A Travellerspoint blog


Day 51: Last Full Day in Australia :-(

all seasons in one day 79 °F

Today was my last full day in Australia, which makes me sad, because I have now less than a week and a half left of my trip.

My family and I spent the day sightseeing around the Sydney area. I am not going to go into great detail, so if you would like to hear more about our day, check out my family's blog:

I did, however, take many photographs today, including the following:

My dad enjoys engaging me in one of his favorite pastimes, plane spotting. I snapped a couple photos of some big jets:

Emirates Airlines Airbus A380-800:

LAN (Chilean Airlines) Airbus A340:

The Sydney Opera House and the "Queen Victoria," a Cunard cruise ship:

A closer photo of the ship:

Here is a photo of the opera house framed by branches and leaves:

My little sister Pearl thought this looked like a pirate ship:

A couple of interesting sightings on the ferry was a surprising FLUTTERING SHEARWATER and an DARTER (a cormorant-like bird), which turned out to be my only life bird of the day.

I am getting excited about going to Bali, an island on Indonesia, for a week. I am sure to see many new and exotic birds and to be immersed in the culture of the island. Did you know that although the majority of the population of the Indonesian islands is Muslim, Bali's population is predominately Hindu? It will be interesting to see.

Stay tuned and good birding,

World Life List: 609 Species (1 new life bird today: Darter)

Posted by skwclar 01:50 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Day 50: Second Full Day in Sydney

semi-overcast 75 °F

Today was, as you can see from the title, my second of three full days in Sydney, Australia. Today was quite a milestone because it was my 50th full day of travel and now I have less than two more weeks of this trip. I am full of mixed emotions: sadness because I have seen so many amazing birds and this trip is nearly over, excitement to see new birds and get to know new culture in Indonesia and Singapore, and happiness because I am looking forward to seeing my friends back in Chicago again.

My family and I took a walking tour of Sydney today.

I saw a few nice birds, including the following:

This SULPHUR-CRESTED COCKATOO landed on the porch on our apartment while I was homeschooling with my mom. It was a nice break from algebra!

AUSTRALIAN WHITE IBIS, a surprising find in the city:



AUSTRALIAN MAGPIE. Notice that this bird has a black back, so it is a "black-backed morph" magpie. You can study the differences of a "black-backed" magpie (first photo), and the more common "white-backed" magpie (second photo):

The highlight of the day was touring the Sydney Sea Life aquarium, arguably the best aquarium in Australia.

At one point we walked through a glass tube that went through a huge tank. Sea life surrounded us, overhead and on all sides. It was awesome!

Here is a photo of my sister Pearl with a shark in the background:

Speaking of sharks, did you know that getting attacked by a shark is much less likely than winning the lottery? I certainly didn't.

It was a nice day.

Stay tuned, because tomorrow is my last full day in Australia, and it will be spent in the greater Sydney area.

Good birding,

World Life List: 608 Species (no new life birds today)

Posted by skwclar 02:06 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Day 49: Not Much Birding

overcast 74 °F

I find big cities most uninteresting. They are canyons of grim shades of gray, brown, and black, and there is nothing natural about them. Today was one of those days on our tour that my family and I spent touring Sydney, the largest city in Australia. It is "pretty" for a city, but for me, it's "seen one city, seen 'em all." I kept a positive attitude throughout the day (except when I stepped on a piece of gum), however, so that my family could have a good time.

I took a few architecture photos today, so Sebastian an any others who are into architecture should enjoy this post.

In order to get from our apartment in Manly, across the beautiful bay from Sydney, we took the city ferry to the downtown area. Here are some photos from on the ferry:

A cool ship:

The skyline, including the opera house and the bridge:

Close-up of the opera house:

You should like this one, Uncle Johnny, the "Carnival Spirit" was the awesome cruise ship moored next to our ferry when we arrived at Sydney.

Here is a photo of a SILVER GULL, which turned out to be one of the most common bird species seen throughout the day:

At one point during our tour of the downtown area we passed through this stunning arcade from 1891:

It was a nice day which I found a bit boring, but at least the rest of the family enjoyed it.

Bird-of-the-day to the SILVER GULL which was the only avian species to allow for a photo today.

Tomorrow will be the second and middle of our third full days in the Sydney area. The rest of our days in Australia, which are very limited at this point, will not be very focused on birding. After Australia, however, we go to Bali, Indonesia, which is sure to have much better and many more birds.

