Winter has Arrived

Wanderer Butterfly

Wanderer Butterfly

It took me a while to get used to the reversal of seasons having moved hemispheres, to think of July as winter and Christmas as being in summer, but I’m getting used to it now.  What I didn’t allow for was that not everything swapped with it.  For instance, I looked for lambs in spring, in September. Wrong.  And butterflies in summer. Wrong again.  A lot of what happens in spring in the UK actually happens in autumn or winter here.  In the summer, it’s so dry that food is sparse.  There aren’t many flowers and the grass dies off.  When it starts to cool down and then rain in autumn, the wildlife springs into action.

Lake Joondalup

Lake Joondalup

It’s started to rain regularly now.  Not much so far, but enough to cover most of Lake Joondalup.  And with it, many of the water-birds have returned.  Hundreds of ducks, along with shovelers and grebes were resting in the middle of the lake.

Spoonbill

Spoonbill

A spoonbill and a heron were making the most of the rain too.  They went into hiding with the arrival of several dogs playing, but I managed to get one picture of the spoonbill just in time.

Elegant Parrot Pair

Elegant Parrot Pair

The pair of elegant parrots were perching near to where I saw them a couple of weeks ago, in Franklin park.  I’m hoping that maybe they’ll hang around to breed there.  I also hope that one day they might sit a little bit closer to the fence so that I can get a clearer look.

There are some fairly spectacular spider webs around too at the moment.  This one was in Franklin Park.  I think it’s an orb-weaver (based on 5 minutes on google images), but I could be wrong.

Golden Orb-weaver (probably!)

Golden Orb-weaver (probably!)

 

We Need RAIN!

 

Where's the rain? Dried up Yanchep

Where’s the rain? Dried up Yanchep

We could really do with some rain now.  We’ve had just 44mm this year so far, and most of that was in a couple of heavy downpours.  The lakes at Yanchep and Joondalup have all but dried up and the water birds have taken the huff.  A lot of them have simply upped sticks and gone south closer to Perth where the lakes are still watery.

Herdsman Lake

Herdsman Lake

So this week I took my bike down to Herdsman and cycled there one morning, and found all the missing birds.

Daft Spoonbill

Daft Spoonbill

 

 

The biggest treat was finding this spoonbill.  I’ve seen them before, but this is the first time I’ve been close enough to get a good picture.  I didn’t realise until now just quite how daft they look.

 

Male Hardhead

Male Hardhead

 

 

New bird!  I also saw this – a hardhead.  I’d never even heard of one before but there were several there.

 

 

Egret by the road

Egret by the road

 

One of the stranger sights was this egret walking along the edge of the cycle path – right next to the dual carriage-way.

I counted over 20 glossy ibis together, along with several teals.  Thanks to the people at Birdlife Australia we managed to get the teals identified as grey ones.  There’s a picture of the teals and ibis at the bottom.

 

 

Kookaburra

Kookaburra

 

 

There were plenty of very Australian birds out too.  Kookaburra, black swan and willie-wagtail all out and about.

 

 

Great Crested Grebe

Great Crested Grebe

 

I’ll have to learn to pay more attention to the ‘Caution – Snake Habitat’ signs.  Fortunately my friend managed to say ‘watch it – snake’ before I stood on the tiger snake.  I wasn’t in the rough grass.  It was just in the very short , mown, green lawn by the visitor centre.  And it was barely even visible as it slithered away, managing to stay under the grass somehow.

 

The clouds have been gathering for a couple of weeks now, and the humidity has been up at over 90% for a lot of the time, so maybe the rain will arrive soon.  And maybe a few more of the birds will return.

Glossy Ibis and Grey Teal

Glossy Ibis and Grey Teal