The hill on which the property is situated rises to a height of 237 feet (72 m) and is a spur of Mount Clarence. The soil is a mixture of clay and gravel with rich black loam on the lower side.
The farm was initially established in 1827 for the first Government Resident in Albany, when the first Europeans settled at King George SoundEdmund Lockyer, Alexander Collie and John Lawrence Morley selected the site as a government farm. Originally it occupied an area of 1,536 acres (622 ha) but only 6 acres (2 ha) remain today. The next three commandants of the settlement, Captain Wakefield, Lieutenant Sleeman and Captain Collet Barker, followed Lockyer's plan of continuing to develop the farm.
Alexander Collie was appointed Government Resident of Albany in 1831 and moved into a wattle and daub cottage situated on the farm. He named the property Strawberry Hill after the small plot of strawberries he was cultivating. Collie retired in 1832 and his successor was D. H. Macleod but it was the farm superintendent John Lawrence Morley who handed the property onto Richard Spencer.
Spencer was appointed as Government Resident in 1833; he acquired the farm and resided there with his wife, Ann, and his ten children. Spencer arranged for the erection of a granite two-storey building at the rear end of the original wattle and daub structure at a cost of £100. The garden was now well established and producing blood oranges, raspberries, grapes, asparagus, figs and almonds. The first visitors to stay in the new building included Charles Darwin and Captain Robert FitzRoy, of HMS Beagle
The old thatched roof wattle and daub part of the main residence burned down in 1870. A second cottage was built by Charles Miner in the same year.
Francis Bird, the Chief Architect of Western Australia, acquired the property in 1889 and changed the name from Strawberry Hill to the Old Farm. His family retained ownership of the farm until the 1930s.
The site lay derelict for many years until purchased by the Federal Government in 1956 and it was then vested in the National Trust of Australia in 1964. Conservation work commenced shortly afterwards and it was later opened to the public.
Thousands of people visit the farm each year and enjoy the beautiful and historic gardens
Open Monday to Friday from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM, CLOSED LAST TWO WEEKS OF JULY AND ALL OF AUGUST. CLOSED CHRISTMAS DAY, BOXING DAY, NEW YEAR DAY & GOOD FRIDAY.
Lake Vancouver is the only freshwater wetland on the Vancouver Peninsula and is a significant source of water for fauna in the area. It is found within a Nature Reserve, located on the Vancouver Peninsula, about 200 m west of Goode Beach on Frenchman Bay. Because of its pristine condition and unique position so close to the ocean, the Lake Vancouver wetland is listed in the South Coast Significant Wetlands Database and is currently being used as a case study to help determine wetland buffer zone guidelines for Western Australia.
Public access has only been allowed to this amazing fresh water lake since 2012 which has contributed to its unique and pristine condition. It really is an amazing spot to visit, relatively untouched by humans and protected for future generations to enjoy. The Frenchmans Bay Association erected a Bird Hide to share this natural wonder with locals and tourists alike and encourage an appreciation of the wetlands and bird life. It is accessible from La Perouse Road in Goode Beach, or from the car park nearby with access to the beach which winds around the back end to meet up with the bird hide track walk.
Twenty-nine Australian land mammals have become extinct over the last 200 years, and 56 are currently facing extinction. These losses and potential losses represent over a third of the 315 species present at the time of European settlement.
We recently published the first review of all Australian mammals, finding that Australia has the worst rate of mammal extinctions in the world, and the situation isn’t improving thanks to feral predators such as cats.
In response, Environment Minister Greg Hunt has proposed investing in research for a cat-killing disease as a form of biological control. But while biological control will be part of the solution, it is not the silver bullet. The real solution will have to involve a change of heart.
Not a thing of the past
Most Australians know of and regret the extinction of the thylacine — but few recognise that this one extinction is symptomatic of a much more pervasive loss. Twenty-eight other mammals have become extinct since 1788, and we suspect that few would know their names, let alone of their loss.
