Sunday, 21 February 2010

Scooter can stand

Found the swans along the Franklin foreshore today. I almost missed them, looking across the river with binoculars, when they were swimming about only a few metres from me. Just need to look down sometimes. Scooter seems well, and I watched him stand in the shallows on his one working leg. He had occasional balance problems, but otherwise seems to manage this OK. I still haven't seen him fully out of the water, and I don't know if or how he would do this. All the cygnets are getting darker and larger all the time, so it can be hard to tell whether you're looking at a juvenile or an adult depending on the light.

Scooter, front, and one of his siblings - 21st February 2010
Scooter standing on on eleg to preen - 21st february 2010

Monday, 15 February 2010

Water Quality should sink this government

Shocking and occasionally hilarious program on Australian Story tonight. How a government becomes so beholden to vested interests that it refuses to even try to look after the people who elect it, own it and should be protected by it. Dr Alison Bleaney was profiled, along with her story of the contamination of water in the Georges River in NE Tasmania. we can hope the transcript isn't far behind. Amongst others presented as speaking for the Tasmanian "government" were Steve Kons and Bryan Green, showing a (for me) hilarious contrast in credibility with Dr Bleaney and her partner-in-subversion, Dr Marcus Scammell. Another episode to come next week apparently. Just like Dr Who! The Master has replaced all the inhabitants of Earth with himself, creating the Master Race. If only little Davey Bartlett had a machine like him....

Saturday, 13 February 2010

The swan family make a visit

Since I don't watch for them continually, but visit Franklin every two or three days to see if they're about, I don't know how often they now visit the Franklin foreshore. They have often been absent, presumably because they have a need to be elsewhere on the river. This evening though, they were around, and all looking very well. Scooter is the smaller, lighter and fluffier cygnet. His single-legged swimming appears to work quite well, and I didn't see any bullying from either his parents or siblings. Maybe he's learnt to "fit in".

Scooter, rear, and one of his siblings - 13th February 2010
Scooter - 13th February 2010
Sccoter, top right, and family - 13th February 2010
One of Sccoter's siblings, showing maturing plumage - 13th February 2010

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Nevada Peak - 6th and 7th February 2010

Mount Anne from Nevada Peak - 6th February 2010

Mount Anne from Nevada Peak

The Anne Range is especially prominent across the Weld Valley from Nevada Peak, and the setting sun lit the mist very nicely the other day.

Campsite beside upper Snowdrift Tarn, Nevada Peak - 6th February 2010Had a great overnight visit to Nevada Peak, camping at the upper Snowdrift Tarn with absolute waterfrontage. The nearest neighbour was at the lowest Snowdrift Tarn, and they kept the noise down! Nevada Peak is one of the loveliest walks in the Huon area, and is relatively unknown, due to (i) the walk start being hidden obscurely up forestry tracks with no signs and (ii) the fact that National Parks have it listed as a wilderness "route" that shouldn't be publicised. If you want details of the walk I can provide them to people who agree not to publicise them and will only take small groups. Check the "walk description" (such as it is!) at Walk the Huon and email me from there.

Unidentified spider on pandanni, Nevada Peak Track - 6th February 2010This walk has a solid climb, part of which is quite tree-rooty and convoluted, so opportunities for photography (read, excuses to 'pause') were welcome. This little spider was wandering about on a pandanni, and this was my first grab-shot of him. I tried to carefully set up a couple more but he kept moving, so this was the best.

Snowy South in evening mist from Nevada Peak - 6th February 2010The tarn is about 20 minutes steep climb below the summit, so I was able to visit the summit twice, once on Saturday evening and then again early on Sunday morning. The descent in the evening was assisted by torchlight after I'd waited until the sun actually set behind the Anne Range. Views were marvellous and I thought I was pretty fortunate to see both sunset and sunrise from the peak. The wind, although quite gentle and easterly was quite chilly and I ended up shivering both times as I wandered about madly taking photos. The view from the summit is dominated by Mount Ann (top picture) and Mount Weld, but also includes dozens of other peaks. Snowy South (left) is close and prominent to the south along the ridge of the Snowy Range.

Dawn behind Snowy South - 7th February 2010A chilly torchlit start on Sunday was rewarded with lovely dawn and sunrise colours in the view, basically around 360 degrees. I have more pictures on Picasa. This view was south-easterly and sees Snowy South silhouetted along the ridge, and the upper Snowdrift Tarn where my tent was.

Northerly view along Snowy Range to Snowy North from Nevada Peak - 7th February 2010The view to the north along the ridge is marvellous. Here Snowy North can be seen a few kilometres north, draped in morning mist, beyond the large boulders near the summit of Nevada Peak. A walk north along the ridge might be interesting, but possibly scrubby. I understand this area provides some good cross-country skiing when there's a decent snow cover. The Mt Field mountains are visible in the top left. On this occasion I returned via Woolleys Tarn which does add a bit of extra time to the walk but provides variety.

Photos at Picasa

Monday, 8 February 2010

Hartz Peak - 30th January 2010

On 30th and 31st January they ran Targa Wrest Point, a sort of mini-Targa Tasmania along the roads in Kingborough and the Huon Valley which have been deemed either uneconomic or not suitable for inclusion in the real Targa. It's quite spectacular, and I noted that the cars were going to pass the end of the Hartz Mountains Road 4 times during Saturday. I made sure I got there before they closed the road, and was duly barricaded in. Anyway, having photographed the cars driving once in each direction I headed up to the Hartz. Scenery spectacular as always, but today some sights closer to the ground.

Alpine Sundews (Drosera arcturi), Hartz Mountains - 30th January 2010While trying to photograph these Alpine Sundews (Drosera arcturi)...

Tassie Hopper (Russalpia albertisi), Hartz Mountains - 30th January 2010...I noticed this fellow behind them. He came out quite well. He avoided becoming stuck on a sundew too. Not sure a sundew could 'eat' a grasshopper this big though. My book Wings (Elizabeth Daley) identifies him as a Tassie Hopper, Russalpia albertisi.

White-Lipped Whipsnake (Drysdalia coronoides), Hartz Mountains - 30th January 2010On the way back down the steep bit above Ladys Tarn this White-Lipped Whipsnake (Drysdalia coronoides) evaded me. I've seen these little snakes several time in this vicinity. It is understood that generally whip snakes pose little danger as they have very small mouth and fangs, however Snakes and Lizards of Tasmania (Hutchinson, Swain & Driessen) says "if handled these snakes bite repeatedly". I'll avoid handling them then! My mum was pretty sure one bit her once, but even the doctor wasn't sure when she eventually went to see him.

"Scooter" swims on

I've decided the injured cygnet looks like someone riding a scooter when he paddles about, because he makes big thrusts with just his right leg. So, *he's* Scooter. Also, he's still swimming about. Haven't seen the family for about a week, but they were near the Wooden Boat School again yesterday afternoon and this morning. Scooter is in the middle preening. he's obviously smaller and less developed than his siblings.

Scooter was waggling his injured leg a lot. I wondered if he was working out how to make it do something useful. It appears that the lower joint doesn't work, but he was able to slap the water with it. Anyway, he did manage to lift himself out of the water like his parents and siblings, and flap his rather small wings. I haven't seen him do that before.