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Outback in Australia

Well I have to say if you’d asked me about going to Australia with all of the other wonderful places I wanted to visit on my list, it wouldn’t have featured very high, but when my daughter decided to move out there my priorities changed somewhat.

Well, after flying to Darwin in the Northern Territories where we were going to be based, it took a couple of days to get into a routine. A few days keeping an eye on the  back garden and local park helped as everything was a new species. It’s  quite an eye opener when your sitting in the back garden and the first bird you see is a spectacular Rainbow Bee-eater.It’s a strange thing about wildlife watching in a different country, you see something at the beginning and it’s wow look at that and quite often by the time your heading home it’s oh what’s that oh another bee-eater or whatever it is, I have to say although Rainbow Bee-eaters seem to be more common than bee-eaters I’ve seen anywhere else they are so stunning you couldn’t complain.

From exploring Kakadu, to checking out local parks and the coastline around Darwin,  it produced many wonderful wildlife memories and photos mainly birds but that’s not a problem in my book.

Like most trips abroad the internet is a godsend regarding where and when things might be and it certainly helped  in Australia as we didn’t use a local guide .

98 species of bird in the month we were there doesn’t sound a lot but I have to confess I was more than pleased with this along with a few mammals reptiles and insects( mainly butterfly’s) .

All being well a return to Australia is on the cards and exploring further afield is now an exciting thought.

So watch this space.

Footsteps in The Gambia

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There was a time, when people would say to me that they were going back to the same place on holiday that they’d been to for the previous so many years, I would look at them and think why don’t you go somewhere different.  Well having just returned to The Gambia for the fourth time I can possibly see why this happens. We’ve stayed at different places each time we’ve stayed in The Gambia and they’ve all been great for different reasons. This time we stayed at Footsteps eco-Lodge and we were wonderfully looked after by David White and his staff (that includes Seven his dog).  We stayed in the Gunjur region in a lovely out of the way location, so stepping out of the gates of the lodge where we stayed and just wandering around the local area with just the wildlife and a few locals to pass the time of day with was perfect for us.

November was the earliest we’ve been to The Gambia and it was noticeable that certain birds weren’t there that we’d seen previously, only because they hadn’t arrived yet. The vegetation was still very green and dense due to the fact that it was right at the beginning of the dry season. An unseasonal downpour on our first night was a bit strange as we’d never experienced rain in The Gambia before so that’s another first for us. The rest of our stay was taken up with visiting various local bird watching sites and generally chilling out at footsteps where we were treated like royalty (I think having a surname of prince was the reason lol). So would we go back? Like a shot providing we can find enough time and money to go to all the other places we want go to as well.

Siege in Somerset ?

Well i have to admit i’ve heard a lot about the Somerset levels over the years but until now i’ve never been anywhere near them (so many places not enough time) .I have now rectified this by packing my bins and camera and rumbling down the motorway to Edington a tiny village about 5 minutes from a multitude of reserves( i know life can be tough but sometimes one has to make these sacrifices).When their is wildlife so close its definitely easier getting out earlier  in the morning and the reasonable weather helped (i know what a wimp i am). Anyway up nearly every morning a short drive and i was right in the middle of a multitude of reserves .Reeds ,Wildflowers,birds and bugs in abundance absolute heaven and as for the siege. Well according to springwatch a collective of Bitterns is a siege so if three is a collective heres my siege with a couple of other sightings.
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Poole Harbour

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When you arrive at a place and one of the first sights you see is a view like this one at RSPB Arne, of Poole Harbour you get the feeling it’s going to be a good weekend. It’s a great place to chill out and explore, and as well as Arne if you’re into wildlife or even just like nice walks there are places all around the harbour. There is also the added bonus of the national trusts little gem Brownsea Island in the middle of the harbour. A great little boat trip from Poole quay or Sandbanks and a wonderful place to explore. Nesting terns in spring and red squirrels (best seen in the autumn) among a mass of other things to be seen. So many places, need more time and money lol.