These species are or were not obscure marginalia or predestined for oblivion. Instead many were common and played important and irreplaceable roles in our country’s ecology. These species were part of the fabric of this land. The Australian mammal fauna is the most distinctive in the world: 86% of our 315 land mammal species are found nowhere else.
Since the 1840s we’ve lost mammals at the rate of one species per decade. On current trends, there will be many more extinctions of Australian mammals in the next one or two generations: we found 56 land mammal species (more than 20% of our land mammals) are now threatened with extinction.
Out to sea the situation is a little less bleak, but more opaque. Of 58 species reported from Australian waters, six are threatened but 35 are considered Data Deficient – they may or may not be in trouble, but we don’t have enough information to be sure.
Feral cats the greatest threat
It may sound all doom and gloom — and in many respects it is — but it’s important to note that conservation can work. Both Gilbert’s potoroo and the Bridled nailtail wallaby have been brought back from the brink through dedicated effort.
So how do we go about saving the rest of Australia’s threatened mammals?
Some consider this an economic question — with X amount of dollars, we can save X number of species, but which ones? This is the argument of medical triage, a sharp prioritisation that directs funds only at the most savable and valuable species.
But this is a defeatist mentality. To advocate for species’ extinctions by choice or through disinclination is unconscionable. Triage was born on the battlefields of Napoleonic Europe, where life and death choices had to be made in minutes. It is an inappropriate analogy for biodiversity conservation.
A better analogy is with the education system. Our society accepts the obligation that all children should be schooled, and recognises the benefit to society from that premise. So too with conservation: we should recognise the obligation to attempt to safeguard all species. In a nation as affluent as ours, this can and should be a realistic objective.
Cats are the greatest threat to Australia’s mammals. Like many other threats, they are now a pervasive and deeply-entrenched problem, and we recognise that it will not be solved simply or quickly.
There are some measure we can implement immediately: translocating threatened species, establishing a network of cat-proof enclosures, and better management of dingoes and wild dogs (which can help control cat populations).
But we also need to look at long-term solutions. This has formidable challenges. Current trials in cat-baiting are promising, but we don’t yet know if they will work on a large scale. Biological control (such as a disease) may take decades to develop, and has to overcome concerns from cat owners, and risks to other Australian wildlife and cat species overseas.
Even so, controlling cats is likely to do more for the conservation of Australia’s biodiversity than any other single action.
Learning to care for our country
But we have concluded that we will not solve the mammal extinction crisis simply by repeating the same actions over and over. The problem is far more fundamental.
Conservation is not just an environmental problem; it also charts a moral landscape. How does our society fit into this land? What do we consider is important? Is it reasonable that we gift our descendants only a faint shadow of our country’s extraordinary nature?
We have worked extensively in remote Australia. We have shown old Aboriginal men and women stuffed museum specimens of now-vanished mammals, and been struck to our core by their responses: singing the song of that animal, stroking it, telling its story, crying at its loss. Here is an affinity to nature, a deep connection to our land, an ache of responsibility, that we settler Australians have not yet felt or learned. To become part of this country, to care for it properly, we need to grow some of that sense of belonging and affinity. Otherwise, extinctions will continue to be viewed as inconsequential.
Our review of the fate of Australian mammals reflects uncomfortably on our society. Without understanding of our country, without linkages to, and affinity to, its nature, and without a corresponding commitment to its well-being, our society will fit poorly in this land and these seas, and we will continue to erode the most remarkable fauna in the world.
We must accept that biodiversity conservation is not only an obligation of government, but a shared societal responsibility.
This article was co-written by Dr Andrew Burbidge, who is a co-author of the action plan. He is a Research Fellow with the WA Department of Parks and Wildlife.
That loss is also an important lesson on the consequences of acting too slowly. Hobart Zoo’s Tasmanian tiger died just two months after the species was finally given protected status.
