Sunday, 13 May 2012

Captain Matthew Flinders RN (1774 - 1814)

There was only one reason for driving the 320Km to Cape Leeuwin in the south west corner of Australia

and THIS was it, Larus Pacificus with any sub-adult birds being of particular interest.
I don't ever remember another Gull with proportionately such a colossal bill, even though Cape Gull has a big and possibly 'longer' one I doubt its of this size?

Standing on the very tip of FLINDER'S BAY, the Cape is the only place I had previously seen this mighty Gull, but on that visit in 2007 only a single adult, in flight, was seen during a 2 weeks stay. There had been much to see on the way down, but all focus was on

that all else seemed to go by the board.

Nearing the destination, it was no more than a hunch to alter course to port and visit the caravan camp, often good for birds generally, which paid off a treat! A Gull that takes 4 years to mature, at this single site there were, along with a few adults, examples of

 First Winter

 and as the Field Guide describes altogether paler Second Winter birds

Now, if it's good enough for the birds to ignore the signs, then it's 'free gangway' for me!

The camp proved productive with a few other sightings including

INLAND THORNBIRD (wot, on the coast?)




Eventually I managed to pull myself away from the new found 'hot spot' to drive the remaining few miles to

where stands a commemorative plaque to Captain Matthew Flinders RN the distinguished navigator and cartographer, who was first to circumnavigate Australia and identify it as a continent. Most sailors will be familiar with the name after his innovation to place a vertical 'soft iron' bar, in a tube on the fore side of a compass binnacle. The Flinders bar is used to counteract the vertical magnetism inherent within a ship and is usually calibrated as part of the process known as swinging the compass, (my 'winger' Captain Lifton will know all about that - he made his fortune doing it) where deviations caused by this magnetism are negated by the use of horizontal (or quadrantal) correctors. Couldn't have put it better myself!

CAPE LEEUWIN LIGHTHOUSE seen from the north.

None will be more pleased than I to be waking up to a Post this morning. I do feel rather like Ban Ki-moon (Secretary-General of the United Nations) this morning having been in long negotiations to get something of a permanent Internet Access. In addition, my new approach to the Google F.U. also seems to be working, but maybe a little early to start 'crowing' just yet. I now hope to be with you until the end of the trip - whenever that is! KEEP YOUR FINGERS CROSSED - Thanks.

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