Saturday, 11 October 2014

Promises, promises

I am going to have to stop making promises that I can't keep. As I said last post the hope was to bring you some outstanding mammal photographs this week. Well turns out that wasn't quite right. Saturday just gone saw us a family, my wife, son and I head off around 3.30 in the morning to meet up with a friend of my son who lives in Hervey Bay a few hours north of the Sunshine Coast. The plan was for a full days whale watching aboard one of the smaller vessels that works that area. The first two photos are of a couple of the local birds which were hanging around the boat as we were waiting to cast off. Arguably the two most interesting photos that I took all day although I didn't know that at the time. As we cruised out of the harbour the skipper informed us that as this was the last whale watching day of the season we probably wouldn't get to see too much whale action and if we did they might not be all that active. turns out he was right although that information given at the time of booking might have been a little more useful. Anyway we did see two whales a mother and a very small late season calf and they were quite happy to spend a fair amount of time at the surface, though mum was obviously conserving her energy for the long swim south.
A view of Fraser Island in the distance on the way out to Platypus Bay.
The whales. Despite the fact that we were some distance from them most of the time and they made no effort to approach the boat it was still an awe inspiring experience to come that close to some of the most magnificent creatures on the planet.

On the trip back to the marina we stopped for a very short time on one of the beaches along the western side of Fraser Island. I would have liked to have had a lot more time to explore here but that wasn't to be.

As there was to be a mammal theme for this post and the fact that I did not see a single reptile or amphibian all weekend I thought that I should probably dig out a few old shots to attempt to make things a little more interesting.
A couple of Humpbacks showing a bit more interest a few years back.

Local Red-legged Pademelons (apologies for the red eyes).

Local Grey-headed Flying Foxes. These guys were roosting in a large group of both Grey-headed and also Black Flying Foxes. Unfortunately in Australia Flying Foxes have become one of the most despised and mistreated native animals that I can recall apart from snakes of course. Correct me If I am wrong but I believe that science has dis-proven the theory the virus they were thought to spread to humans via horses begins in and can only be transmitted by these creatures. The real reason that most people hate them is that a colony close by homes can reduce the real estate values and the virus was the perfect excuse to wipe them out.
I find it strange that we can justify the destruction of the natural world on a grand scale for the betterment of mankind and then complain bitterly when the displaced native creatures attempt to survive in whats left of their habitats. What we all need to come to terms with and very quickly I feel is that once we as a species of animal have exerted our dominance to the point where nothing much else can survive we have effectively signed our own death warrants in the process. It's not called the web of life for nothing!
A Fawn-footed Melomys. A rat like native rodent that appears to be quite common here in the hinterland.
This one fell into one of our feed barrels in the shed whilst foraging.
This Koala spent most of the day perched in a dead tree only a few meters from the ground and less than thirty meters from my home a few months back. It is a truly humbling experience to be able to share our property with such wonderful creatures.
A Ring-tailed Possum.
An Echidna. This fella was on the road out west a few years back. Most of the animals we see locally appear to be smaller, and are becoming increasingly uncommon.
The other Australian monotreme, the Platypus. This guy was photographed at dawn in the Broken River west of Mackay a few years ago.
Once again I am at the end. Talk to you again soon. No promises this week lets play it by ear.

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