Last year, we wrote about the last-known Christmas Island Forest Skink, an otherwise unremarkable individual affectionately known as Gump. Although probably unaware of her status, Gump was in a forlorn limbo, hoping to survive long enough to meet a mate and save her species. It was an increasingly unlikely hope.
Despite substantial effort searching Christmas Island for another Forest Skink, none was found.
Until the late 1990s, Forest Skinks were common and widespread on Christmas Island. Their population then crashed, and has now vanished. It has been a remarkable disappearance but not entirely peculiar, as it was preceded by an eerily similar pattern of decline and extinction (in 2009) for the Christmas Island Pipistrelle, the most recent Australian mammal known to have become extinct. Nor is the skink unique among the island’s native reptiles – most of them have shown similar patterns of decline.
We think Gump’s death is momentous because it probably marks the extinction of her species. If so, this will be the first Australian native reptile known to have become extinct since European colonisation – a most unwelcome distinction. (Unlike the death of an individual, extinction can be hard to prove. There are, after all, some optimists who believe Thylacines still live. For the Forest Skink, the trajectory of decline and the fruitlessness of dedicated searches provide reasonable grounds to presume extinction, although this conclusion may take some years to be officially recognised. And, of course, we’d like to be proved wrong.)
Lessons and legacies
Gump’s death might be passed over as a trivial bit of bad news and quickly forgotten. But Forest Skinks have been around since before modern humans walked out of Africa, so their extinction on our watch is not trivial. We should treat this loss with a profound respect, and seek to learn lessons that may help prevent similar losses in the future.
These are the legacies we seek from Gump’s life and death:
First, we should acknowledge that extinction is an unwelcome endpoint that is usually caused by ecological factors, but in recent times has often been compounded by deliberate human action or inaction. In most cases, extinction can be seen as a tangible demonstration of failure in policy and management, of inattention or missed opportunities.
In comparable cases elsewhere in our society, such as unexplained deaths or catastrophic governmental shortcomings, coronial inquests are instigated. Such inquests are widely recognised as a good way to learn lessons and to change practices in a way that will help avoid future failures. Inquests are also useful to acknowledge accountability, and to explain negative events to the public.
An inquiry – albeit more modest than a coronial inquest – is an appropriate response to any extinction. The presumed first extinction of an Australian reptile species would make for a worthwhile precedent: how could it have been averted, and what lessons can we learn?
We would urge that this avowed interest be further consolidated by the loss of the Christmas Island Forest Skink, with a clear statement that this extinction is momentous and deeply regretted. The government should explicitly seek to avoid future preventable extinctions (a commitment recognised internationally through the Millennium Development Goals), and should pledge to implement a more effective and successful strategy for conserving Australia’s threatened species (and biodiversity generally).
Third, it is no coincidence that two endemic vertebrate species have gone extinct on Christmas Island in the past decade, and that many other native species are declining there, despite the fact that most of the island is a national park.
Christmas Island’s extraordinary natural values are not being matched by the resources provided to manage them, or by their low profile in our national awareness. The island meets the criteria to qualify as a World Heritage site, and it is time for the government to seek such a listing.
The fourth hoped-for legacy concerns the so far successful captive breeding program for two other Christmas Island species that otherwise would have gone the same way as Gump: the endemic Blue-tailed Skink and Lister’s Gecko.
This is an admirable accomplishment. But it is at best a halfway house, because a species solely represented by individuals in cages becomes an artifice. We urge the government to commit fully to a currently proposed conservation plan for Christmas Island that seeks to allow such species to return to their natural haunts, following eradication or effective control of their primary threats such as introduced black rats, feral cats, yellow crazy ants, giant centipedes and wolf snakes.
Fifth, this extinction has largely been enacted out of public view. With the exception of a 2012 scientific paper, the few reports documenting the Christmas Island Forest Skink’s decline are not readily accessible.
