The splendid fairywren (Malurus splendens) is a passerine bird in the Australasian wren family, Maluridae. It also known simply as the splendid wren or more colloquially in Western Australia as the blue wren. The splendid fairywren is found across much of the Australian continent from central-western New South Wales and southwestern Queensland over to coastal Western Australia. It inhabits predominantly arid and semi-arid regions. Exhibiting a high degree of sexual dimorphism, the male in breeding plumage is a small, long-tailed bird of predominantly bright blue and black colouration. Non-breeding males, females (The female resembles the non-breeding male but has a chestnut bill and eye-patch) and juveniles are predominantly grey-brown in colour; this gave the early impression that males were polygamous as all dull-coloured birds were taken for females. It comprises several similar all-blue and black subspecies that were originally considered separate species.
Like other fairywrens, the splendid fairywren is notable for several peculiar behavioural characteristics; birds are socially monogamous and sexually promiscuous, meaning that although they form pairs between one male and one female, each partner will mate with other individuals and even assist in raising the young from such trysts.Male wrens pluck pink or purple petals and display them to females as part of a courtship display.
The habitat of the splendid fairywren ranges from forest to dry scrub, generally with ample vegetation for shelter. Unlike the eastern superb fairywren, it has not adapted well to human occupation of the landscape and has disappeared from some urbanised areas. The splendid fairywren mainly eats insects and supplements its diet with seeds.
The splendid fairywren is an active and restless feeder, particularly on open ground near shelter, but also through the lower foliage. Movement is a series of jaunty hops and bounces, with its balance assisted by a proportionally large tail, which is usually held upright and rarely still. The short, rounded wings provide good initial lift and are useful for short flights, though not for extended jaunts. However, splendid fairywrens are stronger fliers than most other fairywrens During spring and summer, birds are active in bursts through the day and accompany their foraging with song. Insects are numerous and easy to catch, which allows the birds to rest between forays. The group often shelters and rests together during the heat of the day. Food is harder to find during winter and they are required to spend the day foraging continuously. The splendid fairywren is predominantly insectivorous; its diet includes a wide range of small creatures, mostly arthropods such as ants, grasshoppers, crickets, spiders and bugs. This is supplemented by small quantities of seeds, flowers, and fruit.They mostly forage on the ground or in shrubs that are less than two metres above the ground; this has been termed 'hop-searching'. They may also occasionally forage in the canopy of flowering gums. Birds tend to stick fairly close to cover and forage in groups as this foraging practice does render them vulnerable to a range of predators. Food can be scarce in winter and ants are an important 'last resort' option, constituting a much higher proportion of the diet. Adult fairywrens feed their young a different diet, conveying larger items such as caterpillars and grasshoppers to nestlings
The Australian golden whistler (Pachycephala pectoralis), or golden whistler, is a species of bird found in forest, woodland, mallee, mangrove and scrub in Australia (except the interior and most of the north) Most populations are resident, but some in south-eastern Australia migrate north during the winter. Its taxonomy is highly complex and remains a matter of dispute, with some authorities including as many as 59 subspecies of the golden whistler (one of the highest numbers of subspecies in any bird), while others treat several of these as separate species.
The male has a bright yellow underside and nape, olive-green back and wings, a black head and chest-band, and a white throat. A notable exception is the Norfolk golden whistler (P. p. xanthoprocta) where the plumage of the male is female-like. In Australia females are overall dull brownish-grey, though some have yellowish undertail coverts. Both sexes have a black bill, dark legs and red-brown eyes.
Australian golden whistlers have a strong, musical voice. The Australian golden whistler can be found in almost any wooded habitat, especially dense forests. It eats berries, insects, spiders, and other small arthropods. They usually feed alone and obtain food from the lower to middle tree level, or they may alternatively take part in mixed-species feeding flocks.
This species breeds between September and January. Male and female both work on the nest, which is a shallow bowl made of twigs, grass, and bark, and bound together with spider web. Only one brood is raised per season and both birds share incubation and care of young. Eggs hatch 15 days after they are laid and the young leave the nest after 12 days.
