Monday, December 1

Phillip Island

We recently joined a group of friends who had organized a birthday party at Phillip Island, which is located 140 kilometers south-east of Melbourne. The island formed part of those lands inhabitated by the coastal aborigines called the Bunurong people and was discovered by George Bass in 1798 in his whaleboat measuring only 28 feet in length.

It now has a permanent population of 7500 residents and a large variety of migratory birds and native animals.

The most famous of which is the Cape Barron geese which are pictured below. Included below is the cottage where we stayed which was located on a few acres with a small orchard and many colourful flowers.

The Island has abundant wild life including Wombats, Kangaroos, Koalas and many migrating birds such as the Shearwater. These reamakable birds fly north along the western part of the Pacific Ocean to the Arctic region and return southwards through the centre of the ocean, travelling 15 000 kilometres in each direction annually. They have been known to fly this distance in just six weeks.



Tom said...

That is some feat of endurance by the Shearwater, with very little (if anything) in the way of a 'Plan B' on the return trip.

Halle said...

Beautiful spot there. I agree with Tom about the endurance of that species. How in the world did this creature come to have such an instinct?!

Lindsay Byrnes said...

Hi Tom & Halle
The Short-tailed Shearwaters are amazing birds- you may have heard of them under their more common name as mutton birds. They leave the island in April/May to fly to feeding grounds in the Bering Straits, Alaska, then to return to breed in late September.
The island contains approximately eight per cent of the world’s population and is a critical habitat for their breeding success.
Their mighty feats, without a plan B, remain magical elements to life, even though we may have some inkling as to how all of this may be accomplished. Pinpoint navigational aids are thought to possibly include the sun and the ultraviolet rays which penetrate the clouds, in positioning by reference to the stars, and possibly an alignment to the earth's magnetic field which interacts with the mineral zone area within their brains to act as a precise compass. How much of this is learned or is purely instinctive and whether or not it is complemented by observations for familiar landmarks along the way remains a mystery. I rather think it a combination of different things. Best wishes

susan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
susan said...

What a beautiful place for a decent length visit and some exploring.

The Shearwaters are beautiful birds. If you've never seen it there's a wonderful documentary called Winged Migration that I think you'd enjoy as much as we have.

Apologies for deletion but I wanted the link to work.

Best wishes.

Lindsay Byrnes said...

Many thanks Susan for your interest and the link to this splendid documentary !!
Best wishes