Saturday, July 3, 2010

Everyday creatures

I'm sure the locals can easily spot us new-in-town folk.  We are the ones going "Oh look, pelicans!" and "Oh look, blowies!" (the incredibly common puffer or blow-fish) as we walk through town.

There are two zoos near here and next week I plan to take the children to one of them.  I'm sure it will be interesting and enjoyable, but for me nothing beats seeing wildlife just getting on with their lives in and around town while we are on our everyday outings.

One day last week we saw Ibis, Galahs, Peewees, Honey-eaters, Wagtails, Twenty-eights (Ring-necked parrots) and lots more birds we don't know the names of so just call "budgies" before we even left the house in the morning.  We set off to do various chores.  On our way we saw a bizarre sea slug, dozens of donut-shaped jellyfish, dozens of blowies, huge schools of fish diving out of the water with a Snakebird (Darter) in hot pursuit, a flock of crazy-haired Crested Terns having a spot of argy-bargy, an iridescent Blue Wren, White-faced Herons, a flock of Car-alarm birds, a Squawks-like-it-is-getting-murdered bird, a Drives-me-mental-as-sounds-identical-to-my-new-cellphone bird (OK, those aren't their real names) and lots and lots of budgies.

Next we went to view yet another rental home; Outside on the verge we saw six kangaroos sleeping under shady trees.  The house turned out to be the the first one I've seen that I could actually imagine living in (sober), so to celebrate, the children and I set off to revisit some creatures we'd seen a few days earlier.

WARNING: Stop reading now if you also love seeing creatures in the wild and get jealous easily.  See a few days earlier we went to the south Mandurah suburb of Dawesville and walked along a boardwalk across the estuary shallows.  There, just 1 metre below our feet, going about its business in about half a metre of water, was an octopus.  This was no seafood pizza type tiddler.  This octopus was a proper big aquarium-style number. We watched in awe as it arranged and rearranged itself in its rocky home.  There was no wind so the crystal clear water was smooth as glass and we had a perfect view.  Finally we left it and carried on the walk only to spot another large octopus.  When we finally made our way back to where the first octopus had been we were a bit disappointed to find it no longer there.  But a quick scan around and we saw it about three metres away in an area that was obviously its dining room as scattered all around were dozens of dismembered crabs.  The octopus gracefully shot back to its rocky home and squeezed back inside.  Amazing.

When we went back a few days later we didn't spot it again because the tide was further in and the wind was whipping up the water.  Never mind.  On the way home we stopped at various beautiful lookout points and consoled ourselves by seeing stilts, stints, swans and shelducks, a Great Egret, a dozen pelicans synchronised swimming, a tree weighed down with several hundred cockatoos (guffawing like they'd just been told the funniest joke ever), another flock of Getting-murdered birds, lots and lots and lots of budgies and.... a pod of dolphins.  And yes of course we excitedly shrieked "Oh look, dolphins!" to the amusement of the locals.

Can't wait until spring when the snakes wake up.


  1. Hi Harvey - Mandurah and all the wildlife sounds really cool,don't get bitten by a spider LOL from Joe

  2. Sounds like a fantastic place Deidre! Good luck with the house-hunting.