The noisy scrubbird (Atrichornis clamosus) is a species of bird in the Atrichornithidae family. It is endemic to the coastal heaths of south-western Australia (east of Albany). The Noisy Scrubbird features a dark brown colored back, rust-like colored wings and a speckled chestnut colored breast region with a grey-brown or pink bill and brown or silver legs and feet. They vary from 19–23 cm. in length and 25-58 grams. The males are distinguished from the females by exhibiting a black triangle on their throat. They are closely related to the Lyrebird. They prefer feeding upon small invertebrates such as ants, beetles and in the extremely dense understory and vegetative cover that only occurs after environmental damages.
A reason the noisy scrubbirds populations are so threatened are due to them being a very endemic species with specific living conditions and niche. They prefer subtropical to temperate rainforests >600 m in elevation with closed forests that are within 5–15 meters in height.They require dense ground cover wetlands with cover that only occurs in their small range after the recovery from a forest fire or other serious natural disaster such as flooding or logging events In addition, they also require very dense leaf litter to feed upon the leaf degrading invertebrates in which they prefer. They typically inhabit recovering areas after they have been recovering for approximately 10 years, but there has been reported colonizations in as soon as 2 years following the damage. The scrubbird has never been recorded to inhabit an area that has not been burnt or damaged in the previous 50 years. There known range is approximately 45 cubic km combined including the Two Peoples Bay and Bald Island populations
Noisy Scrubbirds are sexually mature at approximately 5 years of age for males and the first breeding season for females. Unlike many other birds they lay one egg at a time and have a clutch size of only 2 eggs. The nest is a circular shape structure typically build in low lying shrubbery, rushes or sedges and is made from common sticks, leaves and decaying plant matter. Males play no part in the nest, but it is believed they may defend the territory the female has laid her eggs in. The eggs are incubated for approximately 36 days prior to hatching, and then the chicks leave the nest 4–6 weeks after hatching. In a study occurring in 2005 there is considered to be approximately 695 individual scrub birds remaining, included in that approximation is 278 territorial males. It was presumed that for each territorial male there was 2.5 female
The Noisy Scrubbird is listed on the IUCN Red List as a threatened species.The populations of the Noisy Scrubbird are declining despite 50 years of conservation and management.Major threats include forest fires, predation by introduced species such as foxes, feral cats and black rats, degradation of habitat, soil fungi, introduced mammals, climate change and lack of genetic variation. The management conducted has focuses heavily on predation control and gaining data by surveying and radio trackers. While there has been some great successes with the reintroduction and management of the scrubbirds, lightening induced fires have damaged many of the management progress.
The fungi Phytophthora cinnamomi has become more abundant in the scrubbirds range and has the ability to kill and degrade mass amounts of forest, which can heavily effect the diversity of the forest, and could easily and rapidly displace many of the remaining scrubbirds. Forest dieback due to this fungi have been shown to increase the amount of predators in the area, but have not been proven to have any effect on the scrubbirds populations yet
Translocations to native ranges have been attempted several times with little success due to the Noisy Scrubbird requiring a very specific habitat. These translocations even required the removal of all potential predators for the scrubbird, but still had little success.
The best conservation method would be to reintroduce the scrubbird to its native ranges by carefully monitoring the populations and controlling forest fires. While natural fire cycles are very helpful to the scrubbird, a fire event in the few major concentrations of its populations could be detrimental to all previous conservation efforts.
The Torbay area is on the eastern fringe of the karri forest region, and with some notable blocks of remnant tall forest. Large granite outcrops are also common. Beaches on the bay tend towards fine white sand. Where streams occur, they are clear but stained dark brown in colour from high-tannin-content vegetation.
In November 1835, Roe and Stirling explored the Tor Bay area, scoping the area for shipbuilding. From the late 1830s to the 1860s an industry building vessels of up to 150 tons was established at Port Harding (Migo Island), using timber from the Guarinup Hills, half a mile behind the beach
A shore whaling station was established on the beach at Tor Bay behind Migo Island in 1844. Whales were taken during the periods 1844-1846 and 1861-1864.
