Friday, March 13, 2020

Australia Day 6 - More Bruny Island

After the semi late night, we slept in today and didn't meet Inala Karen until 9:30AM.  What a relaxing vacation this was turning out to be.  The reason for this later start was that Inala Karen had been paying attention to the weather forecast and saw that we were due for some bad weather tomorrow which is when we were supposed to take a boat trip.  She ended up rescheduling the trip to today since the weather was going to be quite nice.

The boat trip was with Bruny Island Cruises and didn't leave until 11AM hence our ability to sleep in.  Even though this trip would be along the coastline, it can get pretty rough.  But, Inala Karen has taken this trip many times before and knew that the best place to sit on the boat to minimize the rocking was right behind the Captain.  So, she quickly grabbed those seats for us.

You need to wear a huge red parka on the cruise to not only protect you from the cold but also from getting wet since the boat traveled fast and sea spray was a given.  That made photography hard but I did manage to take a few pictures from the trip.

One of the Friars South of Bruny Island

This one shows off the type of boat we were in as well as those stylish parkas.

Those pictures are from The Friars which are some small rocky islands at the southern tip of Bruny Island.  The seas were "calm" today apparently which enabled us to travel out to them to see colonies of both Australian and New Zealand fur seals.  But, the boat was rocking so much it was really hard to take pictures so I gave up after a few tries.

Fur Seal Colony

Australian Fur Seals

We also made stops to see a blow hole (No, there weren't any politicians out there) and huge sea cliffs.  Overall, the trip was fine.  Not necessarily a must do but we did get two lifer mammals out of it, a few birds like the shy albatross, and some common dolphins playing in the boat wakes.

Bruny Island Cruises runs a very "tight ship".  The cruise was well run and so was the lunch afterwards which we enjoyed in their restaurant.  Since we ordered our food before the cruise, it was pretty much waiting for us when we got back.  Too bad their restaurant wasn't open for dinner. 😀

After lunch we made a stop in some temperate rain forest to look for the pink robin.  This was my target bird for the trip.  In fact, it was the reason that I started to look into a trip to Tasmania in the first place.  Unfortunately, the forest was really quiet and we didn't see much of anything but the walk was really nice.

We had better luck at our next stop along the coast.

Pied Oystercatcher:
Australian Pied Oystercatcher

Greater Crested Tern:
Greater Crested Tern

Green Rosella (endemic):
Green Rosella (Tasmania Endemic)

Here is a shot of a bennett's wallaby that appeared to be doing a bit of gardening.  It looks like it just planted that little shrub doesn't it?:
Red-necked Wallaby

Dinner was once again at the Hotel Bruny.  To try to ensure less of a wait, Inala Karen talked to the staff before we ordered to be sure that they got our order in tonight.  Well, that didn't work since it was almost an hour before we got our food.  However, once again our food was really good. Boy eating at the Hotel Bruny is truly a doubled-edged sword.

The night drive tonight was from 8:30 PM to midnight and was just as good as last night.  We lost count of brushies after 25 and quolls after 12.  Both were out in force again.  Karen sat in the back seat and was a spotting machine since she was able to see eye shine first and Inala Karen appreciated the assist since there were so many animals on the road again.  Fortunately, we only had to stop twice to clear recent roadkill off of the road.

We had two major highlights on this drive besides all the brushies and quolls.  The first was when a dark animal with a white-tipped tail ran across the road right through our headlights. We got great looks and I blurted out ring-tailed possum as it crossed since I thought the white-tipped tail was a dead give away.  Later on however, Inala Karen started having second thoughts about that ID.  As we discussed its movement and location more, Inala Karen realized that it wasn't a ring-tailed possum and instead was a water rat.  It too has a white-tipped tail and the animal we saw did scurry across the road like a big rat and didn't move like a possum.  So, we were positive in that ID change and that was the only water rat we saw the whole trip so we got lucky.

The second highlight was an animal that Inala Karen really searched out for us and that is the long-nosed potoroo.  It's another small nocturnal marsupial.  Inala Karen's record is 5 in one night but we would have been happy with one sighting. We went down some extra side roads tonight that were good habitat.  Well, not only did we find one, we set a new record for Inala Karen because we ended up seeing 6 of them including one along the side of the road that cooperated for a picture.

Long-nosed Potoroo

We also saw two of them mating which is a pretty rare sight.  Inala Karen had the line of the night though when she made the comment that they were doing it wrong since the road where we saw them was actually named Missionary Road.

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