There is an island-wide biodiversity monitoring program (which is admirable), yet the results of such monitoring are not routinely reported or interpreted to the public. Our society deserves to be warned of impending and unrecoverable losses, and to know when good management has averted them.
This case is not unusual: for most Australian threatened species, it is difficult if not impossible to find reliable information on population trends. This makes it difficult to prioritise management, making it likely that management responses will be initiated too late, and it severely limits public awareness of conservation issues. We recommend the development of a national biodiversity monitoring program that would allow ready public access to information about trends in threatened and other species.
It is 78 years since the death of the last Thylacine. Our photographs of extinct Australian animals are now taken in colour, rather than black and white. But has anything else improved? We hope it will.
When it comes to mammal extinctions, Australia’s track record over the last 200 years has been abysmal. Since European settlement, nearly half of the world’s mammalian extinctions have occurred in Australia – 19 at last count. So, when faced with the additional threat of climate change, how do we turn this around and ensure the trend doesn’t continue?
Learning from previous extinctions is a good place to start. A comparison between two Australian species, the recently extinct Christmas Island pipistrelle and the critically endangered but surviving orange-bellied parrot, provides some insight into the answer to this question. Namely, that acting quickly and decisively in response to evidence of rapid population decline is a key factor in determining the fate of endangered species.
A bat and a parrot
Endemic to Christmas Island, the pipistrelle was a tiny (3.5 gram) insect-eating bat. It was first described in 1900, when numbers were widespread and abundant. In the early 1990s this began to change. The decline was rapid and the exact cause uncertain. By 2006, experts were calling for a captive breeding program to be initiated. These pleas were ignored until 2009 when it was finally given the green light. Sadly the decision came too late, and two months later the Federal Minister of Environment announced that the rescue attempt had failed.
Concern about the orange-bellied parrot began in 1917, but it wasn’t until 1981 that it was confirmed to be on the brink of extinction. In an attempt to save the parrot, a multi-agency, multi-government recovery team was set up and a captive breeding program began in 1983. Like the bat, threats to the parrot remain poorly understood. In 2010, monitoring showed that the species would become extinct in the wild within three to five years unless drastic action was taken. The recovery team immediately took action to bolster the captive population as insurance against extinction. There are currently 178 birds in captivity and less than 20 in the wild.
What do these two tales tell us about how me might avoid future Australian extinctions? It seems that one of the main differences, and perhaps the difference over which we have the most control, were the decision-making processes involved.
How we manage endangered species ultimately comes back to the decisions made, including who makes the decisions, who is held accountable, and the timing of these decisions. Examining these cases in the context of decision-making reveals some clear differences and highlights some important recommendations for the future management of endangered species.
Leadership, accountability, and timely action
One of the key differences was in the governance and leadership surrounding the two cases. Experts involved in monitoring the pipistrelle provided recommendations to government bodies, but did not have the authority to make decisions nor was there an effective leader to champion the urgent need to act. Conversely, the Orange-bellied Parrot Recovery Team had the authority to make decisions and act on them. Indeed, thanks to the Recovery Team’s broad representation, any failure to act would likely have resulted in public outcry – which raises the issue of accountability.
Management of endangered species requires tough decisions, yet they are decisions we must make. If we monitor declining populations without a process for deciding between different management options, we will only document extinctions. In some cases, the logical decision may be to employ a triage system where priority is given to species with a high likelihood of recovery. Assigning institutional accountability around the management of endangered species could help to ensure that tough decisions are made and that the processes involved are transparent.
Finally, the cases of the bat and the parrot also highlight the need to act quickly when a species is found to be on the brink of extinction. Delaying decisions only narrows our choices and removes opportunities to act. We may not always have all the answers, but this cannot be used as a reason to delay decision making. Based on a triage system a decision to not to act might be the best way forward, but if we delay the decision it becomes the only way forward.
Better decisions with science
It is all well and good to say that we need leaders to be accountable and make timely decisions; but in a world where insufficient conservation resources exist to manage all endangered species, how do we ensure that the decisions we make are the right ones?
