok” and hubby had to explain that he is text – and almost totally cell phone – illiterate.

A few more shots from Armidale.  My niece, who has been home for a few days, hoeing the garden beds

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The chooks

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Beau, the border collie puppy

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and a shot that my sister got of the dolphin in Port MacQuarie

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Janet

Monday, March 17, 2014

Tasmania

We are back from our week in Tasmania.  It has been like going from a strange land to another strange land!  Charles Darwin opined about Australia that “Surely two distinct Creators must have been at work.”  Our trip started in Hobart, relatively tame but insightful for me as my triple great grandfather was a lieutenant governor there.  We had a private tour of the governor’s mansions public rooms; although my relative didn’t live in this house, he was in the former mansion which no longer exists.

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We stayed in the Old Wool Store apartment hotel, quite interesting

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and walked through the botanical gardens where my ancestor had a wall built by convicts. 

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The next day we went to the MONA, Museum of Old and New Art.  What an eclectic mix!!  Some fantastic modern art…

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And equally fascinating old…

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Then we were off to Cradle Mountain Natural Park, a whole new world where we saw more interesting animals and astounding vegetation…

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An echidna

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A pademelon

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A poteroo

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And a wombat ( he was huge, bigger than I expected anyway.  The size of a small pig)

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A skink (about 6 inches long)

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A black currawong

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Kookaburras

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And a Huntsman spider (non-venomous – about two inches across when folded up like this)

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Sometimes it felt like we were on a different planet…

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Now we are back in the relatively tame environs of Armidale.  The moon is full and we are relaxing for a couple of days.

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Janet

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Day 2 at the Coast

The morning air was filled with the shriek of birds.  My sister Susan said “I woke up when that bird was yelling “food, food”.  And indeed these birds, rainbow lorikeets, are the loudest birds we’ve heard.  Unfortunately I haven’t got a photo of them yet, but I will.  We had another dip in the waves on a different beach.  The waves here were rougher and more chaotic, but I took the boogie board out and had a couple of good rides.  It is definitely quite the workout too!  I’m not in this photo because I was snapping the camera, but I could have been.

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After we headed to the rainforest walk and had lunch at the restaurant there.  I ordered a smoked salmon Caesar.  Geoff had his second round of fish and chips – we had them for lunch the day before.  My salad came and I had a couple of bites, declared the salmon delicious, then noticed a long hair sticking out of the opposite side of the plate from where I had been eating.  When the waitress came by I said to her “there is a hair in my salad”.  She responded “What kind of hair?”  I must have looked confused because she then said “Is it light or dark?”  I said “It’s right here, so you can decide for yourself” and pointed it out to her.  She took my plate away and came back about five minutes later.  At that point she apologized about the hair and said they were making me another salad. 

The rainforest walk was fascinating!  So many different plants and trees.  I recorded and remember a few of them.  Since my friend Dahn was interested in palms, here is the Walking Stick Palm…

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And the cabbage palm….

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My favourite tree is the amazing Fig Strangler.  A seed for the plant alights in a branch of a host tree.  From there it puts down roots to the ground and grows branches above.  The fig doesn’t eat off the host but gets its own nourishment from its roots and branches, but eventually it does smother its host tree. 

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These trees were just beautiful.  There were also other plants which grew on host trees, again finding there own nourishment but perching on the other tree.

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Not the best picture but you get the idea.  The biggest excitement of the outing was the goanna which climbed a tree two feet away from us.  Again not the best picture.  He was moving fast and I was too excited to think about focusing… This fellow was about two yards long…

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Here we are having fun in the rainforest walk…

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Next we took a dinner tour in the harbour and river on a Chinese Junk.  And ate fish and chips.  The fish this time was perch and was grilled and it was my favourite so far.

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Canals have been built off the river and there are million dollar homes with million dollar boats parked in front.

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We saw dolphins in the harbour on our return trip but no pictures… they are much too quick.  Next was a stroll along the path on the water’s edge.  This bird captured our attention for quite a while…. a little Sherlock….

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We eventually decided he is a Black Bittern.  We have spent lots of time with the bird book on this trip.  So many new birds to identify!

The last excitement of the day was when cloud after cloud of bats flew overhead.  The show went on for about half an hour.

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We spoke later to a bat expert who told us these were blue-headed, black-headed and red-headed flying foxes, heading out to sea to feed.  Spectacular!  I slept well at the end of this day. :)

Janet

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The coast and the wine valley

We have had a fun week of camping and seeing a million new sights.  Everything is so new and interesting, it becomes somewhat overwhelming after a long day out and about.  I had a dentist appointment on Monday to fix the filling that broke off on Friday – and paid more than double what I would pay at home for the repair, although it is a “bang-up” job.  (I’m learning Aussie :)).  We left that afternoon to drive down to the coast.  Of course what with packing the car and getting all the last minute things together we didn’t get away until about 5 pm.  Plus we had to identify this snake we found outside the house.  Geoff bought a book of Australian snakes and we found out it is a small Marsh snake.

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We travelled through Uralla and Walcha (where we saw this great sign – Dahn you’ll agree that I should bring one home…)

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then down the Oxley Highway.  We decided to stop for the night in Wauchope, about twenty kms from Port MacQuarie as it was getting dark and drizzling.  The woman at the hotel we stopped at couldn’t believe we wanted to stop there rather than drive twenty more minutes to our destination, but we managed to convince her to rent us a couple of rooms.  We had dinner at the only open restaurant in town, Chinese food, which was excellent.  After a wonderful night’s sleep we headed off to Port MacQuarie in the morning and stayed at the Flynn’s Beach Caravan Park (for the uninitiated this is a camping area where there are some people who live long-term in motor-homes, they have small motor-home cottages for rent, or you can camp with or without power).  Here are the members of our greeting party… this lizard who is unidentified…

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And these Australian Brush Turkeys…

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After a walk on the beach and a swim (well really just a romp in the waves), we had lunch and fun watching the surfers and the birds…

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IMG_7175 Little Corellas (I think), a cockatoo

IMG_7179 A Masked Lapwing (notice the wattle)

IMG_7186 A Galah, another cockatoo.  The word galah is used to mean stupidity, but the birds are certainly pretty.

  In the afternoon we visited the Koala hospital.  We haven’t seen any of these animals in the wild, even though there are often signs indicating that they are about.  But they are nocturnal, and sleep in the trees during the day.  There is a terrible saga of these animals being killed for their fur, and losing their habitat through the removal of gum trees for pastureland.  They move very slowly and are rather cute.

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This is all for now as I am off to a craft fair.  But I’ll be back to tell you more about the trip later…

Janet