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Mini Road Trip

As I mentioned in a previous post, Mum and I recently took a little road trip to Bunbury  for some much-needed rest and relaxation.  It was nice to get away for a couple of days, with no schedule to follow, no work to get through, and no dramas to stress us out.  It was such a lovely weekend and I think we both really needed it.

The weather was, unfortunately, pretty dreadful.  Cold, wet and miserable.  In the middle of Summer we had torrential rain, flooding and ridiculously cool temperatures.  It was so cold, I had to buy some extra warm clothes and shoes once we got to our destination.  I had planned on spending many hours at the beach (our favourite little motel is located metres away from the Ocean) but the weather was just too inclement.  We did have one afternoon where the sun shone for a few hours, and we were able to go beach-combing at Hungry Hollow and collect some lovely shells, have a paddle and soak up some rays.

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Sunshine at last!

I love the variety of shells at Hungry Hollow.  I try to take the ones I think won’t be used by  sea creatures for their homes or other purposes.  I like to collect the broken, smooth pieces of shell and any that have that gorgeous oil-slick colouration (mother of pearl to everyone else on the planet, I guess) on the inside.  I have great plans for the shells but then end up just keeping them because they’re so pretty and I can’t bear to use them.

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Nature’s Artwork

While the weather was fine we also visited the Bunbury Wildlife Park.  We’ve been there before and have been very impressed with the way the animals are cared for and housed, and how the kangaroos, in particular, have “quiet zones” where they can escape from the crowds.  It’s so important for animals in captivity to have places they can go to when they want time out.  They shouldn’t have to be on display all the time if they don’t want to.  The roos at the Wildlife Park seem very relaxed though.  They follow you around and come up to you for food and enjoy a good scratch on the chest or under their chins.

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Kangaroo – boop my nose!

I do love kangaroos.  Having had one as a child for a short period of time, I love their gentle nature.  Of course, the bigger males can be quite aggressive and dangerous at times (usually when a human being is getting too close or basically being an idiot) but the inhabitants of the park are all very calm and friendly.  I like to see them so un-stressed and chilled out.  They don’t even startle when a group of noisy children come in, which to me means they are not anxious or have any need to be afraid.  Do I wish they were out in the wild?  Yes, of course.  But these parks are also important for teaching people about native fauna and how we need to look after them and protect them.  Many of the critters in the park are orphans, hand-reared after their mothers were killed on the road, in dog attacks, and other accidents.

I love getting up close with them.  My Mum was a bit more nervous than I (she was attacked, rather badly, by a large roo, years ago when I was child) and so didn’t get right in their faces like me, although she did feed them and give them a pat.  But I have always been annoying and like to get right in the middle of the action ha ha.  I wouldn’t do it if they were weren’t so calm and friendly.  One of them actually grabbed my arm and pulled me back in when I stopped scratching his chest 🙂

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Photo-bombing!

Another lovely little spot we visited was Mulberry House.  Just gorgeous.  Pretty things to buy and look at – room upon room of vintage-inspired treasures, in a 1900s building.  Each room is themed and just so delightfully arranged with floor-to-ceiling goodies.  You can also have afternoon tea there (we didn’t indulge this time) and enjoy some home-baked cakes and other treats.  My Mum ended up buying some lovely fat quarters in beautiful country/cottage colours – pale pinks, greens and cream.  If you’re visiting Bunbury, be sure to pop in here – you won’t be disappointed.

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I’ll have one of everything, thanks!

This is a bit random, but I had to show a pic of this beautiful Crepe Myrtle, standing proudly outside a small antique store.  How gorgeous is it???  I can’t believe how bright that pink is.  It was almost TOO bright to look at.  I’m glad the sun came out long enough for me to take this photo.  It wouldn’t have looked so spectacular if it was bedraggled and dripping with rain (which I would also have been, most likely).

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Crepe Myrtle.  Ridiculous show off.

So, a lovely, relaxing trip that recharged our batteries and gave us some respite from life.  I’m looking forward to going back again later in the year, if I can.  Which probably means more kangaroo cuddles.  If I’m lucky 🙂  (and the kangaroos, less so, ha ha!).

Thanks for stopping in – hope you’re having a happy day x

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Brilliant Birdies

Brilliant Birdies

Well, it’s Sunday again already.  Sigh.  Monday morning follows Sunday evening, inevitably, and it is a very sad fact indeed.  I have basically bogged about at home today, doing lots of laundry (as the weather was very hot and sunny), sorting out my wardrobe, finishing off some jewellery for a friend, and faffing about in general.  I did go for a walk as I am currently disgusted with my weight and overall plumpness (when am I not?) so at least I got out for some fresh air and exercise.  I also did some drawing in my art journal which is turning out to be just a doodling journal, but that’s ok.

