Australia / Travel / Video / Wildlife

Trip to South Australia

24 Mar ’13

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The christmas break was another great opportunity to discover a bit more of Australia. With two weeks off and after many plan changes it was decided to head down to South Australia with the two main point of the visit being the bird life of Gluepot and then hop over to Kangaroo Island. Gluepot  is a BirdLife Australia funded Reserve. Holidays need two things, new subjects to photograph and adventure. Fact. Taking a Nissan Pulsar 97′ full of camping/photography/freediving gear on the dirt tracks of South Australia was definitively a good adventure. The soaring (at least for me) temperature (43 on our arrival at the station) also added fun to it. The reserve was explored as much as we could and we got lucky a few times enabling me to bring back some new images. 

Les vacances de noël furent encore une bonne occasion de découvrir un peu plus l’Australie. Avec pres de deux semaines de congés et des plans qui n’ont pas arrété de changer on a décidé d’aller au sud avec pour principaux objectifs visiter la reserve de Gluepot and ensuite de faire un saut sur Kangaroo Island. Gluepot est une reserve gérée par l’organisation non gouvernementale BirdLife Australia. Pour moi les vacances ont besoin de deux ingrédients, des nouveaux sujets a photographier et de l’aventure. Prendre la route (enfin la piste sableuse) dans une Nissan Pulsar de 97 remplie a craquer de matériel photo, de plongée et de camping remplissait certainement la catégorie aventure. Il faisait plus de 43 degrés a notre arrivée a Gluepot, une atmosphère sèche qui vous fait boire tout vos glaçons en 1 apres-midi. La réserve va être explorée au maximum de notre capacité pendant les jours qui suivent, on a donc pu faire des images décentes.

Sand Monitor (Varanus gouldii) in Gluepot © Nicolas Rakotopare

Sand Monitor (Varanus gouldii) found foraging in Gluepot.

There are bird hides setup in several location. In days of extreme heat, they are the best spot to observe birds. Il y a des gite d’observations placés a plusieurs endroits stratégiques dans la réserve. Pendant les journées de chaleur extreme c’est le meilleur endroit pour observer une grande variété d’espece a condition d’être patient.

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater (Acanthagenys rufogularis) © Nicolas Rakotopare

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater (Acanthagenys rufogularis)

Chestnut-rumped Thornbill (Acanthiza uropygialis) by © Nicolas Rakotopare

Chestnut-rumped Thornbill (Acanthiza uropygialis)

Using a gopro3 and the wifi function I was able to film some of them up close. It was just a few test but i am keen to expand the use of  that technology. J’ai utilisé ma GoPro3 et la fonction wifi pour me permettre de faire des videos rapprochées. Le résultat dans la vidéo ci dessous.

Brown Treecreeper (Climacteris picumnus) by © Nicolas Rakotopare

Brown Treecreeper (Climacteris picumnus), a really common sight when walking through the mallee forest.

Mallee Ringneck (Barnardius zonarius barnardi) by © Nicolas Rakotopare

Mallee Ringneck (Barnardius zonarius barnardi), some colours in the outback.

Being the only two person (besides the rangers) camping in that amazing piece of remnant malee was a great feeling. Etre les deux seuls personnes, a part les rangers, dans tout le parc a camper dans cette foret primaire de mallee, un type d’eucalyptus, fut vraiment magique.

Camping site at Gluepot

Empty camping site at Gluepot Birds Reserve. A great experience.

We went spotlighting two nights in  a row. Humidity was not right for the pigmy geckos but that beaded gecko (Lucasium damaeum) was a really cool find! On a des fait des recherches nocturnes deux nuits d’affilées, bien que l’humidité n’ai pas été bonne pour les geckos pygmées, on a trouvé ce gecko (Lucasium damaeum).

Beaded Gecko (Diplodactylus damaeus) by © Nicolas Rakotopare

Beaded Gecko (Diplodactylus damaeus) found while spotlighting in Gluepot.

Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo island also had its lot of surprises and wildlife. Below is a Hooded-plover (Thinornis rubricollis). it was with great amazement that we observed a pair flying in and out of the beach to wet their bellies and fly back to the hind dune and cool down their eggs. They are listed in most states, if you happen to see some down your beaches make sure to disturb them at minimal levels, and if you have dogs make sure they cannot get close to them as they are a major threat. Kangaroo Island nous a aussi réservé son lot de surprises. En dessous est un Pluvier à camail (Thinornis rubricollis). On a pu observer une paire faire des va et vient sur la plage pour mouiller leur plumes ventrales et retourner au nid rafraichir les oeufs. Un superbe spectacle. Si vous en croisez sur vos plages, faites attention a ne pas les déranger de trop pres et surveillez vos chiens qui sont une menace pour cette espece deja  classifiée Vulnerable (IUCN).

