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Zooboy28 in Australia

Discussion in 'Australia' started by zooboy28, 25 Mar 2013.

  1. nanoboy

    nanoboy Well-Known Member

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    What's new? How are you spending your weekends these days?
     
  2. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    I've done quite a bit actually, although much of it includes repeat visits, etc, but I just haven't had time to write up anything much. I'll try and get some stuff up this weekend. Most of my recent weekends have been one dayers unfortunately, I've had to spend a lot of time in the lab and writing various things.
     
  3. nanoboy

    nanoboy Well-Known Member

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    Been anywhere interesting? Even a list is better than nothing.
     
  4. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Day One Hundred and Twenty-Seven to One Hundred and Thirty-Six

    8-17/8/2013. I haven’t managed to keep up with this as well as I had hoped to, so this update is rather compressed! We had two friends from New Zealand stay for ten days shortly after my trip to Brisbane, so I spent a few days with them, visiting various attractions, while on other days they explored the city and other places themselves.

    The first day exploring we visited Healesville Sanctuary (numbat!!! and managed to catch the bird show), Lilydale Lake, Mount Dandenong (first eastern spinebill - beautiful) and the William Ricketts Sanctuary (rather creepy sculpture garden).

    The second day involved a tour of Mornington Peninsula, starting with the Botanic Gardens at Cranbourne (spectacular and recommended), Coolart Homestead and Wetlands, Cape Schanck (rather bold fox out and about in the daytime), and then right down to Point Nepean National Park, where a shuttle bus took us along the wild coastal areas to the abandoned fort at the end (very interesting).

    The next day was another trip to the south-east, this time to Phillip Island. First was a tour of the chocolate factory, which was great, and then to the Koala Conservation Centre, one of four attractions that make up the Phillip Island Nature Parks (operated as a non-profit, but must rake in mega-bucks). The KCC holds a number of koalas in fenced woodland, and keeps some breeding animals in very nice enclosures, with many viewing opportunities from raised boardwalks. Koalas were introduced to the island in the 1870s and the population eventually became unsustainably high, but has since crashed. I’m not exactly sure if Koalas are bred for release here or what. There were also lots of wild birds and swamp wallabies in the park. I’m not really sure if this counts as a zoo, it does have captive animals displayed to the public, so I guess it is. Entry was a reasonable $11.30.

    From here we visited a few other scenic locations on the island (Rhyll Inlet, Pyramid Rock) and had lunch, before heading to the Phillip Island Wildlife Park. We then headed to the far end of the Island, where we visited the busy Nobbies Centre, which purported to be a great place to see seals and sea birds, although we only saw a couple of gulls. We then dropped our guests off to see the penguin parade, while we visited the nearby Swan Lake. This was a small reserve with a track leading through woodland to a pair of hides with views over a large lake. The reserve was packed with Swamp Wallabies and the lake covered with Black Swans. I also spied another new bird species here – the Grey Currawong.

    Another day was spent touring the Great Ocean Road, this was another repeat trip, but we did pack a bit more in, despite it only being one (very long) day. Which was rather drizzly. As well as the towns and beaches, we also visited a number of waterfalls, as well as Apollo Bay (Australian Fur Seals on the reef), Cape Otway (koalas, mob of grey kangaroos), and the Twelve Apostles and associated coastal landmarks. At the very last beach we stopped at, right on dusk, I saw a new bird, a Sooty Oystercatcher.

    The final day was spent at Werribee Open Range Zoo, where we spent an enjoyable few hours and had great success on the safari bus, seeing a couple of antelope species that hadn’t been spotted on our previous trip (lesser kudu, eland). There were also heaps of wild birds, with Magpie Goose being a wild first. And some massive ants! We then went next door to the Werribee Mansion, which was spectacular (wildlife-wise there were a good number of antelope heads mounted on the walls, an excellent collection of eggs, a hippo-head stool, and various other artefacts). The gardens and grounds were also beautiful, and highly recommended!

    New Species: Eastern Spinebill, Grey Currawong, Sooty Oystercatcher, Numbat.
     
  5. nanoboy

    nanoboy Well-Known Member

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    You saw more in 4 days than I see in a year! Well done!

    When next you get out to Phillip Island, do the tour to Seal Rock.

    You seem to be out west quite often, so it's about time you get your keys to the Western Treatment Plant so whenever you are down that way you can just pop in for a look.

    I am looking forward to going to the waterfalls on the Great Ocean Road to find that Pink Robin. You sure it wasn't a Flame or Scarlet Robin? :p
     
  6. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks!
    I will do that tour, it sounds good. Also keen to see the shearwaters when they are there breeding.
    I actually drove past the Western Treatment Plant last weekend (will post that update soon) and was kicking myself for not having the key then!
    I'm 99% sure it was a Pink Robin, as I also saw a Scarlet Robin an hour or so later, and that was quite different.
     
  7. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    eastern spinebills are great wee birds.

    I'm still waiting for your platypus sighting to occur.....
     
