While dangerous animal encounters are common in Australia, it is unusual that an encounter results in a serious injury, and fatalities are rare. The Australian population is currently at its highest ever level of just over 24.5 million and around 9 million people visit Australia from overseas each year, and the number of human interactions with wildlife has never been greater. Yet fewer people die from animal-related injuries per year (less than 30) than from motor vehicle-related incidents (currently around 1200) or workplace accidents (around 200).
Peter Rowland and Chris Farrell are very proud to announce the release of their new book “Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots” (published by John Beaufoy Publishing, Oxford in association with Australian Geographic). The culmination of over 30 years of individual research and four years of collaborative effort to produce this portable yet informative aid to both domestic and international travellers who want to maximise their birding experience in Australia.
After reading an internet news article about the intentions of the South Australian government (in conjunction with the mining sector) to seal the iconic 475km long Strzelecki Track, a couple of us decided that we should take a look at this remote part of north-eastern South Australia before it becomes a popular picnic destination!
Alice springs has many great sites for birding, with a large variety of arid zone species to be found here (if you know where to look), and the local birders are more than willing to point you in the right direction. There are also a few guided tour operators that can definitely save you much research time and wasted effort trying to locate the more difficult to find species yourself, if you are able to afford the tour costs and have a set agenda for your trip itinerary. I (Peter Rowland) spent four days there in early August to check out some of the hotspots for myself.
Australia was once referred to on early navigational charts of the region as Terra Psittacorum, which means Land of Parrots, but it was not the only “Land of Parrots”, as the name Terra Psittacorum was also given to the south-west coast of Africa. Australia does however have two-thirds of the world’s Cockatoos and around one-eighth of the world’s Parrots.
The Murray River is Australia’s longest river, and the third longest navigable river in the world (after the Amazon and the Nile). It stretches for just over 2500 kilometres from Kosciusko National Park in New South Wales to the Indian Ocean at Lake Alexandrina in South Australia. The Murray River forms the border between New South Wales and Victoria, and it was here that we were keen to look for the wildlife that depend upon it.
Back in 2008 one of our team, Peter Rowland, wrote a book on the Bowerbirds of Australia and New Guinea. Part of the book-writing process involved sourcing images of the different species and the various types of bowers that the males build to attract their potential mates. While images of most of the Australian species proved to be quite easy to obtain, the New Guinea species were somewhat more difficult to find.
While we have, so far, focused mostly on the birds that are found on Australia’s land areas, this blog would not be complete if we did not tell you about some of our trips out to Australia’s Pelagic zones.
In the first week of November 2015, we decided to head to perhaps the two best birding areas in Victoria. In just a few days of birding we managed to clock up huge list, but one of the most exciting places was on the Victorian Coast, just west of Melbourne.