In 1886 railway contractors C & E Millar established sawmills at Bornholm to supply timber for the construction of the Great Southern Railway (Beverley to Albany railway). Timber was initially shipped out by lighter, schooner and the small steamer Active from Port Harding (Migo Island) to Albany, and later by tramline to Elleker. In 1889 the Torbay Estate, of 22,000 acres, was granted to Millars in consideration of extending the railway from Elleker to Torbay and establishing working sawmills there. The two Bornholm mills were shifted to Torbay and enlarged.A prosperous timber settlement was in evidence at Torbay for about six years. The estate concession extended from Wilgie Hill, at the Albany end of Torbay, to Youngs, the timber being hauled by tramline from 20 miles beyond Torbay as far as Hay River, before the mills were finally moved.[1By 1895 most of the suitable timber at Torbay had been felled. The railway was again extended to Denmark in 1896. In 1898 Millars Karri and Jarrah Forests Limited offered the Torbay Estate back to the government provided they could retain ownership of the strip of land occupied by the Elleker-Torbay railway, which under their contract was to revert to the government after 14 years. The land was subdivided and sold for agricultural purposes in 1900.
WAGR rail service
Millars' Elleker-Torbay-Denmark railway line closed on 31 May 1905. During negotiations over the sale of the railway line the State leased the line and WAGR rail services began on 3 May 1907.In 1908 Millars sold the railway to the state government. Line extension works beyond Denmark were started in 1926 and on 11 June 1929 the first passenger service ran to Nornalup. The Nornalup-Denmark-Torbay-Elleker rail service was permanently shut down on 30 September 1957 and the rails were lifted in 1963
Local industries include dairy farming, beef cattle, plantation forestry, specialist horticulture, arts and crafts and tourism, along with rural businesses that service farmers (mechanics, lime supply, machinery and labour hire etc.). A seasonal commercial fishing industry occurs within the bay based on catches of herring and Australian salmon during the February–April period. Torbay has been a traditional potato growing area for over a century, particularly for seed potato production. While some pumpkins are grown and the area is suitable for cauliflower production, potatoes are the major horticultural crop. The area currently produces about 50% of Western Australia’s requirements for seed potato production.
Tor Bay, which includes Port Harding (named in 1838 by master's mate Charles Forsyth after Captain Francis Harding of HMS Pelorus) and Port Hughes (named in 1831 by Roe after Private Thomas Hughes of the 63rd Regiment) as well as Torbay Inlet, lie between Torbay Head and Stony Island. Torbay Head is the most southerly point on the mainland of Western Australia and the most western point of the Great Australian Bight. Islands within Tor Bay include Migo Island, named after the Swan River native Migo, Richard Island, named after Admiral Richard Howe, both by Roe in 1835; and Shelter Island. Popular beaches on the bay include Perkins Beach, Muttonbird Beach and Cosy Corner, all accessible by car. Cosy Corner is the most well-known, a popular family beach with picnic and camping facilities. Children's swimming lessons are held there in the summer. There are other beaches that are accessible only by four-wheel drive vehicle. The Bibbulmun Track passes around the edge of the bay, coming down long steps from the steep hills above Cosy Corner and following the beach around the curve of the bay and across the mouth of Torbay Inlet to near Shelter Island.
Gull Rock National Park is a small (2,593 acre) national park situated 25 km southeast of Albany in Western Australia. It was established in 2006, becoming Western Australia's 97th national park.
The area is backed by King George Sound to the south, Oyster Harbour to the west, Taylor Inlet to the east and farmland to the north. The park takes its name from a small island off Ledge Beach, which is not part of the park. Boiler Bay is at the eastern edge of Ledge Beach.
The Mount Martin Botanical Reserve is adjacent to the western boundary and Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve is approximately 10 kilometres to the east of the park.
The area is an almost unspoilt example of coastal east Kalgan vegetation system. Composed of granite headlands separated by sandy beaches with lakes and interdunal wetlands, the area contains a number of specific ecosystems. Rocky granite areas exist, including Mount Taylor and Mount Martin, both of which are part of the Gardner Landform unit.
The diverse landforms and soils support an array of different habitats and a large number of floral species. A complex patchwork of forest, woodlands, wetlands, sedges, granite shrublands and coastal heath is found within the park.
