Archive for the 'animals' Category

you thought 9 months was long…

Visiting the Australian sea lion colony at Kangaroo Island was a unique highlight, as are the sea lions themselves. Did you know adult females are continually pregnant, except for the week after giving birth? And pregnancies last 17 months. Imagine the hormones! Also, after three days at sea hunting, during their three day resting period they can shelter up to a kilometer inland, proving that despite their slug-like appearance they are remarkably agile climbers. Amazing.

We were lucky to see a mother emerge from the ocean and call her pup who came tearing down from the dunes near us, glad to see her and very hungry. Wonderful.

baby sea lion rolls over  baby sea lion twister

It was pretty special to be so close to them, although I’m not convinced the many guided beach walks each day aren’t a factor in their declining population rate. Imagine you were trying to sleep recovering from a three day marathon and groups of people kept walking through your bedroom all night, albeit respectfully. Something to keep in mind. Fortunately there’s a boardwalk only option which gives them plenty of space, and if you’re lucky some may be close by anyway.

Kangaroo Island also hosts a large fur seal colony, also marvellous. Massive creatures, it was astonishing how some managed to arrange themselves on the narrowest of seemingly inaccessible ledges. Watching two rolling around in a large pool area was mesmerising. No photos unfortunately.

roadkill…

By roads on Kangaroo Island in South Australia there’s plenty of roadkill but one stood out with it’s large gleaming barrel of white ribs picked clean. It occurred to me, I don’t recollect in all my travels in Australia ever seeing roadkill skeletons, it’s always cadavers in varying stages of furry decay and levels of squashedness.

Of course, as per usual I’m not the first to wonder why. The font of all knowledge, Google, informs me for our driving pleasure and safety local councils or road authorities regularly clear roadkill away for burial. Thank you to those people, your service is appreciated.

It also occurred to me it’s odd I’ve never pondered this before and how many other curiosities are in my conceptual blindspot? Hmm… We take so much for granted.

roadkill kangaroo

a tiny, doomed miracle…

Today at the Great Ocean Road’s Johanna Beach it turned out someone’s pretty beach decoration was in fact a precious circle made by caring hearts to help protect two tiny eggs laid out in the open by a little bird that’s understandably rare, considering. After I walked away we were lucky enough to see a member of Victoria’s precarious hooded plover population hot foot it back to its ‘nest’ which was anything but that, just a small indentation in the sand. Go well courageous soul.

tiny eggs

hooded plover sitting on its eggs - cropped

hooded plover sitting on its eggscircle of protection

How to kill a march fly every time (*#&^@!!!!!!)

A large march fly taking a rest at Dinner Plain, Australia. I didn't kill this one.

A large march fly taking a rest at Dinner Plain, Australia. I didn’t kill this one.

Recently I was away at the coast where Australian march flies (or horse-flies as they’re known elsewhere) were making their summertime presence felt. Then we went to the mountains where they were in even greater numbers and double the size of their coastal relatives!

Females of the species must feed on blood in order to reproduce, unfortunately for us (this has a cool name – anautogeny). Their bites hurt and can result in a large painful swelling that lasts days.

March flies are tenacious and will keep on trying. However, if you keep walking so it can’t land eventually it will give up and go away. That said, we can’t be moving all the time so a survival strategy is necessary.

Fortunately for my holiday companions, I have experience dealing with these critters. And now I pass on my skills to you too!

Important to keep in mind

  • These buggers can bite you through your clothes, so covering up totally may not help and is impractical anyway in summer (unless you’ve bought into the hardcore hiker lifestyle of course).
  • March flies make lots of noise on their approach, so you’ll know when one is near and can prepare. They sound sort of like a bee, but not really.
  • Remember to keep an ear out for them, as you won’t feel it on your skin when one lands.
  • Most importantly, a march fly needs to be in a state of total concentration before sucking your blood.

How to kill a march fly every time – step by step

  1. When you hear or see a march fly near you, it’s vital you DO NOT PANIC! Don’t swat at the fly, don’t do a little go-away-nasty-fly-dance. Instead, allow it to land on you. Yes. Land on you.
  2. It will settle on you and start to concentrate deeply, channeling its inner bloodthirstiness.
  3. You now have a window of opportunity while it is concentrating to kill it. Wait two or three seconds after it lands and stops moving, then slap it hard with the flat of your hand! Bingo – dead. Easy. You may need to use some trial and error to establish the ideal wait time – too long and you may feel the start of the sting, too soon and it will scoot away.

Good luck!

 

(Apologies to the animal lovers out there. I love animals too, but these ones, well it’s them or me and I’d rather it was them thanks.)

Bruny Island seals… smelly!

At the end of a fairly gruelling ‘cruise’ along the cliffs of Bruny Island we arrived where the seals live which made it all worthwhile. Majestic, bizarre and most curiously scented 🙂

ants take advantage of the spider’s web…

…bug gets it.

ants take advantage of the spider's web... bug gets it.


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