Humpback whale watching

As a result of the boat dramas we had with the Blue whale watching tour (which I had organised for the WA Nats), I was offered a free Humpback tour and they also said I could bring my wife Mel along. I was also able to include my 4 year old son Liam.  I can’t recommend Whale Watch Western Australia highly enough!  This was my third trip with them.  They are a highly professional, passionate family business who really care about showing the beauty of whales and increasing knowledge in the general public.

They have a custom built 25m catamaran with multiple viewing decks – the commentary is also really enlightening and they always upload a trip report onto their website at the end of the day which includes high quality images for you to download after your trip – see ours.

Liam and I in front of MV Steep Point @ Freo Sardine Jetty

Liam was very excited – really hoping to see dolphins as well as whales.

Liam looking for whales and not with his parents!

We headed out past the shipping lanes to a region just in front of Rottnest where the whales pass, heading South this time of year.  They haven’t eaten for many months in the North as its the time for calving.

We soon found a pair of male humpbacks (Megaptera novaeangliae).  Liam was very excited to see his first ever whale.  We missed a single dolphin that was in the wake for a short time and ended up being the only dolphin seen.

We had wonderful views of the whales who were very comfortable approaching the boat as the crew are skilled in setting the whales at ease – keeping the required distance away and allowing the animals to come closer should they want to.  Whales are intelligent mammals and as a result do have a curiosity about the world around them.

We spent a long time with the whales – at one time another commercial jetboat approached and the whales seemed to come closer to us to get away from that vessel.

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Thompson Bay, Rottnest visible from boat in the whale zone

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Tail flukes

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Whale blow

Just as the two hour tour was at an end we headed for home and I saw a pair of Australasian gannets on the way in.

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A great trip that Liam really enjoyed and was very comfortable on the boat.  As he is only 4 he found it hard to just watch for whales, but he was able to go inside and play, plus he made a few new friends at the same time.  Perhaps next time we will bring our daughter – but she is only just 2 and still too young for this type of activity on a boat.

Beavers whale watching!

 

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Alfred Cove Birding

It was school holidays and I had taken some time off to celebrate my daughter Sienna’s second birthday, as well as look after my 4 year old son Liam on the days that my wife Mel was working.

I had a free morning that Mel had a play date arranged but didn’t have many great ideas for seeing some wildlife.  Alfred Cove Nature Reserve was close to the play date venue and I thought I could see some nice birds there.  It is located on the Southern Swan river with mudflats and inter-tidal vegetation which attract bird life.  It can host more than 140 species of birds – some from as far away as Mongolia and Siberia!  It’s an easy site to get to – just off Canning Hwy, with convenient parking at Troy Park. 

I parked the car and walked to view the mudflats which can be accessed across the park.  I choose not to go over any of the fences at the reserve – to respect the birds habitat – though it can be tempting for closer views. 
I saw this amazing exposed feral bee hive hanging off one of the trees! 

Feral bee hive @ Alfred Cove NR

From the parkland and across some of the samphire I saw a number of birds often seen around Perth as below.

This Black-faced cuckoo-shrike let me get very close which is unusual.

Black-faced cuckoo-shrike 
@ Alfred Cove NR

Once I reached the mudflats I saw a Grey plover in what I think is breeding plumage as they often look pretty plain.

Grey plover 
@ Alfred Cove NR

Other lovely water birds were seen such as the Common (not so common for me!) greenshank and the elegant long-legged Pied stilt.  There were many others but I have limited my photos of the standard birds for this post.

I saw a number more birds whilst walking anticlockwise down Burke Drive onto some of the boardwalks to the other side of the cove.  The sighting of the morning was a Pallid cuckoo.

Bat box hung from one of the trees. These can attract microbats which can roost in them for daylight hours before heading out in the evening to feed. 
@ Alfred Cove NR

It was a lovely walk with many bird species seen but unfortunately the normally resident Eastern osprey were not present.