Melaleuca striata coastal heath grows on the lower elevations of Mount Taylor. Melaleuca striata, Banksia attenuata and Banksia coccinea are present on the heath, but their growth is stunted by the salt laden air. Anarthria scabra is predominant in the sedgeland, with Adenanthos cuneatus, Astroloma baxteri, Hypocalymma strictum, Hypolaena exsulca, Isopogon cuneatus, Lyginia barbata, Melaleuca thymoides, and Petrophile rigida also present.
The total area enclosed by the nature reserve is 4,744.7 hectares and consists of three separate areas:
A section of 4,510 hectares contains Mount Gardner, Lake Gardner, Moates Lake, rocky shoreline of Sinkers Reef, granite headlands, secluded sandy beaches such as Little Beach and Waterfall Beach and mobile dunes
A smaller section of 89 hectares about 2 kilometres (1 mi) north of the main area that includes the northern portion of Angove lake and the Angove River
Four islands - Coffin Island, Black Rock, Inner Island and Rock Dunder
Two Peoples Bay boasts unspoilt coastal scenery and is a vital area for threatened animal species. There are beaches with path access that are suitable for swimming and snorkelling. Facilities within the reserve include a boat ramp, toilets and barbecues.
Flora and fauna
The vegetation that is found in the park can be classified as follows: low forest is found north of Moates Lake, the wetland margins and close to the reserve offices. The trees reach 15 m in height and are dominated by Eucalyptusspecies including coast gum, jarrah and yate as well as other species such as marri and juniper myrtle.
Last night I was watering the garden with a hose. It is easy to see how stressed the plants are on a 38 degree day, but then I remembered that the animals in my garden need water too. So I filled some shallow bowls and placed them in quiet shady spots. During a hot Australian summer day, such an act can save a life. A small life, perhaps, but every little bit counts.
I have a small suburban garden but it still supports a range of insects, birds, frogs and reptiles. Whenever we move a pile of wood we disturb some lovely spotted geckos. Even in the city most Australians will have possums moving through the trees and skinks sheltering under the back steps. Suburbs on the edge of town have wombats, wallabies and kangaroos. Birds and insects live everywhere. On hot days all creatures will seek water and shade.
So why not add a routine to your normal gardening chores and put out some water for wildlife? Here are a few hints to ensure that the animals benefit.
Tips for watering wildlife
Use only shallow bowls so small animals do not drown. Alternatively (or additionally) add a few rocks or sticks so they can easily crawl out. Do not use metal bowls as these will become hot and may burn their feet or paws. Place the water in a shady spot, out of the way of human activity and protected from domestic pets.
Birds and tree dwelling animals will appreciate water hung at various levels. You can nail a plastic tub to a fence, or hang a modified water bottle in a tree.
If you are able to set up a hose to mist a shady corner in the garden, you will create a small haven for wildlife. I did this last night with the excuse that the lemon tree needed a good drink anyway.
Don’t worry if you don’t see the animals using your water. It is likely that they prefer privacy and will use it when you are not looking.
On the other hand, if you do see animals showing signs of heat stress, you may have to take further steps.
Caring for heat stressed wildlife
Animals that are suffering from heat stress will behave strangely. Nocturnal animals that are out during the day, tree dwelling animals sitting on the ground, or animals that are lethargic or staggering are all showing signs of stress.
The first concern about stressed wildlife is your own safety. Do not approach snakes, flying foxes, large kangaroos, eagles, hawks or goannas. Your best bet is to contact a trained wildlife carer for advice.
It is a good idea to have the phone numbers of your local wildlife carers handy, or download the wildlife rescue app.
If it is safe to do so, you can assist a heat stressed animal by picking it up in a towel, placing it in a well ventilated box in a cool spot and provide water. Do not feed the animal or handle it more than necessary. The animal may recover enough to release again in the evening, but if not you will need to take them to a wildlife carer or a vet.
Wildlife and bushfires
Unfortunately many Australians now live under the threat of bushfires and face evacuations throughout the summer months. Obviously, fires are bad for both domestic and wild animals. The best thing you can do during an evacuation is to take your dogs and cats with you and leave out plenty of water for wildlife.
If you do find injured wildlife, take them to the vet if it is safe to do so. Never go into a fire affected area searching for injured animals. This is a job best left to trained staff who are coordinated by the appropriate agencies and assisted by volunteers who have had the right training.
