I thought I’d finish off my Dryandra posts with a few images taken in and around the wonderful Lions Dryandra Village– we’ve stayed here a few times and always been very impressed. The cottages were originally built to house the woodcutters working in the area, so they are lovely old buildings with creaky wooden floors and outside ‘dunnies’. Each cottage has an outside and inside fireplace – a plus for us as my husband loves being able to build a real fire (safely). The caretakers (Lisa and John) are very helpful and a fund of useful information; they do appreciate visitors who respect nature and the tranquility. If the cottages are full there is a DPaW campground at Congelin.
Numbat cottage at Dryandra
Eucalypt sunset silhouette
Kangaroos in the paddock
The cottage verandas face west, wonderful for sunset viewing across the paddock populated by Western grey kangaroos, with eucalypt forest in the distance. You don’t really need to move very far to see all sorts of interesting birds, like the very obliging male Red-capped robin shown below. Possums often make a night-time appearance and if you’d like to see more of Western Australia’s nocturnal marsupials the Barna Mia santuary is open some nights. Just dress warmly if you are visiting in winter. An early morning walk near the village should result in some close-up kangaroo sightings. There are plenty of other walks, good for wild flowers in spring and if you are really lucky you might see an echidna or a numbat (I’ve glimpsed a numbat once – would love a photo opportunity!).
The first time I stayed over at Rottnest I was there to help with a bird banding project – banding almost always involves early starts. The first morning I rode past the beautiful scenery and shorebirds, wishing I had time to stop with my camera. The second morning I arranged a little bit of time off – I think it was worth it to get such lovely light. My plan is to find a way to spend a whole week over there just taking photos, as the birding and scenery is so wonderful.
This cute little creature is a quokka, a small marsupial familiar to any visitor to Rottnest Island. ‘Rotto’, as it is affectionately known, is a small island off the coast of Perth, Western Australia. Reached by a ferry trip of about 1 hr or by private boat, Rottnest is popular for summer holidays and day trips. There are virtually no cars and most people get around on bicycles. I have found Rottnest to be a great place for photography; as is the case on many islands, the birds and other animals are much less skittish than usual. In fact, the quokkas often get too close!
The Rough and the Smooth
Curious Golden whistler female
Silver gull portrait
Rottnest is home to a couple of very attractive feral species – introduced birds that have ‘gone wild’. I think there is now only one peacock left on the island – he did look rather lonely. I saw a group of pheasants as well; I’m fairly sure this one is a young male bird.
Penguin Island is one of my favourite places to visit near Perth. It’s a bit of a drive from home south to Rockingham but then just a short ferry ride to the island, which forms part of the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park. Bridled Terns breed here in summer – it is an awesome experience visiting when they are in residence as they are so close and flying all around you.
The birds and other animals are so much more relaxed than on the mainland making it easier to get close to them (sometime they get too close). I would love to be able to get over to Penguin Island early to get the soft light but as the first ferry is at 9 am I may have to learn how to kayak (and be brave enough to take my camera!).
Pied oystercatcher probing wet sand
Room with a view – nesting Silver gull
Adult Crested tern pair
Snoozing Australian sea-lion
If you’re lucky you’ll spot a wild Little Penguin – the smallest penguin species, found on the southern coast of Australia and around New Zealand. In summer, you sometimes see a couple of penguins hiding under the boardwalks but most of them disappear early in the morning to fish all day, returning at sunset. The island is closed to visitors in winter when the colony (about 1000 pairs) gets into breeding mode. The Little Penguin below is a late fledgling I spotted in the middle of the day – he probably tired of waiting for his parents to return and decided to try fishing for himself. Hopefully he made it to adulthood.
Little penguin fledgling
Pair of Mute swans at Penguin Island
Another unusual sight I came across was this pair of Mute Swans in the sea near the jetty. Mute Swans are an introduced species in Australia; there is a breeding colony at Northam (about 100 km away) but this pair were seen in the Rockingham area for a while.