Sunday, September 21, 2014

Bushwalking in John Forrest National Park, A stroll along Swan River and an outing in Kings Park

Those WA trips always ends up being fairly action packed, with a good variety of things to do. I keep treasuring the chance of having a walk in John Forrest National Park. It is just a genuine, good, honest WA national park wedged in between a highway and ever expanding real estate - no super exotic wildlife or stunning waterfall - just dry lovely scented Australian scrub and the possibility of seeing a little wildlife. Happy about the photo above! The shutter speed was quick enough to get the eye of the Brown Honeyeater good and sharp and making the bird stand still in the air, and slow enough to allow movement of the wings and make it all look alive - Pure luck! :-) I have read quite a few blog and forum posts on how to perfect this type of shooting. For birders it seems particular well developed/described for the purpose of taking in flight stills of Hummingbirds, which due to the higher frequency of their wing beat increase the challenge. Above I wrote "no super exotic wildlife", however, the level of exotic depends, as always, on what you are used to and for a kid as I living in Sydney (at the time) something like a Red-capped parrot will trigger some celebration and a few clicks on the camera. Red-capped Parrot is not a rare bird at all, as long as you are in the south west corner of WA, elsewhere it is super rare! For some reason this bird had eluded me on all my previous visits to WA - at least, I had never been sure enough to actually claim to have seen it - this time around we saw two, male and female, both of the photos above are of the male. Otherwise Perth was delivering all the usual stuff. Black swans on the river, a pod of dolphins playing around in the waters of Matilda Bay and an excellent variety of blooming bottlebrushes, Callistemon, in Kings park. All very common daily happenings for those Perthians.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

SW WA Inland Forest - Shannon National Park Area

Still a bit behind with the blog, but I have had a few weeks of holiday and a fair bit of photo selection and editing has been going on. So once again, I will dare to say that there should be more (old) news arriving at these pages fairly soon. I will look into the possibility of being much more ruthless and cut closer to the bone when publishing my ramblings, so who knows, I might catch up at some point in the next few years. Inland the south western corner of WA is not too shabby either! Great rain fall and protected from the wind, it feels like you can grow anything there in great volumes. We had some close encounters with a wonderful tightly packed walnut tree full of fresh nuts. Very different in taste from the dried version, which I have consumed during long dark Christmas nights in Denmark - A little search on the internet reveals that it should be fairly simple to grow a walnut tree in Denmark ... slightly harder to make it bear fruit, but probably worth a try(?) Going into winter is not the optimal time for birding the inland forest of SW WA. However, trees are much more reliable than the feathered inhabits and of all places, this probably the best place to see many of the hugely impressive eucalyptus species at their finest, in particular the Karri, Eucalyptus diversicolor, native to the area. A few birds were around though and they seemed fairly relaxed about my presence. I am particular happy with the bird in flight shot of the (White-tailed) Black-Cockatoo and the close up of the Scarlet Robin.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

D'entrecasteaux National Park and Windy Harbour - A quick WA escape

Another set of photos from some lovely days visiting WA. The south western corner of Australia manages to produce great holidays all year around. Going towards an Australian winter, there is not a place much better for some wind and vistas. In particular, I find the beaches down around Windy Harbour and D'entrecasteaux National Park simply stunning.

A low setting sun gives a fantastically warm, lovely light that is well worth a few shots and some photo stitching. I am fairly pleased with the outcome of the first pano in this post, and equally disappointed about the last one - these two panos were shot with only a few minutes between, but very different light. Click the various photos to be taken to high(er) resolution versions of them.

There was a decent number of waders hanging out at windy harbour. I guess a name like that does not necessarily attract hordes of tourists longing for long strolls along a wind blown beach, and indeed that day windy harbour lived up to its name and those birds seeking refuge at the beach had very few visitors to keep an eye out for.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Wentworth Falls in the wet

Rainy weather and still up for some tramping? Danes are not too scared of getting a bit wet, if we were, we would end up sitting inside our houses waiting for better weather most of our lives - at least true for the Danes having decided to use most of their lives back home in good old DK.

