Wildlife and New Friends in Garry's Anchorage

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An enormous and very strong High pressure system became stationary in the Great Australian Bight, so we found a safe anchorage while the southeasterlies blew and heavy rain approached. Garry’s Anchorage is about three quarters of the distance south in the Great Sandy Straits, and is popular with cruisers for its all-round protection in inclement weather. As usual, we anchored away from other boats, and fortunately were close enough to the shore to see the wildlife. I used the long telephoto lens on our digital SLR camera to photograph what I discovered with our binoculars. The tidal range was about two and a half meters, rising and falling over a sandy beach bordered by mangroves. Such a habitat attracts a complex food web of wildlife. As we entered the anchorage we saw a mother Caspian Tern tutoring her chick.

From ADAGIO we watched numerous types of shore birds feeding on the beach during the day. A Curlew with a very long, downturned beak probed the sand for tidbits. A flock of Godwits flew in, and even the dancing Willie Wagtail appeared on the scene, begging the Curlew for a taste of its catch. A heron flew along the shore. A beautiful Brahminy Kite, called the Singapore Bald Eagle in Southeast Asia, perched in a dead tree each morning and evening scanning the surroundings for a meal. On the opposite shore, I watched a Great Egret, Australian Pelican and Ibis.

We made new friends with two of the other cruising boats in the anchorage, KIDNAPPER and ESCONDIDO. They invited us to join them for a walk ashore. I was introduced to a bright blue Soldier Crab, and later watched a Curlew catch one. There were fresh Dingo tracks in the sand from the morning, and large round depressions on the beach had been created by Stingrays at high tide. As we walked along the forest road, a Whipbird sang its unusual song, described as a “loud, ringing, whip-crack call,” which, during breeding season, is instantly answered by the female Whiipbird. You can hear it by clicking on this link: www.birdsaustralia.com.au—australian-bird-calls.html

Watching the day-long drama of wildlife nearby was a real treat.

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