Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter Weekend

Previous to this weekend, everyone had seen a Koala in the wild except Brian.  I saw my first one a couple of weeks ago on Will's school excursion.  Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me.  We aren't allowed to take pictures at school because of child safety reasons.  While I understand and respect that, it's a bummer not being able to take pictures of your children in school plays, but I digress.  It would've been too much to have kept up with one of the kids in my group and take photos at the same time.

Nathan saw Koalas on his excursion as well.  Since the Tilligerry Boardwalk is a well known place to see Koalas and Nathan wanted us to show us where he went, off we were to the Boardwalk.

We stopped in at the welcome center and were greeted by a couple.  I think it had been a slow day and they were happy to see us.  The husband immediately walked us outside to where he knew a Koala was.

Sorry his back was turned.  I tried to get a picture from the other side, but his face was still hidden.  It's not my fault that Eucalyptus leaves basically make Koalas high and thus they sleep so much!  Nathan's fun fact for everyone - the Eucalyptus is poisonous to humans, but Koalas are cool because they can digest the leaves!

I was surprised at how big Koalas actually are.  For some reason I had it in my head that they would be smaller.  They are pretty hard creatures to spot since their color blends into the tree.  Apparently in December they run rampant looking for mates.  Almost everyone we've talked to has a story about a Koala running across their path to get to another tree. 

I was thrilled that I found another Koala on my own in the trees later in the day.  I don't actually have a picture since I don't have a telephoto lens - yet.  I'm waiting on the one I ordered to be delivered as an early Mother's Day present.

The gentleman also told us about the boardwalk area.  It is a reclaimed space that used to be a sand mine for minerals.  In the past 15 years an operation of volunteers has tended the area to attempt to bring it back to it's original habitat.  They have their own nursery of indigenous plants that is used not only for their habitat, but also for income.  Apparently they have contracts with several of the mining companies that use Tilligerry as their sole source when replanting after mining.  It's a pretty impressive venture for a group run only by volunteers. 

After talking with us for a minute, he sent us on our way.  The boardwalk runs mainly around the bay, which was at low tide.  I would be curious to go back at high tide.  Nathan claims to have seen stingrays and dolphins.

A heron wading
When I was taking this picture, we were trying to figure out what all the little dots in the foreground were.  They began to move and we decided they were probably crabs.  I climbed down to investigate.  They only way I can describe it is a swarm of these little guys.  It looked like they were being herded by the bigger crabs into the tidal pools and underground.  I stood still long enough to get a picture of one so you can see a bit of detail.

Mere seconds before Will terrified him
We found out that these are called Soldier Crabs.  They have different legs then most crabs and are therefore able to walk forward, instead of having to sidle along.  They also move in large groups, like soldiers marching. 

After a bit more wandering we headed home to dye Easter eggs.  This isn't a local tradition at all, so I bought food coloring instead of a kit.  The only eggs around here are brown ones and I was concerned about how they would take the color.  I did a little bit of Internet research - thank goodness for Google! - and found out that it shouldn't be a problem, they just needed to soak longer in the dye.  We had the boys drop the eggs in and then go play for about 10 minutes for the first round.  When they came out, it was apparent that these were the most saturated eggs we have ever dyed.  We told the boys after the first round they could leave the eggs in for as long or as little as they wanted.  Interestingly, they mostly left the eggs in for a fairly long time because they loved the rich colors, as did we.

Proud of their work
My favorite egg is the blue on closest to Nathan.  Will liked the red ones and Nathan liked the dark purple one in the front row closest to him.  We had fun hiding the eggs for the boys - they blended into things beautifully!

The rest of the weekend was a fairly normal one.  Church on Sunday and hanging out at the beach most of the rest of the time.  Brian had Good Friday and Easter Monday off of work.  He has been fairly busy for the past few weeks, so it was nice to just relax and be together.

We will be off to the Sydney Royal Easter Show soon.  I'm really looking forward to it.  It looks like a State Fair sort of event.  We're spending the night and then heading in for a full day there.  It's held on the Olympic Grounds, which I'm looking forward to seeing as well!  Hopefully my new lens will be in by that point....

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