More about Seals

Kangaroo Island is renown for it’s seals. The link here can explain the various types of seals that live around Australia.  I’ve read it often but I still get confused.

Nevertheless, the photograph below is a mother and pup which I  saw at Seal Bay. They were resting nearby the extensive boardwalks.

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Seal Bay is a wonderful place to visit. The education centre is very good and there are guided tours to the beach on a regular basis. This ensures people are supervised when checking out the seals. I was quietly impressed with the South Australian National Park authority.

 

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This is not a skeleton of a seal but a Humpbacked Whale.  Human visitors are not allowed to leave the boardwalks and explore the beach or dunes,  but the seals can and hence the tracks around the skeleton were made by the seals.

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Other Attractions at Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island is home to The Flinders Chase National Park which has some notable natural attractions.

Below is a remarkable rock.

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Actually there is a cluster of remarkable rocks and they’re called: The Remarkable Rocks. Made of granite, these old rocks are located on a rocky point in the Flinders Chase National Park

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The photo below with a group of tourist walking around the boulders effectively demonstrates the size of the Remarkable Rocks

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Below is not the Remarkable Rocks, it’s Admiral’s Arch. Once again some well made boardwalks lead the visitor to the entrance of the arch.  You can find the odd seal around the arch and they smell worse than our camper toilet.

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The lump on the sloping slab is a seal. We see more seals soon.

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I’ve Been to Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island is over 900 km from S.E Melbourne if you’re driving and the vehicle for this trip was a Britz campervan. The toilet was a little smelly but campervans are pretty good these days.

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This is the campervan in which we traveled.

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Being an island means, it’s surrounded by water and to get our campervan to the island requires a ferry. We weren’t the only people heading to Kangaroo Island, there was also an excavator.

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A little bit of reverse parking and we are off.

Beaches and Stone Houses

I like beaches.  As there isn’t a large population of people on Kangaroo Island, the beaches are still relatively natural. Below is a photograph of a beach near our first camp site. It’s very different to the beaches in and around Port Phillip Bay near Melbourne. What struct me is the vegetation grows out onto the beach which, is quite rare for beaches used by people.

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Something else we noticed in South Australia, is that they have many stone buildings. They would be cool in summer and they also sit nicely into the landscape.

The stone cottage below looks lovely but I’m guessing it’s rather cramped inside.

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One of the major attractions on Kangaroo Island are seals and there are many places where you can see seals in the distance. But one location that is effectively managed for allowing people to see seals up close is Seal Bay.

The extensive boardwalks at Seal Bay are very impressive. They are a great way to protect the dunes whilst still moving people down to the beach through the dunes.

 

Below is Pam, not a seal.

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It’s Snow

Yesterday I hiked up a mountain in the Victorian Alps with a younger friend. It’s not really a mountain when compared to other countries but for me,  it was big enough.

Ominously, it’s called Mount Terrible.

The adventure started Thursday night at Warburton’s hotel, the Alpine Retreat.  Below is the main street of Warburton taken early Friday morning.

 

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The Alpine Retreat has a Trivia contest on Thursday nights run by David Goding. Below is a photo of David going over submitted answers.  It’s thirsty work.

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Then Friday morning . . . . the climb.

I’m getting on in years and it was a struggle. Half way up, I pulled a muscle in my right leg and found the rest of the climb very difficult. As a result I did not take many photos on the way to the summit. . . . I was preoccupied with pain.

But after a few hours of dragging my crook leg and old body up a rocky track, we came close to the summit and snow.

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The conditions were perfect with blue skies and little wind. The view to nearby mountains was superb.

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Fortunately, walking down from the summit on another track was slightly easier and I discovered that different muscles are used when one descends. This was a positive. Going down there were marvelous views of the late afternoon sun.

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I will do more hiking with my “so called” friend but with conditions.

Nothing over 10 – 12 KM and no more mountains.

Full of Culture – Chockers

Today was my last planed day of birding. I visited the RSPB Arne reserve and picked up two new species. That’s 86 for the trip and that’s most likely the lot. It is acceptable but 100 would have been nice.

But first, outside my window at Swanage.


My Swanage accommodation is very good, it’s not a hostel but a fancy large hotel. There is also a pub down the road with vegetarian food. A nice way to end a trip.