  8. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    I almost fell over wild Platypus in Tasmania. One trip I saw them about half a dozen times in different places.. Another trip with much less time I went straight to a likely spot one evening and again saw one within minutes of waiting. Not just glimpses either, keep reasonably quiet and you can watch them swimming/feeding and follow them. Amazing creatures to watch.
     
  9. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm surprised he hasn't found time to go to Tasmania yet. I mean, it's right there!!!
     
  10. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    I was most impressed with it!

    The platypus isn't likely to happen in the next few months, but hopefully later in the year or next year. I have got some exciting stuff happening in the next month or so though, stay tuned! (not quite as exciting as Mongolia mind you).
     
  11. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    hey've been advertising cheap fares on the ferry the last couple of weeks, $84 each way, costs the same for people and cars, but I don't think finances will stretch quite that far this year.
     
  12. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    I forgot to mention the biggest event of that period I just added - the David Attenborough show! Needless to say it was awesome, and well worth the money. He and the interviewer had an excellent raport and it was very watchable. Brilliant stories. They showed some great clips and discussed a lot of animals and famous sequences from over the years - from the Komodo Dragons on Zoo Quest, to Orcas on Life on Earth, to the Giraffes and Picathartes on Africa. It was just amazing. I bought the signed Birds of Paradise book too. :cool:
     
  13. nanoboy

    nanoboy Well-Known Member

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    We are crying over spilt milk because there is a half-price deal on now. It might come in handy for you since it is valid for some time and you could use it when you see the sheatwaters.

    OurDeal - Get up close to Australia's largest fur seal colony on a two hour Phillip Island cruise for two people. | Day Activities Daily Deals
     
  14. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Day One Hundred and Fifty-four

    4/8/2013. Having seen the numbat on my previous visit, I was keen to check it out again, so we drove out to Healesville Sanctuary on this overcast Saturday morning. On arrival, around 10.30 am, we headed over to the nocturnal house to see the 11 o’clock keeper talk. We got there a bit early, so checked out the exhibits, ending at the numbat enclosure. Already there was a middle-aged Asian tourist, likely a member of a tour group. Who was aggressively knocking on the glass. Why do they always do this? He stopped when we arrived, two seconds before the keeper walked around the corner and gave an angry spiel about how banging on the glass was bad. He wandered off. We didn’t see the numbat. But we did have a good talk with the keeper about the numbat and rest of the nocturnal house, which was great.

    It was a rather drizzly morning, so we spent a bit of time rushing between shelters. During one of these rushes, I saw a slightly odd looking raven perched on a water trough in the wallaby walkthrough. Odd in that it was blue and had a yellow bill. Turns out it was a male Satin Bowerbird, which was cool! We also saw a wild Eastern Yellow Robin – a species I hadn’t seen before.

    Leaving Healesville, we headed up Mt Dandenong, to the observatory point I had been a few weeks earlier (without my partner). It was less cloudy today, so we got quite good views of Melbourne. No spinebills though, although we did see a massive kookaburra on a low branch which was close enough to touch. We then drove over to the National Rhododendron Gardens, which were near the village of Olinda, still in the Dandenong Ranges. This is a free, and fairly large, garden, which we spent a couple of hours wandering around. Lots of flowers and plants, which were great, but very few birds. There is a “lyrebird gully” here, which is apparently a good place to spot this species, but we saw no sign of them. Great place to visit though!

    New Species: Eastern Yellow Robin.
     
  15. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    You list the Robin as a new species but not the bowerbird?

    :p

    Hix
     
  16. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Yup, the robin is a species I hadn't seen before (ever), while the bowerbird I have seen in captivity before, but not wild. Satin Bowerbird was recorded as a new species on Day One of this thread, when I saw it at Melbourne Museum. We also had a similar conversation at that time!
     
  17. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    you know what I started doing at the Beijing Zoo? (You might need to be a bit of a complete jerk to do this though). When I saw someone hammer on the glass next to, say, a golden monkey, I'd move up real fast and slam my hands together right next to their ear. Worked great for my mood :)
     
  18. nanoboy

    nanoboy Well-Known Member

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    Many zoos in Australia do not have "do not tap on the glass" signs on many enclosures. Is it fair, therefore, to expect visitors to not tap on the glass? I went to a pet shop yesterday and white Australians were tapping on the glass enclosure of the puppies. I guess people just want to get the attention of the animal - not saying it is right, but just trying to explain why it happens.
     
  19. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    it is a common practice, like whistling or clucking at an animal so it turns around. But Asians (no racism intended) really hammer on the glass, and really yell at the animals. Every single bit of glass at Beijing zoo has signs on it saying not to knock on the glass. Doesn't help.
     
  20. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    OK, I hadn't specifically noticed that (stickers on glass) here. I do think its fair to expect people to not bang on the glass, but putting signs up obviously makes that expectation clearer. Maybe someone should greet tour buses upon entry and make this point clear, but that probably wouldn't work either.