Saturday, March 26, 2016

Semaphore kite Festival

Today we spent a pleasant afternoon at the Semaphore Kite Festival. When we arrived, it was pretty much calm, and there were very few kites flying, but the afternoon sea breeze soon started to blow, and the sky filled with more and more kites.

There were specially shaped kites as well as more traditionally shaped ones.

There seemed to be a bit of a maritime theme going on with many of the special shapes.

Here are a few more shots from the festival.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Perth Aviation Heritage Museum

While in Perth I also visited the Heritage Aviation Museum which is run by the Royal Australian Air Force Association (RAAFA).  I would recommend a visit.  At only $10 entry for adults it is outstanding value.  More information about the museum can be found here.

Here are some of the aircraft on display:

Mounted outside the museum is a Supermarine Spitfire Mk22 (Replica)

Consolidated PBY Catalina

Bell UH-1 Huey

Macchi MB-326 H

CAC CA-5 Wirraway

Avro Anson

Avro Lancaster

English Electric Canberra

This is a great little museum, with knowledgeable, helpful volunteers. I recommend a visit if you are in Perth and have a spare hour or two!

Christmas in Perth

This year we visited family in Perth for Christmas.  I managed to do a little birding while I was there, and added two "lifers" (bird species seen for the first time). It was very warm there, with every day over 30C (86F) and a couple of days over 40C (104F), so birding wasn't easy. I had made contact with a couple of local birders through a birdwatching e-mail list so I had some local spots to try.

One of the most common birds around Perth's northern suburbs is the local variant of the Australian Ringneck, "Twenty-eight Parrot". These were seen in the garden everyday
The local park was also "birdy" with many common species. They are also used to people so gave good opportunities to get close. Australian White Ibis and Pacific Black Duck were plentiful, and tucked in amongst them was a Female Musk Duck.

Further along the lake edge were some Little Black Cormorants, Maned duck, lots of Little Corellas and Straw-necked Ibis.

One of my target species was Western Wattlebird, but every Wattlebird I got my binoculars on to was a Red Wattlebird.

I had a day trip out with a local birder, but it was very hot and tough going.  At one little waterhole we did find a couple of endemic Baudin's Cockatoos, along with some Red-tailed Black Cockatoos.

One spot I wanted to try was Victoria Dam. It held two of my target species, as well as two other endemic species.  There were a few gum trees in blossom, and both Singing and Brown Honeyeaters took full advantage. The local Golden Whistler was in good voice letting everyone know he was there.

Splendid Fairywren is by far the most common of the fairywrens here, I even saw them in a reserve only metres from dense housing. At Victoria Dam I was almost tripping over them! While photographing them, I saw a small movement out of the corner of my eye, and got a nice surprise! A Western Rosella, my first lifer of the trip.


Other common birds here were Yellow-rumped Thornbill and Laughing Dove. While checking through the fairywrens and thornbills I almost missed lifer number two, Red-eared Firetail.

all in all a great trip, and a lovely finish to 2015.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Jamestown Airshow 2015

On Sunday, with some friends, we made an early start and headed up through the Clare Valley to the Mid North, and Jamestown for their triennial airshow. There was a fierce crosswind blowing that meant some displays were cancelled, but that did not phase the wing-walker whose display had us all holding our breath! (almost)

The airshow programme was a great mix of aircraft. There were vintage planes of all shapes and sizes from the luxurious Stinson of the 1930s to the giant russian Antonov An2 built from the late 40s.

There were aerobatics from high performance stunt planes like the Giles G-202 and the Extra 300, but Paul Bennet in his Pitts Special stole the show with his amazing display, and then his crazy stunt involving a motorbike jumping over him.

There were jets in the air, (L139 Albatross and Aermacci S211) and on the ground were the jet car powered by an engine from a Sabreliner executive jet showed it acceleration. (The pyrotechnics also started a fire and kept the local CFS busy

But everyone had really come to see the warbirds, vintage military aircraft. WW1 was represented by a replica Nieuport 11.  I didn't realise they had GPS in WW1!

The Trojan, from the Korean and Vietnam eras is one of my favourites, as is the CAC Boomerang which saw service in WW2

The P40 Kittyhawk always give a good show, and the kids love those sharksteeth!

The real highlight for me though was the Grumman TBM Avenger, a huge beast of a plane with a 14 cylinder engine that powered around the skies.