On the other hand, all of us can help by putting out water for wildlife. Every little bit helps.
Changing wildlife: this article is part of a series looking at how key species such as bees, insects and fish respond to environmental change, and what this means for the rest of the planet.
We may lose a lot more than honey if bees are unable to cope with the changing climate and increasing demand for agricultural land.
Your morning coffee might be a thing of the past if bees disappear, and if coffee isn’t your thing, you undoubtedly eat many of the fruit and vegetables (and chocolate) that rely on bee pollination for survival.
In fact, the world’s 25,000 bee species are responsible for pollinating a third of the food humans eat. If we lose bees, then we risk the food security of ourselves, and all the other animals that depend on bee-pollinated crops for survival.
While European (managed) honey bees steal the limelight, other wild (non-honey) bees are just as important for pollinating crops and will also be impacted by climate change. Data from all over the globe suggest that both groups are in decline, but since we do not have a global integrated and complete monitoring system of bee populations, these data do not describe the full extent of the problem.
So how well equipped are bees to survive a warming climate, and is there anything we can do to help?
Bees and plants: it’s a long-term relationship
Bees and flowering plants share a long evolutionary relationship and depend on each other for survival. Plants provide bees with food and habitat, while the bees feeding on pollen and nectar provide the plants with pollination.
To orchestrate this beautiful exchange, plants and bees rely on environmental cues (such as temperature) to coordinate their seasonal activity. However, climate change can disrupt these relationships so that bee activity periods will no longer time with flowering periods. This will cause the bees to lose a food source and plants that fail to fruit, potentially leading to extinctions of both.
Some plant-bee relationships are highly specialised. These species have evolved together so closely that a plant can depend on a single bee species in order to reproduce and vice versa.
Bees in specialist plant-bee relationships (such as this one) are most susceptible to climate induced extinction, as the loss of one will inevitably lead to the loss of the other.
More generalist bee species, that can collect food from more than one plant species, may fare better than their specialist counterparts. As the climate changes, animals and plants evolve new genetic traits to adapt to the new environment.
However, when the environment changes at a faster pace than evolution can produce new traits, species that already have the physiological and behavioural abilities within its genetic code to cope with the changes will have an advantage.
A bee species that can already access more than one food source (such as the honey bee) can quickly adapt to changing plant communities and survive when other specialist species cannot.
‘Beehaving’ differently in the heat
Bee species that can alter their behaviour to cope with high temperatures (for example by changing their activity periods to avoid the hottest part of the day) will tolerate climate stress. But these adaptive capabilities have their limits.
Increasing heat waves can directly kill bees by overheating them and/or melting wax-based nesting structures. Drought can also kill bees indirectly, by causing dehydration or starvation through the death of food plants.
Alternatively, it is possible that bees will change their range in response to changing climactic zones. As one area gets too hot, the bees can move to more tolerable climatic conditions.
While most of us think bees live in colonies, most of the world’s bees are actually solitary. In solitary species, female bees generally live alone in nests they’ve built, in which they raise their offspring.
Most bee species are also fixed in their social structures, with some species living alone while others have varying degrees of social behaviour. However, a few native bee can change their social structure depending on the environment, so bees that are solitary in one set of environmental conditions are social under another. These socially flexible species may have surprising responses to climate change.
As the weather warms and growing seasons lengthen, socially flexible bees (such as some carpenter and sweat bees) may, eventually, switch permanently from solitary behaviour to social behaviour. However this may also decrease their ability to adapt.
Bee habitats are disappearing
While changing the climate, humans have also made dramatic changes to Earth’s landscapes. Increasing human population and our consequent demands for space to live and grow food has meant that more of the bees’ habitat has been changed into urban and intensive agricultural areas.
The problems with taking over bee habitats can be partly resolved by leaving adequate wildflower borders between fields and in urban areas. This can link habitats and food sources (such as Norway’s bee highway) so that bees can move across the entire landscape.
Bees are interpretive dancers
Just as plants and bees are codependent, we are dependent on their relationship for survival and must do our best to keep bees healthy, and this means more research about all aspects of the lives of wild bees including their influence on pollination. Without knowledge of how they live and their habitat needs, we cannot adequately protect them.