This "not too scared" approach has gotten me into some epic wet walks with Jarrod, who seems to have a even more extreme joy for feeling miserable, wet, lost and cold while tramping the Australian wilderness

Hence, it was not a big surprise that Jarrod was keen to come along for a bit of waterfall spotting in Wentworth Falls after a few weeks of big rain in the Blue Mountains. All that rain had secured record amounts of water in the falls and we were both keen to see the Wentworth fall at its best .. even with the forecast predicting more rain. From the beginning it all looked like a terrible idea. We used the first little hour walking along the Charles Darwin Walk towards the fall in heavy rain and misty conditions - no wildlife, no visibility and no dry clothes. Arriving at the falls, at first, we still did not have much visibility, but the roaring sounds of the fall was pretty impressive. I have seen the falls during a dry Australian summer as not much more than a trickle, the falling water hardly being able to make it to the bottom of the valley beneath, since most of the water evaporated into the dry hot air. Needless to say that waterfalls are more impressive when full of water - Our trip suddenly started to make sense. Standing at the top of the falls, we realized that luck was on our side, it had stopped raining, a breeze had found a way into the valley and the clouds surrounding us slowly began to lift - revealing some of the prettiest views I have had in Australia - A proper goosebumps moment! It is unfair to try to pack all that greatness into a 400 pixel wide photo and clicking to go to the higher resolution version only helps a little. Being wet, tired and having used three hours to get to the top of the falls also helped in making it all feel a little special - even the takeaway pie and coffee seemed to taste better that afternoon, how lucky can you be?..!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Warrumbungle National Park - Grand High Tops Walk - Road trip with Danish visitors - Part 6

The Grand High Tops Walk is one of the best walks I have done in Australia! It is mentioned in my good old "Walking in Australia - 60 Great Walks" book. The beauty of the Warrumbungle National Park is that it has it all, including some spectacular vistas. Alfred J. Pincham donated some very pretty country side - probably not the worlds best farmland, but pretty indeed.
Once again I will have to excuse the ridiculously large delay between when I actually experienced the events described in my blog post and when I managed to get it online. Our Warrumbungle trip was from before the terrible fires that ravaged Warrumbungle National park earlier in the year. Hopefully, the flora and fauna in the park will once again show its resilience towards fires and manage to spring back to glory much faster than what anyone expect.
Great views and the iconic rock formation known as "The Breadknife" located approximately a third of the way into the walk, easily justify the uphill struggle you have to endure during the first part of the walk. The "razor" thin vertical rock formation is pretty special indeed.

Having been amazed by standing at the base of the breadknife itself, it only gets better when continuing the walk. As you wind your way up the mountain, you get increasingly impressive views, of the breadknife in particular.

Halfway through the tour it is mandatory to sit for a while "on top of the world" and just be amazed by the spectacular volcanic landscapes surrounding you. Ancient old volcanic "cores" have been left standing while the landscape around them have eroded away. Creating a varied rough green landscape with huge bare brown-black domes scattered around breaking all the greenness. Fantastic views - That day, sitting there in Warrumbungle looking at all that prettiness, was the day I decided to invest in a wider lens, 50 mm did just not cut it! - I know, I can stitch photos together, but there is something special in being able to catch it all in one go.

There was good wildlife along the way. In the forest part in the beginning of the walk was a good selection of birds, nothing breathtakingly exciting, but nice to have some winged companions around during the walk.
Warrumbungle National Park is a well visited park and the walking tracks are constantly busy, hence birds are very familiar with us humans roaming around in their habitat. This allowed me to get fairly close to a number of birds and get some decent close-ups. Like for the Double-barred Finch and Red-Browed Finch below: In the rockier upper part of the walk we very treated with numerous sightings of White's Skink, Egernia Whitii. Wikipedia mention that "It is highly variable", which the three photos below will support, note that color is by all means a poor identification method for this skink, but the spots is the give away.
Also a Copper-tailed Skink, Ctenotus taeniolatus, was out to enjoy the heat and despite of not seeing any new birds and the sad lack of a snake sighting, we could have hoped for no more.

All in all a fantastic road trip with my Danish visitors! Gundabooka National Park and Warrumbungle National Park is a great combination for a display of some Australian nature. One being dry, red and dusty and the other sporting green forest, old brown volcanoes and fantastic walks - as mentioned above Warrumbungle burned earlier in the year, but I am sure it will soon be worth visiting again.