Echidnas

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We love these funny little animals.  I love the way they waddle about without a care, with their nose upturned, totally ignoring the world around them.

We saw our first echidna at Coolarts Park and since then we seem to see them wherever we go: at the Point Nepean National Park a few times and the Two Bays Walking track both times we’ve travelled along there too.

Echidna - Two Bays Walking Track

Echidna – Two Bays Walking Track

Like the platypus, the echidna is an egg-laying mammal, known as a monotreme.  The echidna is also known as a spiny anteater although they are not related to other anteaters.

Echidna at Point Nepean National Park

Echidna at Point Nepean National Park

The female will lay an egg, then place it into her pouch where it hatches approximately ten days later.    The baby echidna or puggle stays in the pouch for around 45 days feeding on its mother’s milk.  Around 45 days it will start to grow spines at which point the mother will dig a burrow where the baby will stay until it is weaned at seven months.

Echidna at Coolarts

Echidna at Coolarts

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Greens Bush to Bushrangers Bay

Greens Bush

Greens Bush

There are two great walks to Bushrangers Bay.  A slightly longer version starts at Cape Schank.  We tried that back in November 2012 and loved it.  It was simply abundant with so many different animals.  We saw a huge echidna, some swamp wallabies, Eastern grey kangaroos, were told of a tiger snake that another walker had seen further along the track (we didn’t see it though), a water dragon and many many birds.

For a bit of variety, we thought we try to walk that starts at Greens Bush.  We thought it would be hard to beat our previous walk which ranked as one of our favourites, but it definitely came close, if not an equal match.  Park at the Greens Bush car park at the side of Boneo Road (between Flinders and Cape Schank).  Round trip to Bushrangers Bay back to the car park is about 5km.

It was a warm summer’s day.  We set off after a light picnic lunch in the picnic area at the start of the walk.  We weren’t expecting to see much to start off as we thought it was probably too warm for the kangaroos to be out and about.  Then I spotted these two along the side of the path.

Mum with Joey

Mum with Joey

Then it was hard not to spot kangaroos.  It seemed like they were around every corner.  We found a lovely mum with joey in pouch.  She had some blood down her front where we suspect she’d got caught on a fence, but she seemed pretty mobile even with her big joey in the pouch so we assumed it was more superficial.

Mum with joey in pouch

Mum with joey in pouch

Just after we’d been so thrilled to see the joeys, we bumped into an echidna.  He seemed totally oblivious to us and just kept rooting around in the dirt for whatever it was he was enjoying.  I could have stayed watching him for ages but the beach was waiting for us.

Echidna - Two Bays Walking Track

Echidna – Two Bays Walking Track

The walk from Cape Schank follows the coast along the cliff top and is pretty spectacular.

Map of Bushrangers Bay

Map of Bushrangers Bay

The Greens Bush route cuts through bushland with countryside views until you near the coast then once again you privileged to see simply sea spectacular views.  The closer you get, the more impressive are the views until you arrive at the top of the steps that lead down to the bay itself.

Bushrangers Bay

Bushrangers Bay

The steps are steep but wide.  Average fitness is needed but you may need to take it easy on the way back up.  The view is just as spectacular from the bay itself.  The water is crystal clear and you get a feeling of what Australia must have been like for the first settlers.  There’s no mobile phone reception, no modern technology is visible, it’s just raw, breathtaking scenery.   Volcanic rocks blend with the silver sand and the crystal water.  When we went we had a cloudless cyan blue sky too and the light was amazing.

Bushrangers Bay

Bushrangers Bay

Walk along the sands, then over the rocks and you’ll discover lots of rockpools.  We sat on the rocks listening to the waves crashing against the rocks while we relaxed with some snacks.  The children wandered around the pools looking for sea stars and anemones and then we took a gentle stroll back along the shore.  The sun was getting low in the sky by now and it was very atmospheric.

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Then we started the somewhat arduous walk back up the steps, paused at the top to catch our breath and once again relive the view.  Then we headed back the way we came.

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The journey back saw once again abundant roos and we heard of another tiger snake sighting but we didn’t see it.  We did catch a glimpse of a very shy wallaby in the bush though.