By interpreting the dance of the honey bee workers, and identifying the pollen on their legs to determine which plant they are dancing about, we can find out where and when they like to forage. This information on foraging behaviour can also be used as an indicator of the biodiversity in the area, and whether the landscape is healthy for bees.
The knowledge we gain from the bees can be used to help conserve them, and in turn, conserve ourselves.
The common Hovea is a perennial short stemmed woody shrub 10 centimetres to 70 centimetres (28 in) tall. It is native to south-west Western Australia. The foliage has needle-like green leaves. The flowers are blue or purple (or very rarely white) and appear between May and November. Species of Hovea are the food plant for the caterpillar.
Meaning of name: Hovea honours Anton Pantaleon Hove, collector of plants for Kew on the West African coast, in the Crimea and India. Trisperma is from the Greek words treis, meaning three, and sperma, meaning seed. It refers to the 3-celled ovary, in contrast with the more usual 2- or 4-celled ovaries in this genus.
Banksia coccinea, commonly known as the scarlet banksia, waratah banksia or Albany banksia, is an erect shrub or small tree in the familyProteaceae. The Noongar peoples know the tree as Waddib Its growns in the wild along the south west coast of Western Australia, from Denmark to the Stokes National Park, and north to the Stirling Range, growing on white or grey sand in shrubland, heath or open woodland. Reaching up to 8 m in height, it is a single-stemmed plant that has oblong leaves, which are 3–9 cm long and 2–7 cm wide. The prominent red and white flower spikes appear mainly in the spring. As they age they develop small follicles that store seeds until opened by fire. Though widely occurring, it is highly sensitive to dieback and large populations of plants have succumbed to the disease. Around 47% of plants are protected in conservation areas, while 13% are located on road verges
Banksia coccinea plants are killed by fire and regenerates afterwards from seed released from burnt follicles. The flowers attract nectar- and insect-feeding birds, particularly honeyeaters, and a variety of insects. Widely considered one of the most attractive Banksia species, B. coccinea is a popular garden plant and one of the most important Banksia species for the cut flower industry; it is grown commercially in several countries including Australia, South Africa, Canada, the United States, New Zealand and Israel. In cultivation, B. coccinea grows well in a sunny location on well-drained soil, but it cannot survive in areas with humid or wet summers.
The Wiry Wattle is a perennial evergreenshrub that grows to a height of 2 metres (7 ft) tall, although it can grow taller under cultivation. This occasionally weeping bush produces angled glabrous branchlets that are green with yellowish ribs.The foliage are light green filiform pyllodites that are scattered along the branchlets that they resemble, they are typically 6 centimetres (2 in) to 24 centimetres (9 in) in length and 0.75 millimetres (0 in) to 2 millimetres (0 in) in width. A. extensa typically flowers in spring (between August and October) and produces yellow ball shaped blossoms that are generally less than 1 centimetre (0 in) in diameter off short stem stalks called racemes.
A. extensa is found in the South West corner of Western Australia. The species is found as far east as Albany and as far north as Leeman. This species prefers sandy or sandy lateritic soils generally in damp areas such as along water courses or near lakes and swamps.
Banksia sessilis, commonly known as parrot bush, is a species of shrub or tree in the plantgenusBanksia in the family Proteaceae. It grows as an upright shrub or small tree up to 6 m (20 ft) high, without a lignotuber. In most varieties, new stems are covered in soft, fine hairs that are lost with maturityIt had been known as Dryandra sessilis until 2007, when the genus Dryandra was sunk into Banksia. The Noongar peoples know the plant as Budjan or Butyak. Widespread throughout southwestWestern Australia, it is found on sandy soils over laterite or limestone, often as an understorey plant in open forest, woodland or shrubland. Encountered as a shrub or small tree up to 6 m (20 ft) in height, it has prickly dark green leaves and dome-shaped cream-yellow flowerheads. Flowering from winter through to late spring, it provides a key source of food—both the nectar and the insects it attracts—for honeyeaters in the cooler months, and species diversity is reduced in areas where there is little or no parrot bush occurring. Several species of honeyeater, some species of native bee, and the European honey bee seek out and consume the nectar, while the long-billed black cockatoo and Australian ringneck eat the seed. The life cycle of Banksia sessilis is adapted to regular bushfires. Killed by fire and regenerating by seed afterwards, each shrub generally produces many flowerheads and a massive amount of seed. It can recolonise disturbed areas, and may grow in thickets.
