Monday, 27 July 2015


The wildlife here is very different to the wildlife back home. It seems to generally just be significantly larger, louder, and more strange.

I thought I'd better take some pictures of a few of the feathered friends here (since I know there is someone reading this who is a little bird-crazy). These were all taken from Brian and Bev's balcony in Hawks Nest - which is just over the bay from where I've been staying in Nelson Bay. I woke up, got a cup of tea (obviously), and went out onto the balcony, where I was greeted by all of this lot (and a whole heap of bird noise).. 
I have seen many many other birds out here - but I haven't always got my camera handy. For instance I saw some swans yesterday (they have black swans over here instead of white ones - and they aren't all owned by the Queen either).

An Australian Magpie (Cracticus tibicen) - these are very large - and they
don't "caw" like our crows, they actually have quite a nice bird song
A Pied Butcherbird (Cracticus nigrogularis) - these guys can
also mimic other species and even humans!
Very happy to be fed - apparently the same ones come back
every day
I think this is a Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus)
On the right there is a Blue-faced Honeyeater (Entomyzon
), on the left - a Noisy Miner (Manorina melanocephala)
These are Galah (Eolophus roseicapillus), and they have
very pink bellies
.. not amused by my picture-taking..

Ayla, if you spy any mistakes with my bird names please let me know... quietly

I spent the weekend over at Hawks Nest with Brian & Bev and we had a lovely lunch/drinks/dinner with some of their friends on Saturday. On Sunday we drove around Newcastle (we would've walked but it was SUPER WINDY), and I was given a tour of the different areas - including the huge coal processing machinery, a number of lovely beaches, and a disused railway station. I hope to be able to get back to Newcastle and explore it a bit more thoroughly at some point.

On Friday afternoon Brian took some photos of me doing science at the fisheries institute - to show to his rotary club that I am indeed hard at work.

This is actually how I spend the
majority of my time
Me & Laura being
fascinated by oysters

My hundreds of neatly labelled pots,
 ready for my experiment

Another interesting thing: in some areas here over the main roads they are trialling these animal walkways - long rope ladders for small beasties (such as koalas and possums) to crawl through in order to cross busy roads! Studies have found that it takes animals a couple of years to be brave enough to start trying out these structures, but after that the use of these rope bridges increases lots! All over the world more and more culverts, tunnels, and land-bridges are being build to help all kinds of animals cross roads - but these initiatives need to be tested to see if they work and if any improvements can be made.

Possum tunnel over the Karuah Bypass that we drove along on the way
from Hawks Nest to Newcastle
These are not my photos (pretty obviously), they are taken by
motion-triggered cameras set up as part of a project to evaluate the success
of these structures aiding endangered animals to cross the roads (Kylie Soanes).
The little guy on the left is a brush-tailed phascogale (Phascogale tapoatafa),
 and the one on the right is a goanna (an Australian monitor lizard). 

Picture of Brushtail possum using a rope ladder crossing
taken from the 'Karuah Bypass Fauna Crossing Report"
(which can be found at: http://www.rainforest-crc.jcu. if anyone is interested)

Other examples of animal crossings around the world (I took none of these pictures - I just thought they were all awesome ideas):

Fallow deer using a bridge to cross
 the M25 in England (it's estimated that
 there are over 70,000 deer-vehicle
collisions per year in the uk
- a good reason to put in a few more
crossings? Photo: Jamie Hall)
Christmas Island Crabs crossing
Black bear using an underpass in
Montana, US
A green wildlife bridge over
an autobahn in Germany
Elephant underpass in Kenya
Wildlife crossing in Banff


  1. Birds birds birds birds birds birds BIRDS!!! And there is a place called Hawks Nest! I want to go there too! Loving the Australian Magpie and the Miner! I have seen Galahs when I was in Australia, but definitely nothing as pretty as that blue faced chap! Yay birds!!!!!! Xxxxxx

  2. ARE YOU AWARE OF SWOOPING SEASON. I know those birds are v. handsome (looking at you Mr. Honeyeater) but the magpie in photo one is actually a SEASONED KILLER, and I have heard that from August-September they get really territorial and swoop down and scare people. So basically, everything in Australia is trying to get you... I wish you all the best.


    Some advice for how to fight back against these birds of mayhem. My favourite step is #5 - "Do not return after an encounter" (so basically, accept that the magpies have won and never enter their turf again)

    1. I'm aware of it now!!
      Thanks for the advice - My favourite part was "be unpredictable.. that way the magpie is less likely to be ready for you"
      Cue me running around surprising magpies like a crazy person..