This is where science can help.
Scientific analysis can be used to determine how much information we need to inform a good conservation decision. In the case of the Christmas Island pipistrelle, the decision to start a captive breeding program came many years too late. By evaluating the costs, benefits, and feasibility of taking different management actions in the light of what we know about a species’ decline (or don’t know - i.e. the degree of uncertainty), it is possible to get the timing right.
Research into the methods used to stem species decline is also underway. For example, captive breeding and reintroduction programs are generally regarded as having good success rates. Further investigation into genetic management, habitat restoration, and effective techniques for reintroduction and risk management will help ensure the success of these programs for a variety of species.
Stemming the global loss of biodiversity through recovery planning will require brave decision-making in the face of uncertainty. Monitoring must be linked to decisions, institutions must be accountable for these decisions and decisions to act must be made before critical opportunities, and species, are lost forever.
Particular thanks go to Mark Holdsworth, Stephen Harris, Fiona Henderson, Mark Lonsdale, and my co-authors on the original paper on which this article is based.
As representatives of Australia’s peak professional ecological body, the Ecological Society of Australia (ESA), we are deeply concerned that the strategy is not fit for its purpose of protecting Australia’s biodiversity.
A bolder, science-based vision
As part of ESA’s formal submission to the public consultation, we provide an alternative, evidence-based vision. This includes nine key recommendations for nature conservation in Australia.
1. Set measurable targets. Any project needs a set of quantifiable targets, otherwise we won’t know whether it has been successful or not. Some suggestions:
establish a comprehensive national network of ecosystem monitoring sites by 2025
reverse the declines of all species that are threatened by human-caused factors by 2025.
2. Commit to preventing human-caused species extinctions. The strategy should state explicitly that human-driven species extinctions are not acceptable, and establish and maintain clear paths of accountability.
3. Adequately fund the strategy’s implementation. Australia should show international leadership in conservation by investing at the upper end of OECD and G20 averages. At present Australia allocates less than 0.8% of GDP to conservation. We suggest 2% as an urgent minimum investment, with scope to expand funding to ensure that targets can be met.
4. Focus on the intrinsic value of biodiversity. The draft strategy is supposed to represent “Australia’s biodiversity conservation strategy and action inventory”, but it does not define biodiversity, choosing instead to focus on the vague notion of “nature”. We recommend the document return its focus to biodiversity, defined in the Convention on Biodiversity as “the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are a part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems”.
requiring threat-abatement plans to efficiently manage major threats to many species, such as impacts of feral predators and herbivores, invasive plants and new diseases
specifically protecting high-value ecosystems, including those of economic value such as the Great Barrier Reef, and those that are critical for species survival, and rare ecosystems.
6. Commit to establishing a comprehensive system of protected areas, including marine parks. Despite longstanding commitments to developing a fully representative network of protected areas in Australia, many bioregions remain poorly represented in the National Reserve System and the national marine protected area system.
9. Recognise key issues that affect Australian biodiversity conservation. Any successful strategy should specifically address new and emerging issues that can harm our environment, such as Australia’s increasing use of natural resources, environmental water flows in rivers, and overfishing.
We cannot ignore human population growth, increasing per capita consumption and subsequent resource demand as drivers of threats to healthy and resilient ecosystems.
Our unique plants, animals and other organisms shape our national identity. They have wide-ranging benefits to our society, as well as being inherently valuable in their own right. They need a much stronger commitment to their ongoing protection.
Should your next holiday include a safari, whale watching, or a trip to a tiger temple? Ecotourism has recently been in the spotlight. For instance, we’ve seen claims that tourism helps conserve tigers and that it has been linked to wildlife trafficking.
“Ecotourism” is a very broad term. It may include visitors to public national parks, volunteers for community projects, or adventurous expeditions to remote regions. Some may even include hunting safaris.