Once again Bushrangers Bay didn’t fail to deliver.  Lovely walk and would recommend it if you enjoy a bit of a hike with wonderful animals to view along the way.

Bushrangers Bay

Bushrangers Bay

Mornington Peninsula National Park – Highfield

DSC00582Just off the Boneo Road between Cape Schank and Flinders is Highfield, part of the Mornington Peninsula National Park.

Blink and you’ll miss the turning off the road – you do need to be looking for it or you’ll miss it.  Which we quite like as it’s never very busy.

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Highfield

Highfield

If you like kangaroos, this is the best place to come on the Peninsula to view them.  The Mornington Peninsula National Park has the largest population of Eastern Grey Kangaroos on the Peninsula.  And you won’t be disappointed.

Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Mornington Penisula National Park

Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Mornington Penisula National Park

Walk through the gate, and either take the track to the rangers’ station or head along the bush track.  Don’t visit too early; on hot days the kangaroos will sleep in the bracken to miss the heat of the sun during the day.  Nonetheless, take a jumper as it gets surprisingly cool in the evenings.  And insect repellent!

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Walk quietly and have your camera ready as the further you walk into the park, you’ll start seeing heads pop up through the ferns then another and another.  Then you’ll see one or two hopping away or in front of you.  Perhaps a joey feeding from a mother’s pouch.

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We love it here.  We’ll often stop off on our way home just to see the kangaroos and we get such a lift from seeing these magnificent animals in their natural habitat.

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Port Phillip Bay views from Mt Martha

The Esplanade, Mt Martha, looking towards Dromana

The Esplanade, Mt Martha, looking towards Dromana

 

I take so many of these photos and each time I’m blown away but still can’t help taking another one next I’m passing.  The plants along the cliff face are full of wildlife.  In particular, there’s a black shouldered kite who is often perched on a tree along the side of the road.

The Esplanade, Mt Martha looking towards Portsea

The Esplanade, Mt Martha looking towards Dromana

TThese photos were all taken by Bradford Road, on the Esplanade between Mt Martha and Safety Beach.  Summer 2013.

Dromana, viewed from The Esplanade, Mt Martha

Dromana, viewed from The Esplanade, Mt Martha

Sulphur-crested cockatoos

Naughty cockatoo enjoying a treat

Naughty cockatoo enjoying a treat

These birds just make me laugh.  They are so funny with their loud squawking as they fly overhead calling to each other.  And should you be lucky enough to see a few gathered together, the volume of noise is incredible.  We once counted 15 in the tree opposite our house.

I was walking our dog this evening locally to where we live in Mt Martha and heard the telltale squawking.  It didn’t take long to find him.  One very naughty cockatoo who was enjoying a treat in an apple tree.  He was very pleased with himself and spent a good 5 minutes devouring his titbit.

Enjoying some fruit

An apple a day …

He then followed me down the road to squawk at me further from a telegraph pole.

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Little Wattlebird

Little wattle bird in agapanthus

Little wattlebird in our garden

The little wattlebird may not be the most exotic of birds but they are full of character and we love to watch them in the garden.  On warm mornings, we like to sit outside eating our breakfast and drinking our coffee and the little wattlebird regularly keeps us company, hooting away as he lands on the flowers in the garden.  His favourite is the agapanthus, banksia flowers and even geraniums.  I’ve also seen him swooping through the air during the early evenings, catching the insects with amazing dexterity.

There are 3 wattle birds native to Australia, the little wattlebird, the red wattlebird and the yellow wattlebird.  The little wattlebird is the smallest of the wattle birds and is a medium to large sized honeyeater.  They are found throughout Tasmania, South Eastern and South Western Australia.

They prefer dry, scrubby habitats and can be found in banksia heaths, forests, woodlands and urban parks and gardens.

Little wattlebirds feed on nectar, insects, flowers, berries and seeds.  They have a long, brush tipped tongue that probes deeply into flowers to obtain nectar.

We love their hooting call as they land on our banksia tree or our agapanthus.

Little wattlebird in agapanthus
Little Wattle Bird

Little wattlebird in agapanthus