Arne Reserve had a forest of Silverbirch, which were very neat but no new birds in there   😦


The photo above is a habitat classified as Heath and it generally doesn’t grow over 300 – 500 mm in height. My bag on the left demonstrates the height of the vegetation. I was lucky to see and identify Wood Lark here, which was good. It took a bit of research.
And now for the Culture.

Nearby Swanage are some castle ruins. I know when I return,  people are going to ask about churches and castles, so I figured I had better see at least one castle, or at least the ruins of a castle.


It’s called Corfe Castle and it’s more than 1,000 years old.  There’s not much left now but what is left is in a great location.  Top of a hill and a pretty little village nearby.

The two little Rectangle holes at the bottom of the wall is where the effluent leaves the castle. . .Yuck !

This is the nearby village where the people who serviced the castle lived. Some of the houses have thatched roofs.  There are very narrow streets and lots of tourists wandering around eating ice creams.

Last but not least, a tour group being led by a local. I hung about to pick up any hints on life back when the castle was a going concern but he, (the guide) wasn’t much good and the people were Americans. Need I say more.

But the sky was wonderful, the grass is bright green and ruins look inspiring.  Pity about the people.

That’s it for today and maybe the entire trip. For those reading, I hope you enjoyed my ramblings.

I return the car tomorrow, catch a train to London, spend a night there and fly out the next day.

It’s been a real adventure with great days, wet days, confusing roads, patient and hospitable people, inspiring reserves and brand new species of birds.

Oh . . . and it was chockers with culture.

Thanks for your comments and  Hasta La Vista . . . babies.

Rain, Sand, Roads and Signs

There was no birding today so nothing new for the list.  But I did drive from Wales to Swanage in Dorset and went for a walk along the beach . . . as you do.

But before I go on about Swanage, there is Wales.

Unfortunately it rained for much of my time in Wales and the birding was not so great but Wales is a lovely place with lots of forests and little villages.

The hostel where I was staying was located in Llanddeusant, situated in the Brecon Beacons National Park.


This hostel was once a pub for shepherds. It provided a place to stop whilst moving flocks of sheep over the mountains. It was built in 1789 and inside the layout was not great, it was noisy but comfortable. My accommodation in Swanage is much better but first let’s look out the window at Llandeusant.

Despite the Welsh rain, I walked to a nearby Red Kite feeding venue. Apparently the Red Kite population was down to a hand full of individuals in Wales but a guy called Mr Powell started feeding the Kites daily and numbers have increased. Mr Powell has passed away so more recently a Taxi Driver took it upon himself to leave Manchester and became the feeder of  Red Kites.

A lucky shot with a Red Kite flying past whilst meat is being dispersed.

I did visit a RSPB reserve nearby, (Gwenffrwd-Dinas) and whilst it was lovely, it constantly rained and there were not many birds.


I must be getting close to driving 1,000 km in the U.K. and I have partially worked out my own road classification system.

Motorways of which I don’t have a picture, but they are wide with many lanes and are fast.

Then country roads which have a speed limit of 100 km per hour. They are not so wide and don’t bypass villages. This can make traveling time slower than in Australia.


That’s my rental car parked on a major road passing through a Welsh village

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And then there are the smaller local roads on which you cannot easily pass other cars and in summer and spring the vegetation is thick and lush. They are more like an Australian driveway than a road.
Now Swanage,

A coastal town which is a little more upmarket than Scarborough and today being Sunday, had lots of tourists.  Their sand is whiter than Scarborough but it is imported and is being protected with many groynes. Not they groins located between the legs of footballers but thick wooden fences to stop sand moving away from where it’s wanted.


Swanage is located in Dorset and there are chalk cliffs at the interface with the ocean.  I’m guessing these are the same kind of white cliffs associated with the White Cliffs of Dover but I’m no expert.

There are fossils of shells which can be easily found in the chalk boulders.

Before we leave Swanage, they have some interesting signs. Next time I travel I’m going to take more photos of signs.


This beach is not all that dangerous but I guess kids in the UK can’t swim that well.  Poor little blighters.

Below is a charming area to have a picnic and I was about to lay down the blanket, break out a bottle of wine, cheese and crusty bread.  I particularly like the spot between the weeds and the steel steps but alas I couldn’t.


Below is a sign I saw at Minsmere. I find the image of a dead person rather gruesome but I’m sure it’s effective.


Back to birding tomorrow at the RSPB Arne Reserve.