Hooded Plover on Kangaroo Island. South Australia © Nicolas Rakotopare.

Hooded Plover (Thinornis rubricollis) on Kangaroo Island. South Australia. This bird is listed as Vulnerable (IUCN). © Nicolas Rakotopare.

Hooded Plover (Thinornis rubricollis) on Kangaroo Island. South Australia. © Nicolas Rakotopare

Hooded Plover (Thinornis rubricollis) on Kangaroo Island. South Australia. It is currently wetting it’s belly and fly back to his nest to cool down the eggs by applying the wet feathers on top. © Nicolas Rakotopare.

On the north of the Island, along the cliffs you can observe New Zealand Fur Seals (Arctocephalus forsteri). Sur la partie Nord de l’ile on a pu photographier des Otarie à fourrure de Nouvelle-Zélande (Arctocephalus forsteri).

Australian Sea Lion (Neophoca cinerea) breed and live on one beach on Kangaroo Island. It is probably the main reason why people visit the Island. It is not the most intimate and lengthy encounter with the wildlife but having to use a guided tour to see them is for their own welfare as if not restricted people would probably be people and do silly things… Les lion de mer australien (Neophoca cinerea) ne se reproduisent que sur une seule plage de l’ile. C’est une des raisons pour lesquelles on ne peut les observer sans les services d’un trou guidée par un ranger. Ce n’est pas la rencontre la plus privée mais c’est le prix a payer pour observer ces superbes animaux, et aussi pour leur bien.

Australian sea lion (Neophoca cinerea) by © Nicolas Rakotopare

Australian sea lion (Neophoca cinerea) posing in Seal Bay. Kangaroo Island.

Not much action going on at the colony, most of them were asleep enjoying the sunlight. Tres peu d’action a la colonie, c’est plutot l’heure de la sieste.

Australian sea lion (Neophoca cinerea) by Kangaroo Island.

Juvenile australian sea lion (Neophoca cinerea) resting on the beach.

Australian sea lion (Neophoca cinerea) by Kangaroo Island.

Australian sea lion (Neophoca cinerea) sleeping on the beach.

Some behaviour, even if just a cute pup getting milk from its mum, was a great observation and a good moment to get different images. Enfin un peu de `comportement`, meme si il ne s’agit que d’un jeune allaité par sa mere, est une occasion pour une image différente.

Australian sea lion (Neophoca cinerea) by © Nicolas Rakotopare. Kangaroo Island.

Young australian sea lion (Neophoca cinerea) drinking milk on the beach.

One of the things that Kangaroo Island is also famous for its diving with Leafy Sea Dragon (Phycodurus eques). On yet another very hot day it was a pleasure to jump in the water, cruise under the jetty and search for that amazing sea creature. Une des choses pour laquelle Kangaroo Island est reconnue c’est la plongée avec les dragons de mer (ce n’est pas leur vrai nom commun) mais je les appelles comme ca! C’est vraiment un animal incroyable.

Leafy seadragon (Phycodurus eques) by © Nicolas Rakotopare

Leafy seadragon (Phycodurus eques) at Kingscote Jetty shot with a GoPro3. This animal is endemic to south/West Australia and not much is known about him.

I will end on a panorama shot of Remarkable Rocks. Located at the south tip of the island is it has been carved by wind and water over the years. Je vais terminer par un panorama d’une formation rocheuse tres fameuse présente sur l’ile.

Remarkable Rocks, Flinders Chase National Park by © Nicolas Rakotopare

Remarkable Rocks, Flinders Chase National Park.

Great two weeks on the road. The gear has performed flawless and I am more and more in love with my 7D – 300 F/2.8 combination. Australia, by being such a large and diverse continent, will never cease to amaze me. Deux semaines magiques, le matériel n’a pas subit une seule panne et je suis toujours plus content du duo 7D + 300 mm F/2.8.

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I am a nature photographer specialising in wildlife photography. I have a special passion for this type of photography which comes from my background as an ecologist & conservation biologist.

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