Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Drew & Hazel Down Under!

Drew & Hazel outside their home in Quinn Rocks.

I arrived in Perth to find the airport flooded! Drew & Hazel were there to meet me & we sped off through the night to their home at Quinns Rocks, a northern suburb of Perth. Both of them used to work with me at the university in a galaxy far, far away!

Drew & Hazel
Plenty of space here in Oz.
This is in the northern suburbs of Perth!
Not many people around!
A west coast Australian sunset.

The next day we all went for a walk along the coast, walking the dogs & I saw the area was a very pretty one indeed. The evening was spent swapping news about old times.

Looking across Loch Mcness.
Water levels were low.
Drew on the trail around the lake.
Wonderful paperbark trees are common.

A banksia flower, which looks a lot like a protea.

Australian Ringnecked (semitorquatus race)
Courtesy of Drew Gardner
Australian Raven

Koala - doing what they always do in the day time!
Courtesy of Drew Gardner.

Drew has had a hard time recently with his health, so I was a little surprised when he suggested we visit Yanchep National Park, which is just a short drive from their home. It is a lovely place, the nearest place to the city with large tracts of indigenous forest still present. We took a gentle stroll around the lake & had a beer at the local cafe. The weather was truly gorgeous.

Joondalup Lake
Pacific Black Ducks & Grey Teals.
Grey Teal
Grey Teals with one Hardhead.
Grey Teal, Hardhead & Pacific Black Duck
Pacific Black Duck
Coutesy of Drew Gardner.
Australian Shoveler.
Courtesy of Drew Gardner
Courtesy of Drew Gardner
Black necked Stilts
Yet another lake that is suffering from lack of rain.
Pretty good!

On 21st April Drew & I visited his hospital & then wet to nearby Neil Hawkins Park. A large lake which was drying up through lack of rain surrounded by parkland. It is a nice spot & well frequented by the local population, one of whom was painting the landscape in oils.

At least 25+ Whistling Kites were on the rapidly drying lake along with a good selection of waterfowl: 30 Australian Shelduck; Hardhead; 130+ Pacific Black Duck; 65 Grey Teal; Cinnamon Teal & 8 Australian Shoveler. Around 250 Australian Sacred Ibis; 9 Yellow billed Spoonbill & a White faced Heron were also showing well.

Western Grey Kangaroo
Western Wattlebird

Courtesy of Drew Gardner.

Red Wattlebird

In the paperbark trees both Red Wattled & Western Wattlebirds were present.

Looks yummy, yeah?

Later that evening Drew made some chicken noodle soup. He put purple carrots in it & guess what happened?
Perth, south side of the river.

Hazel & Drew at the ferry terminal.

Me in Oz!

We all went out into the city on the evening of 23rd April. We caught the MRT which was clean & efficient way to get to the city & then the ferry to the south side of town. Nice meal in Coco's but on the way home we met a girl from Thorne (my home town) & her husband from Bentley! What are the chances of that?

The coast where Drew & Hazel live.
The marina.
Eastern Pacific Reef Heron.
Subtle differences in structure 
from the western species.
It is very short legged & stocky.
It missed!
Silver Gull.

The boys
Rainbow Lorikeet
Common in the suburbs of Perth.
Little Corella.

 Is this a split from Little Corella?
Is this Western Corella?
The crest & bill are both quite long,
 but no red on the throat.
Welcome Swallows.

Dusk in western Australia.

We have had a few days of bad weather but the 27th dawned fine, so Drew & I took a little walk along the coast. It really is a very pretty area.

Black Swan
Nice to see one where they should be!
Australian Darter.
Western Force v The Bulls.

The Western Force got hammered!

Drew Hazel & me!

Evening of the 29th we drove into Perth & walked along the Swan River. Later we met up with Hazel & had a nice meal at her University, before going to the rugby: Western Force versus The Bulls. It was a very enjoyable evening despite the pouring rain which arrived half way through the match!

Herdsmen Lake - almost in the center of Perth!

A bit of a mecca for waterbirds.
Australian Coots.

Purple Swamphen
Australian Little Grebe.
Pacific Black Ducks.
Glossy Ibis

Australian Sacred Ibis

Black necked Stilt.
There are small patches of woodland 
around the reserve.
Crested Pigeon
Magpie Lark

Hazel at the Paddo.
Me with a dead dog!

The next day Drew & I drove to Herdsmen Lake, a wetland reserve inside the city itself. We saw a good variety of species & had a lovely walk around the lake (which is large) before meeting up with Hazel for a liquid lunch.


Erskine Estuary Mandaurah.
Photo courtesy of Drew Gardner

Photo courtesy of Drew Gardner.
Bottle nosed Dolphin.

Photo courtesy of Drew Gardner.
Pied Cormorant.
Little Pied Cormorant

White faced Heron.
Yellow billed Spoonbill & Austrlian Sacred Ibis.

Pied Oystercatcher

Australian Ring necked.
New Holland Honeyeater

On 1st May we all drove south of Perth to Mandurah, where Drew & Hazel used to live. it is a beautiful place on an estuary & full of birds. We walked along a coastal path which paralleled the coast for a couple of hours.

Photo courtesy of Drew Gardner.
Photo courtesy of  Drew Gardner
Photo courtesy of  Drew Gardner
Photo courtesy of Drew Gardner

Later we drove to Lake Clifton, home of the thrombolites! I bet you don't know what they are?

I flew back to Abu Dhabi the next day (2nd May) arriving early on the 3rd. Thanks guys for putting up with me for a couple of weeks. It was great to see you both again after all this time.