After a few frosty mornings through Winter, we’re not the only ones taking advantage of warm sunny days on the river. We’d hardly dragged the kayaks back out of the shed and taken a few early tours when we had a surprise new visitor in the river – a New Zealand fur seal! Having lived in the area for 37 years and been paddling the river for over 20, this is definitely a first for us. We saw her/him first just resting and enjoying the sun on a sandy river bank across from our boat ramp and assumed she/he was unwell. Not so!
What on earth is that?! It’s huge!
A few days later we were on tour with three lovely ladies when one yelled “what on earth is that?!” and then “it’s huge!”. By now, I was starting to panic. What on earth had she seen? And the next thing, up popped a glistening whiskered head – our seal was back. Well actually, she/he hadn’t really gone far. So let’s look at it this way: a seal loves to eat fish – right? And their main predators are big things like killer whales and sharks – right again? Well the shallow waters downriver prevent any of these big things getting into our section of river. And the river is choc-full of fish – schooling mullet by the thousands have become a pretty easy feed for ‘Sasha’ (well it has to be a name for either male or female and ‘Sammy’ is way too over-used).
What’s been amazing is the distance this lovely creature is covering. Friends downriver have seen it fairly close to the shallows so you can imagine the shock we got when we were on tour 15km upriver from the mouth and there it was again – literally gorging itself on fish.
Nature can put on some amazing spectacles for us and a day after seeing the seal way upriver, we were on tour again and noticed several fish just on the edge of the river. Not smelly so obviously pretty fresh. The place was swarming with birds of several species: 2 pelicans, a flock of black cormorants, some over-protective plovers, a few magpies and a couple of crows. Add a juvenile white-bellied sea eagle and a whistling kite and we had a cacaphony of birdcalls. We’re pretty sure the seal was about and assume it had swarmed through the shallows, sending a few random fish onto the sandy bank.
Wow – did you see that? The eagle just picked up that fish. Oh wait, he’s dropped it in the water – here he comes again – he got it back! And now what the…..check that out! The crows are attacking it mid-air!!
So while we were planning where to stop for our muffins and coffee, we were mesmorised by the action. First, the sea eagle grabs a beached fish. Then he/she drops it in the water and has to return to scoop it back up. Meanwhile, the noise of all these birds was deafening and then the poor young bird had to fight to retain its prize while a couple of black crows harassed it from above. What a surprise when the three of them flew right over us – fish dangling from massive talons while the crows continued to attack. Thankfully – for both the sea eagle and us – the bird held on and managed to get to a branch high in a riverside gum to enjoy it’s quarry.
It’s not hard to see why we love what we do. Immerse yourself in nature – join us for a tour. Book now to avoid disappointment. Dates are filling up fast.