Monday, 4 December 2017

Australia Part 3 - Melbourne

From Kangaroo Island we were driven back to Adelaide and then we flew across to Melbourne and spent a couple of days there. High on our agenda was to go to Phillip Island to see the Little Penguins. We have seen the spectacle of their dusk arrival a few times on various wildlife TV programmes, never thinking we would eventually get to see it ourselves. Phillip Island is actually a couple of hours drive from Melbourne and the trip down there included a couple of stops that gave us some more small birding and wildlife opportunities.
Purple Swamphen are to be found almost everywhere,
 Cape Barren Goose,
 Galah are also fairly widespread,
  Cape Barren Goose, close up!
 Yellow-rumped Thornbill,

 another New Holland Honeyeater,
 Australian White Ibis,
 Swamphen in for his close up,
 Swamp Wallaby,
 Sleepy (as usual) Koala,
 Eastern Rosella,

We eventually arrived at the Nobbies Centre to have our 'tea' with great views over Bass Strait,
after eating we had a few minutes before getting back on the coach and going over to the beach where the Penguins come in, we were fortunate to find a couple of the little beauties under a boardwalk near the centre,
Little (Blue) Penguins

After that we  were driven over to the Penguin viewing area, we had VIP tickets so were right at the front. There are no photos from this bit as photography is strictly forbidden as the flashes confuse the penguins, so we stuck to the rules, unlike the Chinese tourists who totally ignored it and were constantly trying to get in front of people, the wardens did their best it was a herculian task to keep then under control.
Anyway it was brilliant, the Penguins came in in phases with the recce party hanging around on the rocks making sure that all was 'safe'. Once the moved on another group would come in and do the same and so on. Once it was pitch black, we went back along the board walks, following the penguins inland and watching individuals turn off into the scrub as they neared their burrows. A magical evening.

The following day we went on a steam train ride from Belgrave just outside Melbourne up into the Dandenong Ranges. The train was called the Puffing Billy, I'll add a photo, just for the sake of it, I know its not wildlife, but hey-ho!
On the way to Belgrave we stopped for 'Morning Tea' made in a Billy Can, the plus being that where we stopped was in a forested area and the local Cockatoos, seem to know when to pay a visit,
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

a couple of other parrot species dropped in as well, but stayed well away, making photography difficult, especially as it was pretty dull and rainy.
Australian King Parrot,
 Crimson Rosella.

As the weather was shall we say a tad damp, little bird life was seen from the train.

The weather perked up in the afternoon and as we were back in Melbourne, we took a walk towards the Botanical Gardens. To be honest neither of us were feeling to well, so we never made it all the way there, but we did spend a little time in the adjacent park. This gave us a couple of new species which was nice, before we ambled back to the hotel.
Grey Butcherbird,
 and Long-billed Corella

Next stop Ayres Rock and Uluru.

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