Attitudes of local communities towards native wildlife, for example, influence whether they support or oppose poaching. Furthermore, income from ecotourism may be used for conservation and local community development projects, but not always.
We also need some way to measure ecotourism effects on wildlife? Many ecotourism measures are social or economic rather than ecological. It’s often difficult to compare positive and negative impacts on a species. Therefore, quantifying the net effect of ecotourism is challenging.
For species at risk of extinction, such as those in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List, it is critical to be able to assess how various threats, including tourism, affect their survival. So we wanted to develop a way of measuring how ecotourism affects the risk of extinction for these species.
Previously when considering ecotourism researchers looked at revenue to parks, and how much of a species’ global population was protected by these parks.
This approach showed that tourism funding is significant for many IUCN Redlisted mammals, birds and amphibians. But it doesn’t tell us whether ecotourism will help or harm a specific species or population.
Our new approach uses population analysis (specifically population viability analysis). This sort of analysis is the gold standard for predicting future population trends, and probable time to extinction, for threatened species.
We looked at how populations changed over time in response to threatening processes, by simulating births and deaths one generation at a time. We do this thousands of times to estimate extinction risk. These methods are well-tested and widely-used in practical wildlife management.
To do this we need to know a couple of things about the species we are looking at: habitat area; population size and age. We also need to know the birth and death rates for different ages as well as migration patterns. This information exists only for some threatened species such as those used in our study.
We also need to be able to convert ecotourism effects into these measures of species performance. By looking at how ecotourism affects these aspects we can compare ecotourism to other threats such as poaching, logging, or fishing.
Winners and losers
For seven of the species that we looked at, ecotourism provides net conservation gains. This is achieved through establishing private conservation reserves, restoring habitat or by reducing habitat damage. Removing feral predators, increasing anti-poaching patrols, captive breeding and supplementary feeding also helps.
But for orang utans in Sumatra, small-scale ecotourism cannot overcome the negative impacts of logging. However, larger-scale ecotourism yields a net positive outcome by enabling habitat protection and reintroduction of individuals from captive situations.
Unfortunately for New Zealand’s sea lions, ecotourism only compounds the impacts of intensive fisheries, because it increases the number of sea lion pups dying as a result of direct disturbance at haul out sites.
Our research highlights three key messages. The first is that to predict how ecotourism affects wildlife, we need to know basic things about them: ecotourism needs biologists as well as social scientists.
The second is that the effects of ecotourism are not universal: whether ecotourism is good or bad depends on the species and local circumstances.
The third, and perhaps most important, is that ecotourism, at appropriate levels, can indeed help to save threatened species from extinction.
The Australian pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus) is a large waterbird of the family Pelecanidae, widespread on the inland and coastal waters of Australia. It is a predominantly white bird with black wings and a pink bill. It has been recorded as having the longest bill of any living bird. It mainly eats fish, but will also consume birds and scavenges for scraps if the opportunity arrises.
The Australian pelican was first described by Dutch naturalist Coenraad Jacob Temminck in 1824. Its specific epithet is derived from the Latin verb conspicere, meaning 'to behold', and refers to the 'spectacled' appearance created by its conspicuous eye markings. Australian pelicans feed by plunge-diving while swimming on the surface of the water. They work in groups to drive fish to shallower water, where they stick their sensitive bills in to snatch their prey. Some feeding grounds in large bodies of water have included up to 1,900 individual birds. They will sometimes also forage solitarily. Their predominant prey is fish and they commonly feed on introduced species such as goldfish, European carp and European perch. When possible, they also eat native fish, with a seeming preference for the perch Leiopotherapon unicolor. However, the Australian pelican seems to be less of a piscivore and more catholic in taste than other pelicans. It regularly feeds on insects and many aquatic crustaceans, especially the common yabby and the shrimps in the Macrobrachium genus. This pelican also takes other birds with some frequency, such as silver gulls, Australian white ibisand grey teal, including eggs, nestlings, fledglings and adults, which they may kill by pinning them underwater and drowning them.
The Australian pelican begins breeding at two or three years of age. The breeding season varies, occurring in winter in tropical areas (north of 26°S) and spring in parts of southern Australia. Breeding may occur any time after rainfall in inland areas. The nest is a shallow depression in earth or sand, sometimes with some grass lining.
Breeding Australian pelicans will lay one to four (typically two) chalky-white eggs measuring 93 mm × 57 mm (3.7 in × 2.2 in), which often appear scratched and dirty. The eggs are incubated for 32 to 35 days. The chicks are naked when they hatch, though quickly grow grey down feathers. After they hatch, the larger one will be fed more, and the smaller one will eventually die of starvation or siblicide. For the first two weeks the chicks will be fed regurgitated liquid, but for the remaining two months they will be fed fish and some invertebrates. Feeding pods are formed within colonies when the chicks are around 25 days. The young pelicans fledge at around three months of age.
At Emu Point you can see them waiting for scraps as the fishermen come in with thier catch and fillet the fish in the special station for them.
The perfect place to relax, Emu Point consists of a grassy sheltered lawn area ideal for picnics, calm shallow waters to wade in and and clear calm waters for safe swimming. Emu Points beach is also popular for fishing and boating. Emu Point Cafe is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a light lunch and coffee. They also make awesome burgers.
ALBANY'S popular Emu Point was declared Western Australias cleanest beach in 2011
Enjoy watching the fisherman come in with their catch and feed the pelicans.
Thank you Gan Edia media for your photo of the beautiful sunset over Emu Point (via Albany Region)
The Albany Wind Farm on our Amazing South Coast is one of the most spectacular and largest wind farms in Australia.
It is a wind power station owned by Verve Energy. It has 18 wind turbines, with a maximum generating capacity of 35.4 MW of electricity. It was commissioned in October 2001, after ten years of planning. The wind farm has the capacity to produce 80 per cent of the electricity requirements of Albany.
The farm originally had 12 wind turbines, with 6 extra turbines installed in 2011. The original turbines are ENERCON model E66, each with three 35 metres (115 ft) long blades made from fibreglass and kevlar (making them very flexible in order to withstand any conditions) and are fitted to 65 metres (213 ft) towers. The nose cone which the blades attach to weighs around 14 tonnes. These turbines are the largest that have been installed in the southern hemisphere. The turbines operate automatically, with the three blades adjusted to make best use of power output from any wind direction or strength. They have been designed to withstand the strongest winds likely in Albany and incorporate special lightning protection. Each turbine has a rating of 1.8 MW and is able to produce electrical energy at wind speeds of 7–130 kilometres per hour (4–70 kn) at which the turbines are shut down. Maximum output is achieved at a wind speed of 50 kilometres per hour (27 kn). The 6 new turbines installed in 2011 are ENERCON model E70 with a rating of 2.3 MW. The turbines were made in Germany.
Albany wind farm is situated on the coast about 12 kilometres (7 mi) south-west of the city. It is in an elevated position at approximately 80 metres (262 ft) above the Southern Ocean. The height and locality is designed to maximise exploitation of local wind conditions, and combined with the short distance to the main electricity transmission system make this an outstanding wind farm site.
The wind farm walk offers spectacular views of the eco-friendly turbines along the Torndirrup Peninsula at Sand Patch.
Point Possession Trail, is 6 km walk from the old Quarantine Station at Quaranup to Point Possession where George Vancouver claimed the whole of Western Australia for Great Britain.
The Quaranup / Point Possession Trail, a 6 km walk from Albany's old Quarantine Station to Point Possession. This is an easy 6km hike. Point Possession is a long, narrow isthmus with a beach on either side, leading to a low, rounded granite hill at the end. It's a scenic spot with Views of King George Sound, the shipping channel, Princess Royal Harbour and Albany Port.
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 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.
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 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