Here’s a few more pics from my recent trip to the South West.  Bunbury Wildlife Park has some beautiful birds – you can enter the enclosures and walk around with them.  if you’re lucky they will come and eat from your hand.  The majority of them were quite happy for you to be close to them.  They’re so used to people, they’re not at all fussed if you’re there or not.

This first little guy was so cheeky.  Look at his face!  His plumage was so bright and colourful.  I believe (ie I am mostly guessing) he is an Eastern King Parrot.  Very royal indeed 🙂

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Red Tailed Black Cockatoo.  This fellow was very interested in the honky nut he was chewing on.  They have very powerful beaks – you don’t want your finger anywhere near it.  I have handled them before, in my years as a vet nurse, and they actually make very calm, gentle patients.  They are quite beautiful, especially when in flight.  Much of their population has dwindled due to the destruction of their natural habitats.  Very sad.

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These funny-looking birds are Bush Stone Curlews.  I’m pretty sure these ones were alive.  They didn’t move much so I could be wrong.  Their call is likened to a “shrieking woman” (how very gender-specific and un-pc!).  These two were chillin’ in the sunshine.

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This odd-looking chap is a Tawny Frogmouth, so-called because of their large mouth which looks a bit like, um, a frogs.  They are also Tawny in colouration.  Otherwise they would be called something else.  Spotty Frogmouths, Ginger Frogmouths, that sort of thing.  But they’re Tawny, hence the name.  Sorry the photo isn’t very good – he wouldn’t turn around.  Snobby Frogmouth might be more appropriate.  Their main method of defence is to stand stock still and act like a dead piece of wood.  I have known humans like that.  Ahem, moving on!

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A Southern Boobook Owl.  Very cute.  It is the smallest and most common owl in Australia.  I didn’t tell him he was common.  That would have been impolite.

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I believe this is an Eclectus Parrot.  Stunning bird.  Beautiful colouration.  This is a male – the females are bright red (fancy!).  Both have a loud, raucous call but apparently make awesome pets.  But not good neighbours.

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A group of Australian Shelducks.  A pretty common sight in many parts of Australia.  I actually raised a pair of these many years ago (a mother duck decided to leave her babies in our swimming pool) and they are lovely birds.  Very handsome with their bright copper breast and flash of green on the wing.  The females have a white ring around their eyes and base of their bill.  The males are quite a bit larger and just have the pristine white ring around their necks.  Very dapper.

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Emus.  If you look closely, there are actually two birds here.  I created a marvellous optical illusion with my impressive camera skills!  Not really – one emu just ducked his head down when I took the photo.  My Mum attempted to feed one of them, with some grain in her hand.  She nearly lost her hand.  Oh how we did laugh!  Emus are not particularly aggressive or nasty, but it is difficult for them to peck lightly or softly on a human hand.  Let that be a lesson to you. 
Better to just chuck the food and step back.

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I think this is a Musk Lorikeet.  I prefer to call it a “Little Green Parroty-bird I Don’t Know the Name of”.  Bright green feathers with scarlet/orange on cheeks, beak and forehead.  Not very good at putting their makeup on apparently. 

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Pacific Black Ducks.  I think.  I actually came across a family of them the other night when I was out walking.  Nearly trod on the newly-hatched ducklings that were running about all over the sidewalk as the Mother tried to get out through a hole in the fence. They had hatched inside the grounds of the zoo and now Mummy Duck had obviously forgotten that she is actually able to fly over the fence.  The ducklings were zig-zagging all over the place.  I was able to catch them but not the mother, so had to leave them all to it.  I did contact the zoo however, and they said they would look out for them.  I worried though! 

This pair at the Wildlife Park were pretty friendly and happy to come up for some food. 

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After visiting the park, we travelled down to Balingup to the Lavender Farm (see HERE for my previous post).  Lots of birdies there, but my Mum was delighted to see her most favourite of all, the Splendid Fairy-Wren (or Blue Wren).  Ridiculously pretty, the blue on these little birds is AMAZING.  Electric blue.  This particular fellow was flying close to us as he kept catching sight of his own reflection in a nearby window.  In non-breeding season, they are dull in colour, mostly brown with bit of blue on their tail and wings.  Still very pretty though, and always a welcome sight, whatever the season.

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Last, but not least, we have this cheeky chap.  He was very bolshy and brave, practically landing on my foot as he flew down to check us out.  I am trying to decide whether he is a White-Cheeked Honeyeater or a New Holland Honeyeater.  Both have very similar markings and habits.  Let’s just say he is a Honeyeater of some description and leave it at that.  I have lots of these in my garden at home too.  They are cheerful and cheeky little birds that love my Grevillea plants.  Always happy to have birdies in my garden 🙂  Unfortunately they are also a favourite of neighbourhood pussy-cats. 

