Bonorong & Other Australian Adventures

Before I get too excited with my [literally] 32 upcoming posts from the Everglades and the Louisiana bayou, we're going to head back to Australia to tie up loose ends. I hope you've got your coffee because you're about to look at a bunch of photos. Back to Tasmania for a brief minute. Through the dusty parking lot and into the wooden gates of the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. This was the first place I saw Tasmanian Devils. They are incredible little animals if not a bit alien-like for their complete otherness to animals in North America. But we'll be focusing on--you guessed it--birds. The Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary is a great place to see Tasmanian animals but it's also awesome because the folks at the sanctuary are responsible for rescuing, doctoring, and releasing injured animals back into the wild. Especially endangered species.

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The thing I love most about wildlife sanctuaries and refuges is that they are not zoos. More specifically, you typically find a more natural habitat provided for the animals. It's usually more hands-on in terms of public education. And when possible, I believe it's important to release animals back into their natural state (with the exception of important breeding programs for endangered species).

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And one songbird for good measure. The Noisy Miner below wasn't necessarily part of the sanctuary but he did drop by and enjoy some poor mammal's food.

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I visited this sanctuary every bit of five times and I was always impressed by the staff and their demos. If you're ever in Hobart, Tasmania, make the trip; Bonorong won't disappoint.

Now before we leave Tasmania on our disjointed trip through (a few) parts of Australia, let's visit the Huon River. The Huon (pronounced like "hyoon") is the fourth longest river in Tassie and attracts a bunch of different birds.

Here on an old jetty, a plethora of gulls.

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The larger gulls with black backs are Kelp Gulls (Larus dominicanus) and the smaller gulls with grey backs are Silver Gulls (Larus novaehollandiae). Anything in between is a juvenile Kelp Gull.

And just around the corner in a tiny tributary of the Huon, I found some Chestnut Teals.

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And now, without warning, we're going all the way up to the Daintree Cape Tribulation Rainforest in North Queensland for a few birds on a rainy day.

You didn't think I was going to write a post about Australia without a kookaburra did you?!

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One more. This Bush Thick-knee didn't seem to enjoy the rain much. Perhaps a sanctuary in the rainforest was a poor choice of habitat.

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I'm sure there are a few more Australian bird photos sneaking around but those are a story for another day. Come back this weekend for the bird I MOST wanted to see down in the Florida Everglades.

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Meet my Tasmanian Friends

Because Newfoundland insists on perpetual winter, I must admit that I'm running a little low on material. The spirit of Ned Stark haunts this place. Winter came, as promised. And now, after a series of months, the conclusion is...winter is still here. Sort of anticlimactic. And sorry if you're one of those non-Game of Thrones watchers (You're wasting time! Get to it!). Admittedly, a person so obsessed with birds doesn't just get that way overnight. I have somewhat of a treasure trove of photos from pre-graduate school times. I probably have poor quality bird photos from when I was a kid, I'm not sure. But this weekend I have dug back to 2010 when I lived in Hobart, Tasmania for a brief time during my undergrad.

Looking back, I wish my obsession had been as far advanced then as it is now. But those of you who live in Australia or have been there can attest to the fact that your brain is basically not functioning when you see AUS for the first time. Mind = officially blown. And as a young zoologist just cutting my teeth, I could not handle the amount of free ranging marsupials and colorful feathers everywhere.

Let's take the University of Tasmania campus for instance.

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The Superb Fairy-wren was the first bird I saw in Tasmania.

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These lapwings hatched chicks all over campus and could be seen ambling around with a handful of babies in tow. I had to discontinue studying outdoors because the tiny babies were too distracting.

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Below you will find the bird that has taken up the task of being Tasmania's personal alarm clock. Click on the link below if you'd like to hear what I heard every single morning: https://youtu.be/OcxUndi2Lgg

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Too bad the next little guy hid from me. Spinebills are very cool birds to watch.

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The last bird for today will be this curious currawong. He lived in the trees above my dorm and greeted me every day with a great amount of ruckus outside my window. Between the currawongs and wattlebirds, I was awake.

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Next week we'll look at a few birds from Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary!