Explorer and Independent Biologist

Thursday, 12 May 2011

All good things...

It is with great sadness that I have to bring to a close this remarkable record of outstanding achievement.

Jim Fowler passed away on Thursday 12th May 2011 while doing what he had recently come to love best - kayak fishing on Coniston Water in the English Lake District. He leaves behind his two sons Alun and Carwyn, his sister Jill and his two adoring grandchildren, Jimmy and Heledd.

Gone but not forgotten, he will continue to be an inspiration to all who knew him.

Many thanks for the interest, support and stimulation you've provided through these pages; it is a comfort to know our loss is shared by so many wonderful friends.


Monday, 2 May 2011

Outback wildlife

Following previous floods further north in Queensland, the flood waters drained into the Darling River which overflowed its banks into the surrounding flood plain, covering huge areas. When Simon and I arrived in the Kinchega National Park, the water levels were starting to subside, leaving areas of muddy, boggy ground with lagoons that were drying out.

You can see the muddy margin of this lagoon 
on the far side, as it begins to dry out

Simon tinkers with his engine before a tour of the 
Kinchega National Park to observe the rich wildlife

Parts of the higher ground that was innundated 
is now rendered to an impassable muddy surface

There are numerous wet areas that were previously dry. 
This has resulted in population explosions of fish, 
and the birds that feed on them.

As the lagoons dry out, the huge numbers of fish become concentrated, 
making them easy prey for the voracious Great White Egrets, 
and many other fish-eating birds
 A mob of Pelicans circle round looking for somewhere 
to join in the feeding bonanza
The Australian Darter uses its dagger-sharp bill to spear fish

Whistling Kites sit around the margins waiting to swoop 
and grab a hapless fish from the water...

...whilst the Black Kite is more of a scavenger, 
snatching fish from other birds, or tucking into dying fish 
that have been stranded in shallow water as the lagoons dry out

Seed-eating birds, like these Red-tailed Black Cockatoos,
also benefit from the flooding when vegetation flourishes

Small flocks of Budgerigars appeared 
as migrating flocks dispersed
Many land animals will have drowned during the flooding, 
but this Stumpy-tailed Lizard evidently found a dry place to survive

This Laughing Kookaburra strayed too close 
without realising that 'Fowler' means 'birdcatcher'

This is my final post on an Australian theme.
I should like to thank my hosts
Simon, Bonny, Rosalie, Susana and David
most sincerely for their warm and generous welcome
and  for making me feel one of the family.

Next stop Japan!