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Well, that is the end of my shoddy ornithological report.  I love wildlife of any kind.  We are so lucky to have them in our gardens and parks.  We should take better care of them.  And maybe find out what they’re called before we write a blog post about them *looks sheepish again*.

Have a happy, chirpy day everybirdy 🙂

Kangaroo Pause

Kangaroo Pause

I am so behind in posting this…  Last week, I took my Mum and her UK friend down South for a few days.  I was determined that Betty (Mum’s friend)  would see some Australian wildlife and countryside.  I’ll talk about the trip itself, and other stuff we did, in future posts but, for now, this one is about the lovely kangaroos we were lucky enough to meet at the Bunbury Wildlife Park.  I’m not usually in to the whole “meet-and-greet” scenario at animal parks.  Mostly because I feel it puts undue stress on the animals, especially if their enclosures do not allow them to “escape” from people or have hiding spots.  Kangaroos in particular do not respond well to stress.  However, at this particular park, I felt that the majority of the critters and birds were able to get away from people if they wanted to and had plenty of hiding spots and off-limits areas where they could chill out in solitude if they wanted to, have a siesta in the sun, or just be unsociable, if that’s what they felt like being.  That put my mind at rest somewhat.

Besides that, I really LOVE kangaroos and desperately wanted to pat one.  We had one when I was a child (it sadly did not survive into adulthood) and my Aunt has several on her property that are tame, so it’s not like I’ve never been close to them.  But it is always nice to be able to touch and see them up close.  They are such beautiful, gentle creatures and it is such a privilege to be allowed into their space.

We were given a small bag of feed upon entry to share with the various animals and birds in the park.  Gone are the days of feeding wildlife bread (ugh! so bad for them!) or those packaged pellets that I’m sure are not very exciting to the average critter.  We had a mixture of different grains as well as seeds and plant fibres.  This way, it was suitable for everybody and wherever you dropped it, it was sure to be enjoyed by one inhabitant or another.  Parrots, ducks, wallabies and emus all shared the food, picking out the bits they liked.

The first kangaroo we encountered was a young Western Grey.  She was happy to approach us and gladly accepted handfuls of the feed.  Betty was glad to get this opportunity (she felt she would never live it down if she came all the way to Oz and didn’t get to feed a kangaroo!).  The young female gently held Betty’s hands while she munched on the food. She was soft and beautiful.  Western Greys have course brown-grey fur, with darker paws.  They have pale underbelly fur and have longer forearms than some other species of kangaroo.  They have lovely long eyelashes 🙂

The males can reach up to 6-7 feet in height (which is a bit scary if you come across them in darkness whilst out on a walk.  been there, done that!), while the females are much smaller. Their average lifespan is 9-15 years, although they have been known to live to 20 years in the wild.

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Nom Nom…

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Look at those lashes!

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Just Chillin…

The next fellow we encountered was a young male Red Kangaroo.  The Reds are the largest species of Kangaroo, with the males often reaching in excess of 7 feet tall when standing fully erect.  They are powerful and muscly (just type “muscled red kangaroo” into Google).  This is reflected in their fighting style, with males generally getting into wrestling matches rather than adopting a kick-boxing style like their Western Grey counterparts.  If you get “hugged” by a Red, you know about it.  Luckily for us, this boy was very friendly, gentle and not interested in battling anyone.  He stayed with us for ages, eating the feed and enjoying a pat.  The fur of the Red is softer and the hairs shorter than the Grey’s – it is velvety to the touch, somewhat like a cross between rabbit fur and lambswool.  They have distinctive black and white markings on their muzzles and have short forearms.  They have quite a broader-shaped head than a Grey and their large ears can rotate in all different directions.

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Look at this handsome fellow!

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More nom noms…

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Hello there!

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This is me getting all up in his grill.  He didn’t mind.  I scratched his chest, he licked my arms.  We had a thing going.

We saw lots of beautiful animals at the Bunbury Wildlife Park, but I am very fond of the kangaroos.  I was so glad we could give Betty the opportunity of seeing some in the flesh – not just in the wild as we whizzed past in the car, or dead on the side of the road (so many – it’s so sad 😦 ) and that she got to feed and touch them.  I would recommend the park.  It was clean and spacious and, most importantly, the animals seemed happy and well-cared for.  Of course, it is nicer to see them in the wild, doing what they were born to do but, on the other hand, it’s nice to be able to get close to them and say Hello.

If you’re visiting the South West of Western Australia, take some time to visit and spend an afternoon with our beautiful native marsupials.  The more people get to know them, and experience their gentle natures up close, the more they will be protected and respected in the wild.  As humans, we take over their habitats and then wonder why they make a nuisance of themselves on the roads and on farming properties.  We need to ensure they can stay safe in the wild, unhindered and un-harassed by so-called human progress and development.

And don’t call them Skippy.  They don’t like it 🙂