Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Email Subscriptions

Dear faithful readers,
There is now an option on the left of my blog to subscribe to emails. If you decide to subscribe you will be sent an email every time I post. Completely up to you, but you now have the option as Rob said that he would appreciate an email notification when I post.
As there are only 4 of you, I figure I might as well keep you happy.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Whale Watching

This afternoon I went whale watching! Twice, my family and I have been on one of the small, fast, rib boats, but this time I decided to go on one of the larger boats - partially because I wanted to be able to use my camera without worrying about it getting wet, and partially because you get longer on the larger vessels. It was quite a successful trip, we saw 5 humpback whales! None of the whales were jumping or dancing like the one I saw off the beach the other day, but we did get to see them come up to breath quite a lot of times. I took over 200 photos, but unfortunatley botched the only opportunity to get a shot of the tale. I got the shot, but was too excited and its horribly blurry. I enjoyed every second of my trip, but I had to block out the grumpy old couple behind me that spent the whole time whinging about how much money they had spent on the cruise and that the whales weren't completely breaching - they were totally harshing my buzz.

I've decided not to put up all 200 photos so here is a sample selection. I had my camera on rapid shooting (best invention ever) so what follows is the sequence of one of the humbacks breaching. First you get the blowhole at the back of the head surfacing and then the back of the whale arches through the water in the classic hunchback shape with the dorsal fin pointing up and then it disappears again.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

A walk through the rainforest

 Today, I went down to Sea Acres rainforest centre. Sea Acres is 1.5km of elevated boardwalks through rainforest with a gift shop and cafe. The plant life was very pretty, but there were less birds around than I usually find in a rainforest environment. The lack of birds was made up by an abundance of goannas and other lizards, though. It was a really nice walk through the rainforest and I still found a few birds to photograph.

A walk along the beach

Here are a few photos from my stoll along Flynn's Beach yesterday afternoon.

And these are some (not very good) photos of a humback whale waving, splashing, and dancing around off Flynn's Beach yesterday afternoon. I have seen 5 whales (or the same whale 5 times) so far this trip.

Friday, 19 October 2012

More Koalas

Today I have two videos for you: one of two juvenile koalas meeting a tree for the first time, and one of a koala being released into the wild after a short stay in the hospital.

Clyde and Dave, the two juvenile koalas, are orphans that were raised by a wildlife carer. Usually, hand-raised koalas are released into the wild at 2-3kg and go off to fend for themselves. However, for reasons best known to the carer, these two boys were kept at home for a bit too long, and came into the koala hospital at 5kg, needing to be dehumanised and taught how to be koalas. I helped set up their enclosure and release them into it. Both boys climbed straight away, one of them starting to climb the tree, and the other climbing onto the shade structure roof. This was the highest either koala had ever climbed. I started filming at this point.
That was two days ago, and both boys are now spending all of their time up the tree and almost completely ignoring the humans wandering around underneath them. It looks like it won't be long before they can be released.

Noel came into the hospital to be checked for chlamydia - a very common disease in koalas that has very nasty results, often referred to as "wet bottom" disease. Noel, however, was a very healthy boy. I assisted when Cheyne anesthetised him to ultrasound him and take blood. When his relsuts came back negative, I got to go on the release trip. When a koala is released, they are taken to the bottom of a suitable tree in a sack and released to climb the tree, but most of the time the koala runs away from the tree you are trying to release it into and choses its own tree. This is exactly what Noel did.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Koala Hospital

Lookout Harry
So, today was day two at the koala hospital. I've been enjoying myself quite a lot so far. There are two teams of volunteers that come in every day - the morning shift at 7:45am and the afternoon shift at 2:30pm. There are also other volunteers that run the kiosk, take the tours, and do the office work. The only paid employee is Cheyne (pronounced Shane), the vet. There are currently around 20 koalas at the hospital, including 3 permanent residents: Barry, Barbara, and Kaylee. Over my two weeks I should be here to see some koalas come into the hospital and others leave.

I should also get the opportunity to go out on a koala rescue or two, assuming that there are any koalas that need rescuing while I'm here. Judging by the usual number of rescues they do here in the spring, it shouldn't be a problem.

One of the juvenile koalas
Barry gets a lot of special attention because he is quite a special little guy. He spends nights inside in the ICU ward and day time outside in one of the yards. He also gets a supplemental feed of milk formula morning and night because he doesn't digest eucalypt leaves as well as he used to - he is quite an old man, after all. So, I took a video of his afternoon feed this afternoon especially for Tori, as I "adopted" Barry for her on her birthday.

Barry's supplemental feed.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Port Macquarie here I come!

I'm off to Port Macquarie in the morning to spend a couple of weeks working with koalas. I've had this trip booked in for the past couple of months and its finally time to go. I'm packed, I'm organised, and I'm ready - I think.

I gave Ronan and Tayla to my workmate, Christie, for the two weeks I'm away. They are going to be almost unrecognisable when I get back, they should be almost weaned and will weigh nearly a kilo each - that's four times what they weighed when I got them. They are already huge, and eating more and more meat. It won't be long until they are big enough to live out at Cressy with the rest of the adult devils. They'd like that. They have a mini version of the adult enclosures at Cressy that they hang out in during the day while I'm at work and they love it. After the first day, when it was a bit too big and scary, that is. I have a couple of videos of them exploring their new outdoor enclosure that I'll put up when I have a chance.

I dropped them off at Christie's house this morning and it feels really weird to suddenly not have to feed them every four hours. I can go to bed whenever I like, I don't have to wait up until 11pm to feed them. It feels really weird because I'm so used to fitting my life around scheduling the babies' feeds and having them with me all the time. It'll take a couple of days for me to get used to not having them around, I reckon. It'll be nice to be free again once I've gotten used to it, though, and I'm going to take the opportunity to catch up on some sleep while I'm away. I haven't had a really decent night's sleep since I got the babies so I have a lot of catching up to do.

I lent Darcy to my ex-workmate, Reegan, while I'm away. She is his number one fan (except for me, of course) so its more that I am doing her the favour by lending him to her, than she is doing me the favour by taking care of him. I just hope I manage to convince her to give him back when I get home. I'd hate to get into a custody battle over him.

Anyway, I think I'm going to go to bed just for the novelty of it.

I'll post koala photos as soon as I can.