The shrub grows on sandy soils in seasonally wet lowland areas as well as hills and dunes. It regenerates after bushfire by resprouting from its underground lignotuber. Pollinators include honeyeaters, particularly the western spinebill, which can access the nectar with its long curved bill, and the silvereye, which punctures the flower tube. The most commonly cultivated Adenanthos species in Australia, it has a long flowering period and attracts honeyeaters to the garden. It is harvested for the cut flower industry.
Common names for this species include basket flower, glandflower, jugflower and stick-in-the-jug. In the King George Sound vicinity the Aboriginal name Cheeuk is sometimes used.
Abundant and widespread the species occurs in coastal regions of Southwest Australia, from Gingin and Muchea north of Perth south to Augusta and east along the south coast to Green Range, east of Albany. It also occurs in the Stirling Range, a possible disjunction; and at Narrogin, a certain and substantial disjunction. Nelson tentatively explains these disjunct populations in terms of natural climate fluctuations: during times of higher rainfall, the distribution of A. obovatuswould have been much more extensive.
The Kalgan River was named the "Riviere des Francais" by the French Scientific Expedition in 1803, captained by French explorer Nicolas Baudin, in the ship Géographe, which anchored in what is now known as Frenchmans Bay, and was subsequently known as the "French River" by early settlers. The explorer Alexander Collie recorded the river as "Kal-gan-up" in April 1831. The name Kalganup is believed to be the Noongar word for "place of many waters".Kalganup is also thought to mean "place of fishes" and there are still the remains of Aboriginal fish traps to prove the point. The traps, known as the Albany Fish Traps have been situated here for many years.
The southern end of the Kalgan River has two bridges of note: The Upper Kalgan bridge and the Lower Kalgan Bridge. The Lower Kalgan Bridge was built from 1906 and opened in 1908. At 900 feet (274 m) in length, it was the longest of its kind over water in the State at the time. At this time, the bridge had a special navigation span, 40 feet (12 m) wide at the deepest part of the river. The original bridge remained in place until 1958, when it was replaced, but the navigation span trusses were removed for preservation and are now on display in the park at the western end of the bridge.
The Government Jetty was also built in 1906 so that timber and other construction materials could e delivered adjacent to the Lower King Bridge site. The jetty was also later used as a landing point for tourist vessels that traveled upriver from Albany. It is now in a state of disrepair.
The Kalgan River contains many small islands, particularly in the section below the Upper Kalgan bridge. The largest is Honeymoon Island (also called Elbow Island), which is slightly upstream of the Lower Kalgan bridge. This island has a small clearing and can be readily landed upon. A smaller island, Willie Island, is a little downstream of the Upper Kalgan bridge.
The Kalgan River is a place of great significance to the local Noongar people. A dreaming story tells us of a husband and his wife who lived in the Porongurup ranges. The husband beat his wife terribly but she escaped from him by stumbling through the thick bushland. As the wife ran through the bush, her digging stick trailed over the Earth and cut open the soil behind her forming the path of the Kalgan river.
The worker who found him said that the seal was just doing "what seals do."
It’s always reassuring when airports run smoothly and are attentive to sudden changes within any of its components, but this was especially true for an unlikely airport-goer last month as he made his way to the Wiley Post-Will Rogers Memorial Airport in Alaska. That airport-goer was none other than a seal weighing in at more than 450 pounds, who had somehow found his way onto the airport’s runway and decided that he was there to say.
The first person on the scene that day was Scott Babcock, an airport worker who was called to check out something blocking the runway. Since he gets these calls often, he went to check it out without having very high expectations, but he was pleasantly surprised when he arrived and came across the seal.
“The seal didn’t appear annoyed or alarmed — it just did what seals do,” Babcock told The Dodo.
Though seals are highly intelligent and can be very mischievous and fun-loving, they’re also wild animals that can be a force to be reckoned with—even when they decide to nap in a very inconvenient spot. This particular seal had made its way about a mile away from the nearest ocean, so it’s not common to see seals so far from home, but also not impossible.
