The last post included some of the wildlife that’s found right in our backyards, or at least very close by. Today’s pictures are from the Boondall Wetlands. Not quite in my own backyard, but just a short bicycle ride away. Above is the Golden Orb Weaver Spider, and her lunch. And I say “her” deliberately because the males are tiny in comparison, only a few millimetres across. I’m fairly sure the eight or so dots on her head are her eyes. I’m actually quite pleased this photo wasn’t taken in my backyard.
The tide was low, and the fiddler crabs were on the move. Without exception, they all appeared to be right-handed. Or at least that’s the side that the over-sized claw was on. Maybe lefties are in the minority with crabs, just like humans.
And lastly a couple of the water birds that are common around this area – a stilt and a heron. My Slater’s Field Guide to Australian Birds tells me the white-faced heron is probably the most common heron across Australia.
There are always interesting things to see in these wetlands. But it was disappointing to also see so much litter in the area. Especially plastics bottles. Take care people, and don’t ditch your rubbish carelessly. These places deserve to be looked after.
In early October, the Antarctica-bound humpback whale migration is moving along the south Queensland coast. Their numbers continue to rise and by some estimates they are now reaching pre-whaling population levels. And while the whale-watching boat cruises do a brisk trade at this time of year, there are plenty of locations on the coast where you can get a great view of the whales from the shore. One of our favourites is Noosa National Park.
We hiked around the coastal perimeter of the park from the Sunshine Beach end, making our way to the cliffs at Hell’s Gates, the north-eastern point of the park, to see if we could spot some whales. To our great delight, we saw many whales passing by, and the view from the cliffs was clear and uninterrupted. One whale in particular was breaching close to the cliff just as we arrived. But unfortunately I didn’t have my camera at the ready, so I learned a valuable lesson for wildlife photography – be prepared.
The whale photos shown here are somewhat grainy, as I had to enlarge them quite a bit to get the whale tails into view. I use a moderately powerful zoom lens, but I have yet to master the use of a DSLR. It’s a more complex beastie than I imagined it would be. However that took nothing away from the joy of watching these magnificent animals swimming by, in such a spectacular setting on a clear spring day.
As well as the whales, there are lots of sights to see around this coastline, and my inner bird-nerd enjoyed spotting what I later identified as an Australasian Figbird. At least I’m pretty sure that’s what it was – any corrections gratefully accepted. One more to mark as “seen” in my Slater’s Guide.