P-p-pick up a penguin

We leave the luxuries of Pumphouse Point behind us, and continue west along empty roads that wind up and down mountains, in and out of the mist. We call at several scenic spots along the way, the best of which is Nelson Falls:

tasmania-nelson-falls-2016-4

But we push on, aiming for the coast. Our destination is Strahan (which, for some unexplained reason, is pronounced to rhyme with yawn), and we can’t delay as we have an appointment with a penguin.

Fairy Penguins are the smallest species of penguin in the world, and the only one coloured blue and white rather than black and white. They breed at several locations around Tasmania (we’ve already seen a couple on Bruny Island), including Bonnet Island which lies close to the entrance to Macquarie Harbour, just a few miles from Strahan.

The penguins only come ashore after dark, so we take a boat trip out to Bonnet Island just as the sun is setting. It’s a tiny outcrop, rocky and tree-covered.  To avoid scaring the birds we have to use torches that have been adapted so they only throw out red light.  This makes them difficult to see and to photograph, but obviously the welfare of the birds comes first.  And, as bonus, on our way to the island, we are briefly joined by a pod of Common Dolphins cavorting and playing around our little boat.

tasmania-bonnet-island-cruise-fairy-penguin-2016-3

Julie won’t mind me saying that this photo of two penguins hiding under a bush won’t win any prizes, but it’s great just to get and to be able to share the evidence of our success. Fairy Penguins were one of the bird species we most wanted to see on our trip, and we’ve done it.

[20 November]

Author: Platypus Man

"Platypus" is a red herring: I'm English, although my blogging career began in my record of a 2016 road trip to Tasmania. Other blogs followed covering road trips in Newfoundland (2017), the Yellowstone area of the USA (2018) and New Zealand (2019). My current project is "Now I'm 64" , a weekly blog covering UK travel and wildlife, along with bits of history, social commentary and moans about the injustice of aging. I can guarantee a few laughs, and also the occasional rant. Some of it's even quite well written!

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