Babcock observed the seal from afar and said he didn’t really care that he was around, or at least he didn’t seem to. He barely even looked in Babcock’s direction, let alone showed any sign of being frightened when authorities showed up to try and scare him away. The seal settled in comfortably, letting the humans know he was there for the long haul, and prompting them to finally call animal control after several flights had been delayed.
Animal control officers were able to load the easy-going seal onto a sled and pull him off the runway to safety, depositing him in the nearby snow so he could make the trek back to the water. Of course, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities had a nice time posting about the bizarre encounter on Facebook, to which users had punny responses to the ordeal.
“This big guy decided to do a little wintertime sunbathing on the Barrow Airport runway yesterday. #alaskaproblems North Slope Borough Animal Control eventually removed the seal and air traffic was able to resume. Aircraft operators should continue to be aware of low sealings at our North Slope facilities,” the Facebook post read.
“Ouch. His fate was (almost) sealed,” one commenter said.
“No one flies until he puts his seal of approval on the departure times,” another person said.
All-in-all, it was a fun time for those involved and may perhaps be the only time the workers will ever encounter such a situation. While the workers will never forget the hilarious time a heavy seal had to be removed from the premises, hopefully the seal never forgets to avoid the runway in the future.
Dr. Luke J Pen (1960-2002) was a biologist and environmental scientist in South Western Australia. He researched and wrote about rivers and their biology and management. He died in 2002.
A memorial walk path on the Kalgan River commemorates his efforts and work to raise interest and knowledge in local rivers.
In 2008 a memorial scholarship in his name was created to support students of riverine environments in their research.
The Luke Pen Walk trail, located along the Kalgan River in the Albany Region, is a beautiful meandering walk trail, closely following the River. It offers a lovely mix of vegetation from large marri trees and conifers to farming pastures. Gorgeous views are present all the way along the trail.
This easy, well-formed nine kilometre takes approximately four hours to complete and commences at a well marked trail head on East Bank Road which runs off Nanarup Road. The walk provides constantly changing views of the river, along with a mixture of vineyards, green pastures with grazing cattle and eucalypt bushland. A shady walk for a hot day with opportunities to see the abundant wildlife that inhabits the river environment including pelicans, ducks and cormorants. While thornbills and both the Splendid and Red-winged Fairy-wrens can be seen in bush beside the river
Lake Seppings is a freshwater lake located within the Albany Region. The lake is nearly completely surrounded by a 2.7 kilometres (1.7 mi) compacted gravel footpath and wooden walkways. A wooden bird watching platform has been built along the western side of the lake. A car park for access to the path is located along Golf Links Road.
The lake is situated in the Lake Seppings nature reserve that has a total area of 17.1 hectares
Lake Seppings is regarded as an excellent place for bird watching, particularly for water-birds. Over one hundred different species of birds have been recorded here. Wading species are often seen along the margins of the lake such as the Australian White Ibis, Yellow-billed Spoonbill and the White-faced Heron. Several species such as the Blue-billed Duck, musk duck, black swan, Hoary-headed Grebe, Australian pelican and Eurasian coot can be seen regularly on the surface of the lake. Birds that can be spotted amongst the lake vegetation include Spotless Crake, Masked Lapwing, Dusky Moorhen, Purple Swamphen and Buff-banded Rail
Peak Head Track is in the spectacular Torndirrup National Park near Albany. The almost five kilometre return walk follows a sandy track that winds through thick coastal scrub and granite walls. Some rock scrambling is required to reach the peak’s summit, but you are rewarded for your efforts by spectacular views of the Southern Ocean. Well worth the effort and achievable by all fitness levels.
Sharp Point has the most amazing views along the Albany coastline. Views from The Gap and the Natural Bridge and as far up as the Albany wind farm. Don't forget to take your camera and enjoy the amazing views. Short walk from the carpark to the lookout platform along good paths. Great place to watch the whales and the amazing sunsets.
Turn right from Frenchman Bay Rd onto Eclipse Island Rd, right where the National Park beginsand follow the gravel road all the way up to the end, where you'll find a parking area. It's a long winding road, but the views at the top are worth it.