An eventful day trip....

What a way to start the day...
pity I wasn't there but my daughter was...so we're able to appreciate this beautiful sunrise...
I've now got used to the early morning sounds of the front door softly opening and shutting and smile to myself :D
Another perfect photo opportunity in the bag! 
Here's a lone pelican and black swan enjoying the early sunrise...

 Just a quick pit stop to feed the roos....

How special is this...to be able to feed a roo with a joey peering out of her pouch! 

 
After another enjoyable al fresco breakfast...we decided that we'd pay a visit to nearby Raymond Island.
This island has a koala colony and is reached by a local ferry.

More about the ferry later....


So how did the koala colony begin? 
In Victoria in the 1920's the koala population was almost wiped out. 
Koalas were then relocated to islands as part of an early conservation programme.


An local islander wrote to the authorities asking for koalas...
and this was the reply:-


Raymond Island received 16 male and 26 females from nearby Phillip Island.
There's a trail of about 1.2km long to wander and the walk takes approximately 20 minutes.
That is if you stay on the mapped walk...we didn't!
It was fantastic to just gaze up into the trees overhead and be rewarded with such brilliant sights...
koalas just doing their thing.

Here's a few koala facts...
The koala's scientific name is Phasclarctos Cinereus and they aren't bears as many people are led to believe. They aren't even related to bears. The koala is related to the kangaroo and the wombat. 
They're a marsupial mammal which means that the females carry their babies (cubs) in their pouch. 
The male has a large scent gland on his chest and grunts like a pig.
They live from 10-15 years.
The female is smaller and can breed from the age of two. 
Young cubs are born after 34-36 days gestation... Blind and hairless they make their way to their mother's pouch, where they stay for 6 months feeding on her milk. Afterwards the cub climbs out of the pouch and rides on the mother's back. At one year old, it is ready to start life on its own.
Koalas have evolved into an animal that has a restricted diet of the leaves of a few species of eucalyptus trees. It is rare to see a koala on the ground...this can mean it is either sick or injured.

By 2003 the koala population of Raymond Island grew to over 600. 
This put their food supply under stress.To solve the problem, the government initiated a population management programme involving fertility control and relocation of some koalas. 
As a result, those remaining are healthier and the manna gums are recovering.

(I feel compelled to shout 'duck' whenever I look at this photo)
I can't imagine how this could possibly be comfy?
I have heard that koalas can run as fast as a rabbit but also sleep for up to 19 hours a day.
I can believe the second part of this last sentence but have to admit I've difficulty with the first!



Pelicans are frequently seen riding the thermal lift or gliding down in their classic 'V' formation before gracefully landing on the water.


Black swans (cygnus atratus) often nest along the foreshore and are a delight to see on the water with their little grey cygnets. So cute!


The adult black swan's body is mostly black, with the exception of the broad white wing tips which are visible in flight. The bill is a deep orange-red, paler at the tip, with a distinct narrow white band towards the end. Younger birds are much greyer in colour, and have black wing tips.
Black swans form isolated pairs or small colonies in shallow wetlands. Birds pair for life (ahh..), with both adults raising one brood per season. The eggs are laid in an untidy nest made of reeds and grasses. The nest is placed either on a small island or floated in deeper water. The chicks are covered in grey down, and are able to swim and feed themselves as soon as they hatch.



Many sea and wading birds are often observed on the sand or gravel foreshores and great egrets and white faced herons wade at chest height in the shallows feeding on small fish. 

Meanwhile in the water nearby, the local bottle-nose dolphins often in pods are regularly seen emerging from the water to display their aerobic skills. Unfortunately we scanned the water but we not lucky enough to see any.

The island's identity is, of course, highlighted by the ferry. It has grown from a row boat provided by the Shire in 1888, to a hand winched chain driven punt for horses and carts. The ferry was first for 3 cars, upgraded to the diesel  for 6...extended to 10...then to a 21 car iron monster. 
The latest ferry was commissioned in 1997. 
Horses and cattle used to swim the straits!!


Upon driving back to our accommodation, thinking that the day had given its all...we came upon a really incredible sight. How many times have you been driving along a road to have birds ahead...and as you drive nearer, they just fly away....well not so in this case.

As we approached the bird (at speed!!) we suddenly realised it was heading towards us.. flapping its wings in a desperate attempt to slow us down.
We all shouted 'STOP' to my hubby (who was driving) and suddenly the bird went missing under the bonnet! We all cringed ready for the bump but the bird suddenly appeared unfazed at the side of the car still flapping!
We then noticed that there were baby birds trying to cross the road! 
Never underestimate a mother's willingness to protect her babies. 
This lapwing was dedicated to her young and ready to put her life on the line....the white line literally.





Then virtually before we could draw breath we encountered a huge fallen branch which covered the whole road... Everybody out...it's time for a game of tug-o-war!

What a challenge that was...but thankfully with two other cars joining us, we managed to shift it to the side of the road.
And so once more off we go...heading home...


 What a full action packed day! https://secure.quebles.com/content/hotmail/emoticons/1508618.gif