Good birding,

World Life List: 608 Species (no new life birds today)

Posted by skwclar 01:26 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Day 48: Ayers Rock to Sydney

all seasons in one day 89 °F

Today my family and I traveled from Ayers Rock in the center of Australia to Sydney, Australia's largest city, located on the eastern coast of the country.

After checking out of our hotel in the late morning, my family and I took one more drive along the perimeter road that encircles Ayers Rock. Here is a view of an especially astonishing face of the rock that isn't typically photographed:

We had lunch in the car, and soon after lunch we returned the car at the airport and checked in. After going through security, we waited for two or two and a half hours because our flight was seriously delayed. We were relieved when we got on the plane.

I took two last photos of Ayers Rock from the plane at the airport. The first one is a close-up of the rock and the second one showcases the clouds typical of the area, with the rock being in the lower left-hand corner of the photograph:

At the end of a pleasant flight our plane took a landing path that flew right past the city. We could see all of the famous Sydney landmarks...the bridges, the bay, the opera house, etc., it was really amazing.

After getting our bags in the airport, we took a train to a ferry and finally walked for ten minutes before my family and I arrived at our rental apartment which we will stay in for 4 nights. That means we have three full days in the Sydney area, which will be nice and relaxing after moving around a lot.

I didn't see many good birds, but a YELLOW-THROATED MINER was a nice surprise at a gas (here in Australia called petrol), station in the Ayers Rock area, so that will be the bird of the day.

Stay tuned, because tomorrow is our first of three full days in Sydney, Australia's largest city.

World Life List: 608 Species (no new life birds today)

Posted by skwclar 04:15 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Day 47: Another Day in "Paradise"

sunny 94 °F

Hello, today was my family and my full day in the Ayer's Rock area, the majority of which we spent battling intense heat and relentless flies.

When we stepped out of hotel room, the heat of the surrounding desert immediately came upon us, despite it being mid morning still. I saw this cool stick bug on the wall of the hotel (outside, thankfully):

The main excursion of the day was traveling to the Kata Tjuta Rocks before the worst of the heat at noontime. These "rocks," more like sheer mountain cliffs, are equally majestic as Ayers Rock in my opinion. Immediately as we stepped out of the car at a distant roadside lookout, which was the only one in the car-park at that time, a flock of CRESTED PIGEONS immediately came waddling to the car from out of the surrounding desert. We discovered that they relished taking refuge in the shade of the car. Here is a photo of one:

Here is the view of the Kata Tjuta Rocks from the distant lookout:

Our second and last stop for the Kata Tjuta Rocks was at a hike. It was a relatively short walk compared to other hikes I've completed, but it was one of the most strenuous because of the heat 90+ temps at that time, not to mention that the bugs which were constantly swarming us. The only person who thoroughly enjoyed the hike was our "vacation slave-driver" :-) my mom, and to be honest the views at the end of the hike were quite nice:

We had lunch on the drive back to our hotel and the rest of the afternoon was devoted to napping, homeschooling, and swimming in the hotel pool.

After a nice dinner, our family and I drove to the "sunset lookout" for Ayers Rock.

Along the way I spotted a number of BLACK KITES flying alongside the highway, including this one:

Ayers Rock at sunset was truly remarkable, with the colors of the rock ranging from brilliant orange-reds to rich russet browns and deep shades of brown-gray.

Since it was around bedtime for my little sister Pearl, she changed into her PJs in the car at that time. We all stayed in the car for the most part because of the relentless flies, and the sunset was equally remarkable from the car anyway. What I didn't know is that she had mischievously put her underpants in my hat. When I got out of the car to snap photos of the rock with my hat on, I had know idea that my sister's underwear was in my hat. I snapped the photos below and when I was walking back to the car, the underpants fell out! I could see the rest of my family erupt into laughter and I laughed also, but cried on the inside! :-)

Here are the photos of Ayers Rock at sunset. This progression of photos shows how the rock looked when the sun was at different stages off emerging from a passing cloud. This change in colors from the first to the last photos was witnessed in under two minutes.

On the way back to the hotel I snapped this photo of the distant silhouettes of the Kata Tjuta Rocks with a backdrop of the desert sunset:

Today was a third consecutive day of slightly lower morale for my family and I because of the intense heat and irritating flies. Today was our hottest day of the trip so far with temperatures topping out at 94 degrees and clear to partly cloudy skies.

Bird-of-the-day to the only lifer today, a solitary FORK-TAILED SWIFT that flew over while I was swimming in the pool.

Stay tuned for a hopefully better day tomorrow because we fly to Sydney, the largest city in Australia.

Good birding,

World Life List: 608 Species (1 new life bird today)

Posted by skwclar 03:38 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

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