17 August 2015

Shore Side Explorations

A brave crab trying to look fearsome on the shoreface
While we wait in Carnarvon for a boat part, we have done some hiking on shore.  It is late winter, and the spring wildflowers are starting to bloom and as always, the bird life in Australia is pretty amazing too.  Here are some highlights of our recent walks.

Sturt Desert Peas - A favorite
Sturt Desert Peas are brilliant and abundant on the western coast of Australia.  They are named after Charles Sturt, who documented  large quantities of the flowers while exploring Australia in the mid 1840s. 
The brillant scarlet-red flowers bloom after rain and are each about 2 inches (50mm) long. In the Exmouth area, we saw a local variety that has a white center rather than black like the more common variety shown here.  There are many pea family wildflowers around, but none as showy as the Sturt Peas.

This hot pink flower is called parakeelya.  The Aboriginal people used the fleshy leaves as a source of water.  The brushy desert around Carnarvon exploded in pink from these little gems a couple days after a rain.  The flowers are about 1" across and formed a pink carpet beneath larger shrubs.  Amazing considering we are on the edge of the central desert. 

The showy sky blue flowers of the Trichodesma zeylanicum, commonly known as Camel Bush or Cattle Bush, are standouts every place we have been between Dampier and Carnarvon.  Here they form a bushy display right behind the main dune of the beach.

While exploring the tide pools along the Ningaloo coast, we were lucky to see Oyster Catcher birds.  Just as in Alaska, they are noisy beach combers.  Here there are two varieties, the all black 'sooty' oyster catcher and the black and white 'pied' oyster catcher.   These are one of the very few birds of Australia that seem the same as we had back in the USA.

This photo has one bird of each variety.  There were a pair of each on the tide flats.

And below, a beautiful sunset from the Carnarvon Yacht Club.   The club members have been very welcoming and helpful to us. 
Sunset from the Carnarvon Yacht Club

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