Friday, December 4, 2009

South-West of Western Australia - Day Two - Valley of the Giants

The Tree top walk consists of a 420 meter long walkway lifted up and suspended between the Red Tingle treetops taking the visitors into a part of the forest not usually accessible.

The Red Tingles are absolutely fantastic trees, they do "only" grow to about 75 meters in height, but manage to build an enormous trunk with circumference up to 20 meters at the base! At the same time they are endemic to the area around Walpole and hence there is no way around it - if you want to see the great tingles and the animals living in this very specialized habitat you have to make your way to the south end of WA, Walpole-Nornalup National Park.

The Tree Top Walk continues into what is called The Ancient Empires Walk taking the visitors into another part of the Valley of the Giants, where you are not only walking in between the tingles, but actually walk through one of the giants :-)

As always; when you visit new, weird and wonderful habitats you are very likely to encounter equally exciting residents. Running around on the path in front of us was one of these wonderful small feathered inhabitants.

Red-winged Fairy-wren - not too shabby ;-)
During the Tree Top Walk we had seen a White-tail Black-Cockatoo. Problem was that I had not managed to get a good enough picture to determine if it was the Short-billed or Long-billed species - indeed even with a picture it can be difficult since, as the names suggest, you can more or less only identify them by looking closely at their bill or recognizing their call. It was a bit sad to have probably seen this very rare bird (the long-billed species) and not being able to tick it, but we had to leave the valley and start to consider heading towards the next destination of the day. Luckily hunger had struck and we decided to stop for a picnic not too far from the forest. Suddenly while preparing for lunch the unmistakable call from a cockatoo sounded and I reached for the Bigma and spun around - there flying along the road straight at us came two large black birds with white tails and longish beaks :-)

Long-billed Black-Cockatoo
Have a few picture that better shows the elongated beaks, but I like the wing position on the one above.
Update! Ah, well I should probably add the picture of the beak.

When I started with the camera I actually did not feel that it was an advantage. It was hard getting a usable picture and in the field the binoculars gave much better magnification. However, today I would be very sad not to have the camera, the picture above being a good example. Two birds passing ca. 20 meters away, giving you a maximum of 5 seconds of view and you have to evaluate bill length to a accuracy of less than 1cm ... I like auto-focus and the possibility of freezing the moment under such conditions! :-)

No comments: