Beaumaris …

No kangaroos this morning, I’m in the big city.

Yesterday I took the dog for a walk along the Beaumaris cliff top from the Motor Yacht Squadron to Table Rock. For the uninitiated this is a Melbourne suburb south east of the city on the edge of Port Phillip Bay.

The cliff is a deep red and way below our feet is …

Australia’s single richest marine animal fossil site, spanning the last 5 million to 10 million years of Earth’s history …

… The fossils paint a vivid picture of life below a sea that once covered parts of Melbourne. They comprise remains of ancient whales, seals, dolphins, sharks, fishes and sea birds, crabs, shells, corals and sea urchins.

An added distinction of Beaumaris is that it is one of the only sites known in Australia where we find evidence of our ancient land mammals in rocks formed in the shallows of an ancient bay.

As land animals died, their carcasses were washed out to sea by what was an ancestral Yarra River. This co-occurrence of land and marine animals is world famous, enabling precise dating of the evolution of Australia’s unique marsupial fauna.

The Beaumaris Motor Yacht Squadron has already covered a part of this site, public land of inestimable value, with a carpark and would like to develop a commercial marina. Enriching for them, impoverishing for a landscape that inspired a couple of generations of Australian painters. Let’s hope the council has the wit to deny them that opportunity.

On the journey we pass a sign …

‘At this site in the summer of 1886 the artists Tom Roberts and
Frederick McCubbin first met Arthur Streeton. Together with Charles Conder these men were the founders of the Heidelberg School.’
Fine art has been made at virtually every lookout on the way, not only by Roberts, McCubbin, Streeton and Condor but also by John Perceval, Alfred Coleman, Clarice Beckett and many less famous artists.  You can find more detail <HERE>.

It’s a place that has managed to retain a bit of bush and a little wildness despite the proximity of a busy road. For me it offers a chance to enjoy some of the local birds. I shot all of these within 45 minutes with the dog waiting patiently at my side …

Silver Gull

Silver Gull
Crested Tern
Australian Pelican
Pied Cormorant
Little Black Cormorant

Kangaroo …

I woke up this morning to find a bunch of Eastern Grey Kangaroos at the back door. They were gone in a flash but I found this one again a little later and she was a little slower to flee …

Joey is getting a bit big for riding around in the pouch, the style is typically untidy. It is probably sharing the accommodation with a much smaller sibling fastened on a teat and there may be another sibling in utero in a state known as embryonic diapause.

Despite the heavy load, when it’s time to go it’s time to go …

Pigeon pie …

The capture was reported to quarantine services and the bird was removed by Department of Agriculture officials.

The bird in question was a Nicobar Pigeon, The Australian reports …

If the extinct dodo was dumb, its closest relative the Nicobar pigeon may be considered adventurous, after one of the birds native to South East Asia and the South Pacific was found in Western Australia’s north.

The indigenous Bardi Jawi rangers first spotted the colourful, near endangered bird last month at Chile Creek on the Dampier Peninsula in the Kimberley region – far from its usual habitat between India and the Solomon Islands.

Senior ranger Kevin George said there were many sightings of the bright bird before it was captured at a One Arm Point front yard earlier this week.

This is a species that is mostly found on islands but does visit adjacent mainland coasts. It is found in Timor and New Guinea. The article gives the impression that it has made a huge journey to get here – it ain’t necessarily so.  Timor is about 600 km north of the Dampier Peninsula and the crossing is made easier by the Islands of Ashmore Reef , directly on route.

Nicobar Pigeon

Australia is a part time home to dozens of migratory species that cross the sea to our north. If the Department of Agriculture is going to collect them all they’re going to be very busy.

So why  “collect” this one.

The Nicobar Pigeon is classified as Near Threatened by the IUCN.

Waterfalls on the Wannon …

I’ve been having a bit of a run around western Victoria and one of the highlights has been a visit to a couple of waterfalls on the Wannon River. They’re about 9km apart 16 km west of Hamilton and they’re well signposted off the Hamilton to Mt Gambier Road (B160). You can camp in the Wannon Falls Scenic Reserve.

The Wannon arises in the Grampians beneath Mt Abrupt and flows into the Glenelg River which reaches the sea in the far west of Victoria.

The geology of the falls is quite different. The Wannon Falls tumble over a hard lava bed between 1 and 2 million years old lying on top of softer rock. It’s a single drop of  30 metres into a plunge pool.

Wannon Falls

The Nigretta Falls tumble from shelf to shelf on much older rock (~400 million years) that is hard from top to bottom making it rather more spectacular to watch.

Nigretta Falls
Nigretta Falls

Summer slips over the horizon …

As I’ve been driving home of an evening in recent weeks I have been aware that the sun has been setting a little further north on the western horizon each day. One day, in the not too distant future, it would set right at the end of a local road framed at the end of  an avenue of trees. Imagine it right in here …

I pulled up The Photographer’s Ephemeris and wound on the clock until April 5 at 6:15 pm. I use this photographer’s aid with some trepidation. Just as certainly as the sun and moon will rise and set at a certain place and time so it is certain that clouds will obscure the event. At least it seems that way. None the less I was there. The sky was partly cloudy. I had chosen my camera position in advance but a couple of hundred metres east of that I saw that the sun was spotlighting a bridge quite beautifully and thought that, even if I got nothing else, this would be a photo. Just to put the icing on the cake a car drove past at a very convenient moment …

Having captured that it was time to see if my plan would come to fruition …