Yesterday, after a rather excruciatingly long flight, I arrived in Armidale. I’m spending two weeks here with the FEAR Lab, doing some modelling work. I’ll obviously report on that, but for now I just want to dump a bunch of photos on you.
This is a shot from my stopover in Sydney, where I went through immigration and – surprise! had to stand in line again for customs. Well, quarantine….. which makes a lot of sense, seeing how Australia has a flora and fauna totally separated from much of the rest of the world. Therefore, they do a quick check of what people and luggage they want to check in detail at the customs check, and that caused a line to form. This little incident made being on a totally different continent quite real for me.
Oh, and as you can see, all of Sydney easily fits under an A-380 wing 😉
Unsurprisingly, a totally different fauna also means totally different birds. So far, I’ve only seen one species of bird that I’ve seen before outside zoos – unsurprisingly the European starling. Other than that Armidale is full of Australian magpies (Cracticus tibicen), above on the antenna of my hotel, who make their ubiquitous presence very well heard all over town. Being used to corvids making “koww” of “cawh” sounds, it is weird to hear a bird that looks just like one imitating a flute, from which they got their German name of Flötenvogel (flute bird).
I also saw several kookaburras, Dacelo novaeguineae. This one flew in and sat on the playground equipment in a park while I stood a few meters away.
A red wattlebird (Anthochaera carunculata) – I heard a lot of them, and saw several.
and lots more – for two hours of walking around town(!) I photographed a surprisingly large number of taxa.
Yes, welcome to Oz, Heinrich! Just don’t bring any of your foreign fruit flies, weevils, borers, nematodes, or soil bacteria with you.
I’m in Perth, 3,500 km to your west, and we even have quarantine checks for people arriving from the other states, since the Nullarbor and other deserts generally keep us isolated from pests and diseases in the east. Well, except for cane toads which have managed to infiltrate the north of the state.
European Starlings are on the Eradication Schedule and are shot on sight over here.
I’m sure you know that the Aussie magpie is a not a corvid but a butcherbird, altho’ it fills a pretty similar ecological niche. Hopefully you get to hear a bunch of them carrolling in the morning or evening. With any luck you’ll see/hear a willie wagtail, too.
Mark, no fruit flies, weevils, borers, nematodes, soil bacteria – as far as I can tell 😉 And as I said: I do understand.
and yes, Aussie magpie is not a corvid, I already updated the post.